Timbaland is kicking off the new decade in a much better place.
The music producer and rapper, 47, has spent the last few years transforming his body through fitness and overcoming a history of painkiller abuse that previously had him thinking that “death was near.”
Timbaland, born Tim Mosley, told Men’s Health that his problems with painkillers started in 2011, after getting a root canal. He started abusing OxyContin and Percocet, a habit that only got worse after going through a messy divorce and an IRS investigation for three years of unpaid taxes.
The “Apologize” rapper said that the painkillers helped him escape his problems.
“It put me in a great feeling of not caring, of just being free,” he told the magazine for their Jan/Feb cover. “I’m like traveling, doing shows, popping ’em, having fun, just being ignorant.”
Timbaland said that he didn’t know how many pills he was taking a day, but that it was “way over the limit.” The painkiller abuse, coupled with poor eating habits, caused him to gain weight — he was up to 350 lbs. on his 5’7” frame — and led to prediabetes.
“I had a dream that death was near,” he said. “I saw myself with a white face.”
That, along with the thought of his three children — daughter Reign, 12, and sons Demetrius, 27, and Frankie, 17 — pushed him to make a change.
“It’s like a bright light going on in your brain,” he said of his kids. “That’s how you know what true love really is.”
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Timbaland slowly weened himself off of the painkillers on his own, which he calls “one of the toughest things I’ve been through.” He then decided to start boxing, which he said was easier than going through pill withdrawal.
“When you get beat up the way I got beat up mentally, this ain’t hard,” he says.
Timbaland lost 50 lbs. in the first year, and then started working out twice a day — boxing in the morning and doing cardio and weightlifting at night. He dropped another 40 lbs. that way, and then decided to join trainer David Alexander at a new gym favored by athletes like Dwyane Wade. There, Alexander had him focus on exercises that incorporated squat, lunge, hinge, push, pull, twist and gait movements, and set him up on a nutrition plan.
Timbaland is now 130 lbs. lighter, but doesn’t “feel like I’m complete” — which he prefers.
“I don’t want to ever feel like I’m complete, ’cause my mind would probably get idle,” he said. “God needed me to be clear so I could see what is needed, not what I want.”