Paula Abdul Claims She Was In A Plane Crash — But No Record Of It Exists

How bizarre.

Paula Abdul DFree | Shutterstock

Paula Abdul has been a fixture in pop culture for the better part of 40 years.

During the late 1980s and 90s, Abdul dominated the music charts and was seemingly at the height of her career.

Then, just as suddenly, Abdul stepped back from the spotlight, taking a few years off to focus on herself after suffering from trauma and injuries that she reportedly suffered in a frightening accident.

Paul Abdul claimed to have been involved in a plane crash.

Since at least 2003, Abdul has been vocal about suffering a slew of traumatic injuries during a 1992 plane crash.


While appearing on RuPauls' talk show in June 2019, the singer told the story of the crash once more, which happened during her 'Under My Spell' tour that ran from 1991 to 1992.

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"During the end of my world tour, the Spellbound tour, when I was traveling from one city to the next, in a small seven-seater plane, one of the engines blew up and the right wing caught on fire, and we crash-landed," Abdul recalled.


"I didn’t have my seatbelt on and I hit my head on the top of the plane and that went on to... I withstood 15 cervical spinal surgeries and I had to take seven years off. And then I reappeared on American Idol.”

In a 2009 interview with Ladies Home Journal, Abdul said that the plane crash, mixed with other injuries she sustained previously in her life, led her to have a dependence on pain medication.

After returning to her tour, Abdul relied on prescription painkillers, injections of lidocaine, and Chinese medicine.

"I couldn't cancel my tour. I didn't want anyone to count me out," she said. "I tried to keep everything hush-hush."

However, Abdul's story of being involved in the plane crash has been doubted by many and has been subject to frequent changes in the narrative that don't always add up.


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There is no record of Paula Abdul being involved in a plane crash.

There were reportedly no news outlets that covered the alleged crash, and the National Transportation Safety Board has no records of a plane crash happening during the time frame that Abdul has previously claimed.

In addition, the dates of the crash have changed throughout the years of Abdul telling the story.

The singer has also gone back and forth about how long the flight had been in the air before it started experiencing complications. 

In past interviews, Abdul has gone between 30 minutes to 40 minutes. "About 40 minutes into the flight, an engine [caught fire],” Abdul told PEOPLE in a May 2005 story.


During a 2006 interview with Larry King, she explained why there was no public record of the crash.

"Well, it did get some attention, but I didn’t want to make a—I worked it out publicity-wise. I did not want...” Abdul said.

“Milk it?” King interjected, to which Abdul replied, "Yes."


While speaking to Music News in October 2018, Abdul said she was hesitant to speak about the crash because she didn't want to be "looked at as damaged goods."

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Keep up with her on Instagram and Twitter.