Big-time music producer Timbaland had an enviable career at an early age, as he worked with Missy Elliott right out of high school and went on to make popular tracks with Aaliyah, Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé. But the 47-year-old, whose real name is Tim Mosley, is now opening up about the pain that he was facing during those years, and how he used painkillers to deal with it.
In the January 2020 issue of Men’s Health, the Virginia native shed light on the many ways that his career had taken a toll on his life. Once he was introduced to prescription painkillers after a root canal in 2011, he said, he used them to cope with building pressure and chaos.
“It put me in a great feeling of not caring, of just being free,” Mosley told the magazine of his addiction to OxyContin and Percocet. “I’m like traveling, doing shows, popping ’em, having fun, just being ignorant.”
At that same time, he was going through a bad divorce with his wife Monique Idlett, and facing the pressure of being $4 million behind on his taxes from the prior three years. Although he couldn’t keep track of how many pills he was taking daily, he admits that it was “way over the limit,” and eventually had a nightmare about dying.
“I had a dream that death was near,” he recalled. “I saw myself with a white face.”
It was then that he realized that he needed to overhaul his life, which started with downsizing his Miami, Fla. home to “get all that superstar stuff out of the way,” he said. His next step was getting himself off of drugs, which, he explained, was a process between “just me and God.”
“This was the path chosen for me. God was rebuilding my character,” Mosley said of the journey, which was a two-week process of taking fewer and fewer pills until they were gone. Then he went through withdrawal, which was “one of the toughest things I’ve been through.”
After overcoming his dependency on drugs — Mosley said he hasn’t touched them in five or six years — the producer was ready for another life change, which meant hitting the gym. The five-foot-seven man weighed about 350 pounds at the time that he tried his first boxing workout. One year later, he was down 40 pounds.
“When you get beat up the way I got beat up mentally, this ain’t hard,” Mosley said, comparing his weight loss to withdrawal.
Now, Mosley is training like an athlete and has lost 130 pounds. But he said that he still has a ways to go.
“God has me under construction, which I’m still under,” Mosley said. “I don’t feel like I’m complete. I don’t want to ever feel like I’m complete, ’cause my mind would probably get idle. God needed me to be clear so I could see what is needed, not what I want.”
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