When police announced that the multiplatinum-selling retro-soul superstar Amy Winehouse had been found dead in her London apartment Saturday, word rippled across the pop-music universe with the speed of an all-points bulletin. Fans mourned with their wallets, sending Winehouse's breakthrough 2006 album, Back to Black, to the top of the iTunes chart. And the person who will be most deeply affected by her death broke down in tears, collapsed, and was placed on suicide watch behind prison walls.
Blake Fielder-Civil, Winehouse's ex-husband and the great love of her life, has been behind bars since June, serving a 32-month sentence for a bungled daytime burglary and possession of an imitation firearm. After being informed by prison officials of Winehouse's death, he told The Sun newspaper: "I'm beyond inconsolable...my tears will never dry."The Daily Beast: Amy Winehouse's Broken Beauty
Fielder-Civil's remarks barely begin to hint at the violent, co-dependent nature of his relationship with Winehouse. Over the last half-dozen years, the two carried on what was arguably popular culture's bloodiest, druggiest, least predictable, and most volatile love affair. Their on-again, off-again courtship inspired the glamorous melancholy of Back to Black—evidenced by the title track's drug-referencing, lovesick refrain "I love you much, it's not enough / You love blow and I love puff"—but also a death spiral of addiction, self-mutilation, knock-down, drag-out physical assaults, bad tattoos, and even prison sexting.
Further, Fielder-Civil, 29, seems to have remained Winehouse's muse both in life and death.
When the two began dating in 2005, Winehouse was hardly the rock-around-the-clock femme fatale she would later become. Her look was relatively wholesome, if unremarkable, and her jazzy, neo-soul-inflected debut CD, Frank, had been released to generally favorable reviews in 2003 but fizzled commercially. Enter Fielder-Civil, a high-school dropout and former video-production assistant who introduced Winehouse to hard drugs—he says she demanded to try some after watching him ingest them. "I made the biggest mistake of my life by taking heroin in front of her," he told News of the World in 2008. "I introduced her to heroin, crack cocaine, and self-harming. I feel more than guilty."