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Clapton Admits Abusing Wife

June 27, 1999 GMT

LONDON (AP) _ Rock legend Eric Clapton in a tell-all interview published Sunday was quoted as saying he was so addicted to alcohol and heroin in the 1970s that he raped his wife _ part of a life without thought for others.

``I know that when I was a full-blown, practicing alcoholic, everyone used to walk around me on eggshells,″ Clapton, 54, was quoted as telling The Sunday Times.

``There were times when I just took sex with my wife by force and thought that was my entitlement. I had absolutely no concern for other people at all, and I think that what happens in a family is everyone starts to doctor their own roles to make it bearable to live that way,″ he was quoted as adding.

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Clapton was interviewed in Antigua, the Caribbean island where he founded Crossroads, a clinic to treat drug and alcohol abuse.

Clapton, who has not remarried since his 1988 divorce from Patti Boyd, retreated to Antigua after his four-year-old son fell to his death from a New York skyscraper in 1991.

Last week Clapton, who says he no longer regards himself as a musician, sold 100 of his guitars at an auction at Christie’s in New York, raising more than $5 million for the charity.

In the interview, Clapton was quoted as saying he started taking drugs as an art student. By 1969 he was drinking two bottles of vodka a day, and by 1974 was spending $2,400 a week on heroin.

``As a drinker and a druggie this (Antigua) was heaven for me because you could get every drug you wanted and every other person you met was an alcoholic,″ Clapton was quoted as saying.

He first sought treatment in 1982 and was finally cured in 1987.

Crossroads treats locals free and charges $8,800 a month for foreign patients.

``You know, I know I touch people with music ... But there’s nothing quite like what happens between one alcoholic and another _ that’s somehow a deeper thing.″