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FOX TV file
"American Idol" judges Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell. After some viewers questioned Abdul's quirky behavior on the show, she publicly denied using any substances besides prescription shots for a painful chronic condition.
updated 4/21/2005 6:00:41 PM ET 2005-04-21T22:00:41

Don’t mistake Paula Abdul’s “American Idol” niceties or silliness for drug addiction. Despite a neuropathic disorder and 12 operations, Abdul says she’s “not addicted to pills of any kind.”

“If people only knew what I’ve gone through with pain and pills,” Abdul, 42, tells the May 2 issue of People magazine. “I’m dancing for joy at the fact that not even a year ago I was in so much pain I could barely get up.”

Last November, the “Idol” judge was diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, a chronic neurological disorder that causes severe pain.

“I get a shot (of an anti-inflammatory drug) once a week,” she said. “I give it to myself.”

Abdul remarked that her 25 years of pain have been long and arduous, beginning with a cheerleading accident at 17 that injured a disc in her neck. The pain was punctuated with “a couple of car accidents” in the 1980s, her battle with bulimia, an emergency plane landing in 1992, paralysis in 1998 and years of failed treatments including prescription drugs, acupuncture and live leech therapy.

“By 1999, everywhere I went, I’d look for something sharp to lean up against and jam a corner into my neck — something to fight the pain,” Abdul said.

The choreographer and former Laker girl is talking about her chronic pain after reading messages posted on the Fox talent show’s Web site that attributed her odd antics to drug addiction.

“From where I was to where I am is a miracle,” she said. “It’s beyond a miracle.”

Last month, Abdul was fined and sentenced to two years’ probation after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor count of hit-and-run driving. The charge stemmed from an accident last December in which her car clipped another vehicle on a San Fernando Valley freeway.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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