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The Real Story Behind Alexa Ray Joel's Suicide Attempt

Wed, December 9, 2009 9:21am EDT by 1 Comment


Alexa Ray Joel, you’ve had a lot to do deal with growing up! You had parents who were famous, a father who battled alcohol addiction, and you’ve dealt with three divorces.   No wonder you felt like you had nowhere to turn when your world came crashing down.

Allyne Spinner, the director of First Steps to recovery, says girls who grew up with an alcoholic father or parent, “might have depression.” Alexa Ray’s father Billy Joel famously admitted in 2003 to Katie Couric, “I can abuse alcohol, if the demons get me, I’ll go on a bender. It’s happened to me before. That’s why I went into rehab. I was on a binge. I was on a bender … I’m an alcohol abuser.”

Spinner says, “If you’re neglected by your parents, because of alcoholism or not, you’re going to gravitate towards another substitute to fill up that void — be it drugs, alcohol, another person.”

Sources close to Alexa Ray told us that she was upset over a boyfriend, and there is a good explanation for why the break up hit her so hard. “That thing then becomes your whole life and that person who becomes your life, if they don’t meet your expectations, you can do something drastic. Especially if you’re depressed,” says Spinner, who has not treated Alexa Ray or Billy Joel. “That boy is their whole world and if they abandon you, you feel like you’re not going to make it.”

Another family friend of Alexa Ray told us that she struggled to have a big career, like her parents. Wendy Ludlow, child therapist and specialist explains, “How can there not be pressure [when one has famous parents]? There’s pressure to perform whether or not you have famous parents .”  But if your parents ARE famous, like Alex Ray’s, “You feel like you’re being watched constantly.  Ultimately, this takes away from your ability to form your identity and you feel empty and invisible.”

Not to mention, Alexa Ray lived through the divorce of her parents, Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley and their subsequent divorces from new spouses Peter Cook and Katie Lee Joel.

Child and family psychologist Jeff Gardere explains, “When a child of divorce is faced with a severe break-up or tragedy, all of that stress [from the  divorce] can make her overreact.”  Because Alexa’s parents went through an extremely public split, “It’s an ever bigger pressure.  Add on the fact that Alexa Ray has had relationship issues of her own, [the stress of life] may be too much for her to bear.”