Fiona Apple Quit Cocaine After An ‘Excruciating’ Night With Quentin Tarantino and Paul Thomas Anderson

If there’s one thing we can always count on from Fiona Apple, it’s honesty. The singer-songwriter never holds back when it comes to her relationships, mental health, and substance abuse, so it’s no surprise that in her latest interview, her take on life and love was as no holds barred as ever.

Speaking to The New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum, Apple looked back on the years of her life characterized by drug and alcohol abuse, including one wild night at the home of Quentin Tarantino. Apple was then dating filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson, whom she began seeing in 1997, and with whom she shared a tumultuous, drug-fueled three years. Apple recalled the “one excruciating night” at Tarantino’s home that caused her to swear off cocaine forever, wherein she spent the night listening to Anderson and Tarantino brag.

“Every addict should just get locked in a private movie theatre with Q.T. and P.T.A. on coke, and they’ll never want to do it again,” Apple joked.

Apple went on to describe her relationship with Anderson, who directed music videos for her songs, while she wrote a wrap for his film Magnolia. Though their partnership was creatively collaborative, Apple remembers their relationship as “painful and chaotic,” characterized by criticism and contempt. Apple described Anderson’s temper, recalling how he threw a chair across the room after the 1998 Academy Awards, where Boogie Nights lost Best Original Screenplay. Apple recalled thinking, “Fuck this, this is not a good relationship.” Apple also remembered another incident where Anderson shoved her out of his car and onto the sidewalk. Anderson declined to comment to The New Yorker through his agent.

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Apple also recalled her relationship with Bored to Death creator Jonathan Ames, whom she dated from 2006 to 2010; they reunited briefly in 2015, but broke up again partly due to Ames’ concern about Apple’s problematic drinking. She recalls Ames as her “kindest ex.” Apple was also briefly involved with Louis C.K.; however, she was disappointed in his frictionless return to comedy, describing his jokes as a “smoke screen” for abusive behavior. She argued that if C.K. isn’t capable of greater self-scrutiny, he’s “useless.”

“I SHAKE when I have to think and write about myself,” Apple wrote of C.K. in a text to The New Yorker. “It’s scary to go there but I go there. He is so WEAK.”

Assistant EditorAdrienne Westenfeld is a writer and editor at Esquire, where she covers books and culture.

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