DISCO QUEEN GLORIA GAYNOR: I HAVE SURVIVED!

Published on: June 19, 2003

Tragedy-plagued disco queen Gloria Gaynor has a heartfelt message for her millions of fans -- I Have Survived!

For nearly 25 years since recording her blazing disco anthem, the remarkable diva has lived the words of "I Will Survive" -- overcoming heartache and despair that threatened her career and her life.

"I don't know where I'd be today if I'd carried on the drinking, the partying, the drugs and all the madness that started in the '70s," Gloria told The ENQUIRER in an exclusive interview. "Finding God again saved my life."

Speaking with amazing candor, the 53-year-old singer revealed that she battled alcoholism, a cheating husband who impregnated his mistress and a series of miscarriages.

From the very beginning of her life, Gloria fought an uphill battle.

She grew up in New Jersey with seven siblings and little money to go around.

The beautiful entertainer wasn't prepared for her eventual success. She hit the big time in 1975 with her first hit "Never Can Say Goodbye."

"I Will Survive" made her a global superstar in 1979.

A naive Gloria was catapulted into a world of disco glitz fueled by booze and drugs. She partied with pals at the notorious Studio 54 nightclub and other hot spots.

"I was insecure, my mother had died, and I was seeking acceptance from my peers. I started drinking and doing drugs so I'd be accepted by the crowd I hung out with," Gloria told The ENQUIRER.

"I've always had a clean image, and the craziness I did was never enough to give me a reputation, because I did it mostly at home or safely in the homes of friends.

"But I became too partial to champagne -- expensive champagne! I dabbled in coke and marijuana, too."

Eventually after one drink too many, Gloria says she got on her knees and asked God to forgive her. "I vowed if He would take away my taste for champagne, I would never take another drink. That was in 1984. I haven't touched a drink since!

"I meet a lot of people in my business who have problems with alcohol. If I'm going to minister to them, tell them Christ can help them, I'm not going to be very credible if I have a drink in my hand."

The sultry singer has successfully called on her faith to help overcome the anguish and pain that plagued her early years.

Gloria had two illegal abortions before she was 21. "I carried a lot of guilt and regret about that for years, because I really wanted children," she confided to The ENQUIRER. "But the circumstances around the fathers weren't great -- that was the reason I terminated.

"Eventually I learned how Christ forgives you, and it helped me forgive myself."

Trying to build a bright future, Gloria married her manager Linwood Simon in 1979, but two miscarriages -- including one on their honeymoon -- brought more heartache.

Then Gloria plunged into a tailspin of despair after discovering Linwood had a secret mistress who had borne him a child.

"I went through the pain of betrayal -- then inadequacy and regret," the singer divulged to The ENQUIRER.

"I was pining for children, the miscarriages were a terrible experience, and what made it worse was she (Linwood's mistress) had his child and I couldn't."

The devastated diva gave Linwood the boot. But then a year later, her life took a bizarre turn.

Gloria and Linwood were invited to the wedding of a close friend -- and their smoldering romance caught fire all over again!

"He asked me to dance, we looked into each other's eyes, and it was still there," explained the singer.

"Four months later we were back together. He's always been the only man for me, and next year we celebrate our 25th."

There's more good news.

The 5-foot-6 powerhouse performer says she's finally winning her lifelong battle with the bulge, trimming down from nearly 250 pounds to just over 180.

"I'm still dieting and it's still coming down," she told The ENQUIRER.

A thrilled Gloria credits a new macrobiotic diet, which cuts out carbs and stresses fresh vegetables, low-sugar fruits and fish. "And I try to keep half of my diet raw," she adds.

Gloria's once-glorious career is also back on track. Last year she released a new album, "I Wish You Love," and she hit the dance charts with two successful singles.

"My life now is better than it's ever been," she told The ENQUIRER. "I've got my health, got my weight down, got my knight in shining armor, and my career is going so well.

"People talk about disco coming back, but it's never gone away. When you go to a wedding or a party, that music that gets people up dancing is still disco -- because it's dance music, and people love to dance!"