Whoopi Goldberg Talks Heroin Use, Being Dyslexic and Moms Mabley on ‘The Howard Stern Show’

By Jonathan Lambert on Oct 09, 2013 11:18 AM EDT

Whoopi Goldberg made a legendary appearance today on The Howard Stern Show. The comedian-turned-actress didn’t hold back when Stern questioned her about her personal life. Goldberg candidly discussed her heroin use, being dyslexic and her upcoming Moms Mabley documentary.

The first part of Whoopi’s interview centered around the Moms Mabley documentary she is producing for HBO. Stern devoted much more time to Whoopi’s plug than he does other celebrities, largely due to the fact that he, too, loved Moms.

After the two finished reminiscing, Howard asked Whoopi about when she started performing. Goldberg responded:

“When I was seven, I enrolled at the Hudson Guild Children’s Theatre...I liked it, I was a bold performer [laughed]. I said to my mother, ‘I like this. I want to do this.’ My mother said to me, ‘If you can handle the fact that not everyone is going to like what you do, that not everyone is going to understand you, then you will be fine. If you want to follow the crowd and do what everyone else does, that’s fine too.’”

Whoopi revealed that her mother played a very large role in her success. This was especially true when it came to overcoming her dyslexia:

“My mom was a Head Start teacher, really smart woman. She knew that she had two very different children because I was also dyslexic. I am dyslexic, so figuring out how to learn things and help me get to where I needed to go. She understood it. So, it never freaked her out. She knew what she had to do...I was a bad student if you needed me to read or figure numbers, very bad. Reading is great, I love it now that I have it down.”

Whoopi also admitted that she began using drugs at an early age, including heroin. When Howard asked why, she responded:

“For me, I think it was the times. Because those were the times. It looked cool. This was before the rock stars did it. The beginning of the 60s was a whole different groove. All of my friends from that time are dead, all the people who were doing the same kind of stuff. They saved me, Howard. They were slightly older than me and they said, ‘This is not for you. This is not the life for you, and we are not going to help you anymore. You need to stop.’

This was before she ever made it in comedy clubs and long before she had any real money. She told Howard:

“I cleaned subways in the toilet. All the money went to drugs, heroin, acid, whatever was there. The people who I was using with stopped too and we all helped each other. It took about 10 days, but they cleaned me up.”

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TagsWhoopi Goldberg, Heroin Use, Dyslexic, Moms Mabley, Howard Stern, The Howard Stern Show

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