Paula Abdul has always had a pretty hard time when it comes to how she’s perceived by the public. After making it big as a recording artist in the 1980s, it seemed like Paula was poised to stay on top of the world for quite some time. However, the singer ended up disappearing from the public spotlight for much of the 1990s. Paula reemerged during the 2000s as a judge on the hit realty series American Idol, where she became known to a new generation of fans. Sadly, this second phase of the singer’s career came with some erratic behavior. Paula infamously blamed both her erratic behavior and her disappearance from the public spotlight in the 1990s on a plane crash that she supposedly suffered in the early part of the decade. However, many believe that Paula made it up. Join Facts Verse as we explore if Paula Abdul lied about her traumatic plane crash.
Did Paula Abdul Suffer a Plane Crash in the Early 1990s?
For around four decades, Paula Abdul has been a fixture in popular entertainment. She became known as a recording artist during the 1980s, and her career as a recording artist continued in the 1990s. Just when it seemed like the singer was at the top of the world, things came crashing down for her—quite literally. If Paula’s words are to be beloved, the reason that her career as a recording artist came to an end was a traumatic plane crash she suffered in the early 1990s.
The first instance of Paula Abdul mentioning the supposed traumatic plane crash that ended her career as a recording artist can be traced back to the early 2000s. Before that, Paula maintains that she kept the plane crash a secret. Though she didn’t publicly talk about the plane crash until the early 2000s, it was actually during the early 1990s that the plane crash was said to have occurred. According to legend, the plane crash occurred during the back end of Paula’s “Under My Spell” tour. The tour ran from 1991 to 1992. According to Paula, she was on a small plane travelling from one stop of the tour to the next when one of the engines on the plane caught fire. Paula claims that she didn’t have her seatbelt on, and she suffered a serious injury when the small plane was forced to make a crash landing.
If Paula’s story is to be believed, the singer suffered such serious injuries as a result of the plane crash that she needed over a dozen different spinal surgeries. The incident apparently led to the singer needing to take a significant break from her time as a recording artist, and it also led to her developing a pretty serious dependence on painkillers. It was in 2002 when Paula Abdul came back into the public spotlight after around a decade of being out of it. That year, Paula was given the gig of being a judge on American Idol.
Why Did Paula Keep the Plane Crash a Secret?
According to Paula Abdul, she continued on with the rest of her “Under My Spell” tour after the supposed plane crash. Paula was in bad shape, but she managed to keep up appearances by using liberal amounts of painkillers. Of course, the first question that likely comes to most minds when they hear this tale would be how come Paula decided to keep the plane crash a secret. Paula claims that the reason she decided to keep the news of her plane crash a secret for the time being was because she didn’t want to be perceived as damaged goods by her adoring public.
Since Paula Abdul came out with her story about suffering a plane crash in the early 1990s, there have been many skeptics that have come out of the woodwork to claim that the singer made the whole thing up. There are numerous discrepancies that skeptics have pointed to over the years when attempting to prove Paula’s story is a fabrication. For one thing, there is absolutely no record of such a plane crash having occurred around the timeframe that Paula states.
Paula Abdul may have been on a private plane during her supposed plane crash, but there still should be some kind of record of it crashing. Even private plane crashes are typically registered with the National Transportation Safety Board. Whether Paul made the plane crash up or not, there is no record of the crash with the organization. Another thing that skeptics commonly point to when trying to disprove Paula’s tale is the fact that she can never get her timeline right.
Could Paula Have Made the Whole Thing Up?
If the story of Paula Abdul’s early-90s plane crash is a complete fabrication, then another question quickly arises: why did the singer make the story up? The main theory as to why Paula might’ve fabricated the tale of the plane crash is because it justified the singer’s dependence on painkillers. When Paula Abdul came back into the public spotlight in 2002 via her work on American Idol, this career renaissance came with a caveat. During Paula’s time on American Idol, there were numerous incidents where the singer acted pretty strangely. These incidents caused much of the public to wonder if the singer was drinking during the show.
