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Tom Petty was addicted to heroin in the 1990s following split from his wife

  • Tom Petty turned to heroin after splitting from his first wife in 1996 
  • Rock star revealed that he was addicted to the drug in a new biography 
  • Author says Petty was under strain of constant recordings and concerts
  • He did not speak of hard drug use until now as he was afraid of setting a bad example to young people 

By Ollie Gillman For Dailymail.com

Published: 12:07 EST, 9 October 2015 | Updated: 02:34 EST, 10 October 2015

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Tom Petty has revealed that he was a heroin addict in the 1990s after turning to the drug following his split from his first wife.

The singer admitted in a new biography that he hit a low point between grueling tours and recording sessions while already under the strain of divorce.

While plenty of other rock stars have taken heroin in the past, the new book - Petty: The Biography - is the first time the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers singer has spoken about using hard drugs.

Rock star Tom Petty has revealed in a new biography that he was a heroin addict in the 1990s

Rock star Tom Petty has revealed in a new biography that he was a heroin addict in the 1990s

Petty admitted that he hit a low point between grueling tours and recording sessions while already under the strain of divorce from first wife Jane Benyo (right)

Petty admitted that he hit a low point between grueling tours and recording sessions while already under the strain of divorce from first wife Jane Benyo (right)

The unauthorized biography was written by Warren Zanes, who told the Washington Post that Petty turned to heroin during a midlife crisis.

Zanes said: 'That happens when the pain becomes too much and you live in a world, in a culture, where people have reached in the direction of heroin to stop the pain. 

'He’s a rock and roller. He had had encounters with people who did heroin, and he hit a point in his life when he did not know what to do with the pain he was feeling.'

Petty - who used heroin after his 1996 split from first wife Jane Benyo - did not speak of his addiction until now as he was concerned about setting a bad example to young people. Previously he had only spoke of occasionally smoking marijuana. 

The unauthorized biography was written by Warren Zanes, who said  Petty turned to heroin during a midlife crisis

The unauthorized biography was written by Warren Zanes, who said  Petty turned to heroin during a midlife crisis

Zanes promised the American Girl singer that the biography would be a 'cautionary tale', rather than a romantic one, and would not encourage taking drugs.

The author said Petty was caught in a cycle of writing, recording, promoting and playing songs and the pressure took its toll.

'When he left his marriage and moved into a house, by himself, things slowed just long enough that all of that past came right as he’s coming into the pain of not being able to control the well-being of his kids and not being able to control a dialogue with his ex-wife,' Zanes said. 'The classic situation of midlife pinning a person down to the mat.'

The biography also explains how Petty - who has sold 80million records worldwide with the Heartbreakers and supergroup the Traveling Wilburys - did all he could to keep his band together.

Bassist Howie Epstein was cut out of the Heartbreakers because his own heroin addiction made his place 'untenable', Zanes said.

He added that Petty and his other bandmates sent Epstein to rehab and were not intolerant of drugs, but they needed to keep the band together. Epstein would later died of complications related to drug use. 

Petty, 64, gave Zanes permission to write the biography but wanted it to remain unauthorized as he did not want to control what went into the book.

The rocker is said to have realized that a 'warts-and-all portrait' would not be criticized, whereas if he dictated what a was written about him, he could be.

Petty: The Biography hits shelves on November 10.

Zanes (right) and Petty (second left) were in a band called The Del Fuegos together (pictured in 1987)

Zanes (right) and Petty (second left) were in a band called The Del Fuegos together (pictured in 1987)

 

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