Come on Amy Winehouse, get a grip on yourself

The troubled singer has so much going for her – but she's now in serious danger of exhausting all sympathy

There is a moment in the life of every troubled star when public sympathy disappears like coke up a left nostril. Amy Winehouse may just have had hers.

Some time during the last week she crossed a line. On one side, people say: "Oh, poor thing, they're really having a tough time just now." On the other side, they say: "Oh, for God's sake, get a grip!"

Winehouse has just been named one of the richest young musicians in Britain, with an estimated fortune of £10m – but yesterday, the 24-year-old award-winning singer left Holborn police station after spending a night in a cell and being cautioned for common assault "by slapping a man with an open hand".

It was just another setback in the chaotic life of a woman admitted to hospital last year with a reported overdose of heroin, ecstasy, cocaine, ketamine and alcohol – but the setbacks are now eclipsing even her music. "They tried to make me go to rehab, but I said, 'No, no no,'" says her most famous song, and when she first sang it the words sounded defiant. Now they sound tragic. Photographs have shown her looking emaciated, bruised, bloodied, scarred and dazed.

"Amy is just like a teenager who is out of control," said her mother, Janis, yesterday, although she blamed the police for making too much out of the assault. "What Amy has been accused of bears no relation to the way she is being treated and humiliated."

Yesterday there were reports of a stable new boyfriend, and that her husband Blake Fielder-Civil, 25, wants a divorce. "I would welcome it," said her mother. He appeared in court on Thursday on charges of assault and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, and is currently on remand.

As terrible as it was personally, the past week has been enormously successful on a professional level for Winehouse. On Monday came news she has been nominated for three prestigious Ivor Novello songwriting awards.

Better yet, she is the first artist in the 53-year history of the awards to have two songs simultaneously nominated as the best, musically and lyrically: "Love Is a Losing Game" and "You Know I'm No Good". The prophetic "Rehab" is up for best-selling song.

Friends said she was "chilled out" after recording the theme song for the new James Bond film with producer Mark Ronson. But then came a reported 48-hour booze session in north London pubs.

The latest incident happened outside a bar in the early hours of Wednesday morning, allegedly after a man had tried to hail her a taxi. She went to the police station voluntarily on Friday, but was made to sleep overnight in a cell before answering questions.

Her spokesman said she had "apologised for the incident" and was "looking forward to continuing her work on new music". Which is why the patience of her fans is not yet exhausted: the thrilling voice and sassy songs have not yet vanished.

The comedian Jeremy Hardy says in this newspaper that his friend Humphrey Lyttelton, the jazz player and radio host who died on Friday, had recently become a fan. "It's a shame they never met. He'd have been a good influence on her... but she'd have fallen in love with him, and she's got enough problems on that score." If lovely old Humph had asked her to go to rehab, she might have said yes, yes, yes.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Novelist Martin Amis at The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival

books
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'

After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violence

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Williams will be given a 'meaningful remembrance' at the Emmy Awards

film
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Arctic Monkeys headline this year's Reading and Leeds festivals, but there's a whole host of other bands to check out too
music
Arts and Entertainment
Blue singer Simon Webbe will be confirmed for Strictly Come Dancing

tv
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Cliff Richard performs at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam on 17 May 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Educating the East End returns to Channel 4 this autumn

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch will voice Shere Khan in Andy Serkis' movie take on The Jungle Book

film
Arts and Entertainment
DJ Calvin Harris performs at the iHeartRadio Music Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush

music
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Mark Crown, DJ Locksmith and Amir Amor of Rudimental performing on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park, Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Capaldi and Chris Addison star in political comedy The Thick of IT

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Judy Murray said she

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Seoul singer G-Dragon could lead the invasion as South Korea has its sights set on Western markets
music
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
    What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

    What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

    Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
    Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

    Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

    Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
    Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

    Radio 1’s new top ten

    The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
    Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

    Florence Knight's perfect picnic

    Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
    Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

    Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

    The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
    Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

    Mark Hix's summery soups

    Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
    Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

    Tim Sherwood column

    I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
    Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

    Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

    The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition