“When you tore the Pope’s picture up on Saturday Night Live!, whose picture were you tearing up?” Dr. Phil asked Sinead O’Connor on Tuesday’s episode of his show. The answer might surprise you!
“Uh, the Pope’s,” responded Sinead. Oh. Maybe not, then.
Sinead’s appearance, which kicked off the 16th anniversary of Dr. Phil (16 years of this shit!) was pegged to a recent, worrisome Facebook video she posted of herself crying and lamenting her alienation, recorded in a New Jersey motel. Phil spent a portion of the introduction very deliberately explaining that appearing on the show was something Sinead wanted (lest you think this was a retread of that ghoulish Shelley Duvall interview in November).
Phil said Sinead reached out to him, and that he offered to privately put her up at the Milestones at Onsite facility, where she’s currently receiving treatment (a facility she has recently criticized), but that she was adamant about coming on the show.
“She was insistent that her goal was to destigmatize mental illness,” he also said in his intro.
But then, early in the episode when Phil asked if she considered herself mentally ill, Sinead responded, “I don’t believe I am no, unless you say that complex post traumatic stress disorder is a mental illness.” She described herself as “a little out there, unusual, irregular, eccentric.”
Sinead said that she was “mental” after her hysterectomy two years ago and that her recent trouble with kidney stones led up to the filming of her hotel video, which she referred to as a “pity party.” Further, she detailed the abuse she experienced at the hands of her mother (from ages 0 to 13 she said), didn’t refute Dr. Phil’s claim that she had attempted to kill herself eight times, and said she wrote a suicide note on her guitar.
One of Sinead’s exercises at Milestones had her drawing a picture of herself living her ideal life, and when she presented it to Dr. Phil, he had her sign it. She signed “Magda Davitt,” explaining, “Sinead O’Connor’s gone, I don’t want to be that person anymore.” She said she would begin recording under her new moniker, perhaps initially also labeling herself as the Artist Formerly Known as Sinead O’Connor, a la Prince.
“I’m hoping we can save some lives,” Sinead told Phil at the start of the show, regarding her reason for doing this interview.
Lastly, regarding the Saturday Night Live! appearance, Sinead further explained that her actions were in response to abuse within the Catholic Church and that the photo had been on her allegedly abusive mother’s wall during her childhood. “But I know what you’re getting at, and yes, this didn’t occur to me until about six months ago. It’s my father,” she said, cryptically.