James Blunt says Star Wars bosses put pressure on Carrie Fisher to be thin before her death

Singer, who was friends with the late actor, has previously claimed Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd partly blames him for her mother’s death

Ellie Harrison
Monday 27 May 2024 22:07
Remembering Carrie Fisher's hilarious award speech for George Lucas

James Blunt has claimed that Carrie Fisher was “mistreating her body” before her death in 2016, due to Star Wars bosses putting “pressure on her to be thin”.

The “You’re Beautiful” singer, 50, was discussing his memoir Loosely Based on a Made-Up Story at Hay Festival, when he reminisced about his late friend Fisher, who died suddenly aged 60 in 2016.

Blunt and Fisher met through mutual friends in the Noughties and struck up an unlikely bond. He ended up moving into her Los Angeles home – where she and her mother, the actor and singer Debbie Reynolds, also lived – and he recorded his first album, 2004’s Back to Bedlam, while staying there.

Blunt has previously revealed he was with the Princess Leia actor the night before she was found unresponsive on a flight from London to Los Angeles. She died days later, and a toxicology report found she had cocaine, heroin, MDMA and methadone in her system.

“I was with her the day before she died, when she came down to my house,” he told audiences at Hay. “And she’d been really mistreating her body, and she’d just got the job again of being Princess Leia in a new Star Wars movie.

“So she was really on a high and a positive, but they had applied a lot of pressure on her to be thin. She spoke about the difficulties that women have in the industry, how men are allowed to grow old, and women are certainly not in film and TV."

He added: “And she really put a lot of pressure on herself, started using drugs again and by the time she got on the plane, she had effectively killed herself.

“They say it was heart failure of some kind, but she had taken enough drugs to have a really good party.”

James Blunt, Carrie Fisher
James Blunt, Carrie Fisher (Getty)

The Independent has contacted Rian Johnson, who directed the 2017 film Star Wars: The Last Jedi, for comment. Lucasfilm has also been contacted. Fisher had completed filming her role as Leia in the The Last Jedi shortly before her death.

In Blunt’s memoir, he previously wrote about how Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, “blames” him, in part, for her mother’s death.

“Charlie, her best friend, confronted her more directly and told her she needed to quit drugs,” he wrote. “I took a different approach and did them with her, pretending to myself that I would guide her to redemption one day – just not today. As a result, her daughter Billie blames me in part for her death, and no longer speaks to me.”

During the talk, Blunt also discussed his treatment by the tabloid press, his phone being hacked, his experience of being a British soldier in Kosovo, and the backlash to his 2004 song “You’re Beautiful”.

Fisher was the daughter of a Hollywood power couple, movie star Reynolds and entertainer Eddie Fisher, but achieved her own fame portraying Princess Leia in the cinematic space saga from 1977. Apart from the Star Wars movies, she also appeared in When Harry Met Sally, Drop Dead Fred, and the TV comedy Catastrophe, to name just a few of her screen credits.

When Fisher died, Star Wars director Lucas said that he and the actor had been “friends most of our adult lives”. “She was extremely smart; a talented actress, writer and comedienne with a very colourful personality that everyone loved,” he said in a statement. “In Star Wars she was our great and powerful princess – feisty, wise and full of hope in a role that was more difficult than most people might think.”

Hay Festival runs from 23 May to 2 June in Hay-on-Wye; hayfestival.com

If you or someone you know is suffering from drug addiction, you can seek confidential help and support 24-7 from Frank, by calling 0300 123 6600, texting 82111, sending an email or visiting their website here.

In the US, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can be reached at 1-800-662-HELP

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