‘Behind the Music’ Turns 15

From The Daily Beast:

From Cher to Jennifer Lopez, stars have been telling VH1 their most personal stories for 15 years now. The show’s producers and the artists themselves remember the series’s juiciest moments. Watch the video.

Cher mourned the loss of Sonny Bono. Ozzy Osbourne dished on biting bats. Ricky Martin discussed coming out. Tina Turner detailed how she survived Ike’s abuse, and Jennifer Hudson cried while remembering the murders of her family members. TLC talked about—literally—burning down the house.

For 15 years and more than 250 episodes, VH1’s seminal biography series Behind the Music has landed the biggest names in music—Madonna, Shania Twain, Mary J. Blige, Fleetwood Mac—to dig into the nitty gritty of every tabloid-baiting, dark detail of their rise to (and sometimes fall from) the top.

“It’s not one of those shows that shows a small bit of what you did that was great, and everything else is damned depressing—where it’s like, ‘Oh, my God, do I have to watch The Wizard of Oz right now?” TLC singer Chili tells The Daily Beast. “It’s not like sitting down with an interviewer and then the magazine comes out and you’re like, ‘Oh shit, I didn’t word it like that. You actually get to hear the artist talk.”

In that grand tradition, the show’s 15th season continues Sunday night with an episode featuring pop diva Nicole Scherzinger. The former Pussycat Dolls singer runs through a series of jaw-dropping confessions, ranging from the reveal that she was initially offered Fergie’s slot in the Black Eyed Peas to her struggle with bulimia, peeling off layers of the star to unveil parts of her that fans have never seen.

In honor of its latest scoop and 15 years of uncovering scandals, capturing zany soundbites, and manufacturing what amounts to docuseries porn for diehard music fans, The Daily Beast, Behind the Music producers and some of the artists themselves look back at some of its biggest, juiciest moments.

Nicole Scherzinger

Nicole Scherzinger’s battle with bulimia and anorexia lasted for eight years, and she speaks about it for the first time on Sunday’s episode of Behind the Music. “I did it every day for, like, years,” Scherzinger says of her eating disorder. “Every time I had a second to be alone, I was doing something to myself…I just hated myself. I really was so disgusted with myself and so embarrassed. I felt so alone. I was in a group, and I never felt so alone in my life.”

Jennifer Hudson

When Jennifer Hudson spoke to Behind the Music, it was the first in-depth interview she had given about the ghastly murders of her mother, brother, and nephew in 2008. “I get goosebumps just thinking about it,” says Leah Horowitz, who has served as a producer on Behind the Music for 12 years. After the first question was asked, Hudson broke down to tears and had to take a 20-minute break to compose herself. “We felt so bad, but she came back and answered the questions,” Horowitz says. “When you watch the show and you see her watery eyes, you see how hard it for her to talk about it. You see the emotion.”

Jennifer Lopez

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“Somebody that I didn’t think would be quite as honest as she was with us was Jennifer Lopez,” says Horowitz. The triple-threat diva’s Bronx-to-Hollywood fairy-tale story is rife for the Behind the Music treatment, but the high-profile celebrity relationships (Sean “Diddy” Combs, Ben Affleck), failed marriages (backup dancer Chris Judd, Marc Anthony), and incessant tabloid rumors are the items on the typical Do Not Talk About list for stars. Yet Lopez addressed it all, going into rare detail about her relationship with Affleck, especially. “We ended up doing a 90-minute episode on her because there was so much good stuff,” Horowitz says. “It might be my favorite Behind the Music.”

Courtney Love

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It took several tries and a manager switch for Courtney Love to agree to her Behind the Music sitdown in 2010, but it was worth the wait. “I think that was one of the most interesting ones we’ve ever done,” Horowitz says. “She talked for eight hours straight. So much of it didn’t even make it to air.” The dizzying array of subjects discussed: growing up in foster homes, turning to stripping, starting the band Hole, her marriage to Kurt Cobain, and her relationship with daughter, Frances Bean.

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