Regardless of whether or not Paula Abdul truly suffered a plane crash in the early 1990s, the fact of the matter stands that the singer has certainly had her fair shares of issues with painkillers. In 2008, during what would become the singer’s penultimate year as a judge on American Idol, she checked herself into rehab for her dependence on the drugs. Of course, the singer still maintains to this day that the reason that she’s had so many problems with painkillers over the years is the chronic pain from the plane crash.
If Paula Abdul felt the need to justify her years of painkiller abuse with a traumatic injury, the singer didn’t really need to make one up. Even before her supposed early-90s plane crash, the star was no stranger to serious injuries. At the age of 17, Paula suffered a back injury when she was working as a cheerleader for the Los Angeles Lakers. In 1991, she broke her leg during a rehearsal, and she got into a car accident in 1992 that caused a significant neck injury. Any of these traumatic injuries could’ve sufficed if Paula Abdul needed a reason to justify her dependence on painkillers.
Paula Has Undeniably Experienced Plenty of Pain
In the mid-2000s, Paula Abdul was diagnosed with a condition by the name of reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome. The condition causes chronic pain, and the diagnosis further justified the singer’s dependence on painkillers. During the height of her American Idol fame, it’s likely that Paula was pretty out of it from the massive amounts of medication she was taking to quell her pain. However, Paula maintains to this day that she never abused any kind of pain medication, and that she’s also never been drunk. Even if Paula never abused any painkillers, the fact of the matter stands that the ones she was prescribed during her time on American Idol were pretty strong. Apparently, Paula’s go-to form of pain relief during her American Idol days was a patch that was 80-times stronger than morphine.
Towards the end of her time on American Idol, Paula Abdul had become the brunt of made bad jokes in regards to her erratic behavior on the show. Though Paula’s strange behavior could’ve easily been chalked up to her dependence on painkillers, it was more fun for audiences to spread rumors that the judge was drunk during filming. In one infamous instance, fellow judge Simon Cowell added fuel to the fire by making a quip that the beverage Paula could always be seen consuming on the show was alcohol.
When Simon Cowell made the joke about Paula being drunk on American Idol, many fans took this as confirmation that the singer was, in fact, an alcoholic. Paula allegedly begged Simon to publicly come out and say that the quip had been nothing but a bad joke. Simon eventually did so, but not until after a year had passed! By that time, the damage had already been done. Paula continued to share the story of her supposed early-90s plane crash, as well as her ensuing dependence on painkillers, whenever she was asked about her strange behavior by the tabloids. During one incident, Paula was talking to ABC News when she made the claim that anyone who didn’t believe her story could check her medical records. The anchorperson then called Paula’s bluff by asking to speak to her doctor, to which she declined.
What Has Paula Been Up to Since Leaving American Idol?
Besides the rampant rumors of substance abuse that Paula Abdul was privy to during her time on American Idol, there was also an instance in which a former competitor on the series claimed that he and Paula had an affair. This competitor was Cory Clark. The claim led to an investigation, but nothing ever came from it. In the end, it was Paula’s erratic behavior and possible substance abuse that ended up defining her time on the hit reality series. In 2009, Paula said goodbye to American Idol due to a contract dispute.
In the years since leaving American Idol, Paula Abdul has done her best to stay relevant. For the most part, these bids at relevancy have seen the singer take up similar gigs on other reality shows. 2011 saw the premiere of a short-lived reality series by the name of Live to Dance. In addition to being an executive producer on the show, Paula was also it’s lead judge. When Live to Dance didn’t make it past a single season, Paula took up another gig as a judge, this time on The X Factor. The show saw Paula reunite with Simon Cowell, though she was replaced after one season. More recently, she appeared as a judge on the first season of The Masked Dancer, which premiered in 2020. Though the show hasn’t officially been cancelled, no second season is in sight.
Paula Abdul claims that her erratic behavior over the years is an indirect result of a plane crash she suffered in the early 1990s. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that Paula Abdul allegedly suffered a serious plane crash in the early 1990s, and that this plane crash supposedly led to years of dependence on painkillers? Comment down below!