Amy Winehouse’s mother speaks for the first time about her death – and casts fascinating and poignant new light on the tragic singer
Amy Winehouse’s tiny frame was clad in old tracksuit bottoms and a T-shirt, the clothing she favoured when she wasn’t planning to leave the house. Without her trademark heavy black eyeliner and beehive wig, she looked younger than her 27 years, but she bustled around the kitchen of her Camden home like a proud housewife, making tea for her mother Janis and Janis’s partner, Richard.
For Janis, the impromptu visit to her daughter’s home on July 22 was enjoyable but utterly ordinary. They drank their Earl Grey and chatted, as they had done countless times before. It was only the following day, when the singer was discovered dead in the house, that Janis mentally replayed every moment of the afternoon, giving thanks that she had seen Amy one last time and searching in vain for clues that anything was amiss.
‘I’m so grateful to have seen Amy the day before. It was so important,’ she says. ‘She was fine. She had what I call an “Amy look” – she normally slept a lot and often looked like she’d just been woken up. She was planning to go to a wedding the next day and the lounge was covered in dresses she’d put out so her stylist Naomi could pick one for her to wear.
‘She’d been looking through some old family photos, which were scattered around, and she kept looking at one of her brother and saying, “Oh Mum, Alex was such a lovely baby, wasn’t he?” She always enjoyed nostalgia. She chatted about her boyfriend, Reg, and about my health, as I suffer from multiple sclerosis.
‘When we left, she hugged me and said, “I love you, Mummy”. She was always calling me that and telling me she loved me. Amy never really grew up. She was like a little girl, permanently fixed in time as a kiddie. I said, “I love you too.” ’