Smokey Robinson's Descent Into Addiction: "I Was a Walking Corpse"

Season 5 Episode 502
Aired on 11/01/2015 | CC tv-14
In the '80s, Smokey Robinson was a chart-topping artist known as the "King of Motown." Millions could sing along to Smokey's hits—"Tears of a Clown," "I Second That Emotion," "You Really Got a Hold On Me" and countless others—but very few knew about the personal struggle he was facing.

When Smokey was 40 years old, he became addicted to drugs. "I went on a hell of a drug trip," he says. "And it was horrendous. Drugs do not discriminate. They don't care who you are or what you're doing or what your status in life is or where you live. ... When you open yourself up to them, they're going to come in."

For two and a half years, this vibrant entertainer says he became a walking corpse who avoided his loved ones. Then, one evening, a close friend named Leon Kennedy showed up at his door. "He said, 'Man, you look terrible,'" Smokey recalls. "I said, 'Oh, I'm fine, man,' you know, because you're in denial."

Watch as Smokey shares what Leon did for him that eventually sparked a spiritual awakening.

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