The Playing Field

Is Early Success a Curse?

The world received with shock the news that former American tennis player Jennifer Capriati has been hospitalised after overdosing on drugs. Her family has stated that she overdosed on her prescription drugs accidentally. Luckily, she is out of danger and didn't have to end up with the same fate as Brittany Murphy or Heath Ledger.

Police mug shot of Jennifer Capriati and her friend Tome Wineland when they got arrested

At 14, she became the youngest ever semi-finalist at the French Open. An Olympic gold medal winner at 16, Jennifer Capriati's accomplishments defied her age. Back then, the media hailed her as the next superstar of American tennis, and the prodigy had great expectations heaped on her. But then her career took a roller-coaster-like plunge . Capriati was arrested for possession of marijuana and once for shop-lifting, too. It turned out that the pressure was too much for her to bear; the fear of having to live up to expectations took a toll on her.

Fame — it's intoxicating and often fatal. It's tough to be young, successful and happy. Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, we can find a big list here — of young people who've got trapped in the whirlwind of success. Britney's song 'Lucky' in fact is  reflective as it talks about the sad saga of a young and famous girl who "cries in her lonely heart thinking…"

Their lives are often predictable; these prodigies are discarded in the blink of an eye by the same world that hails them a minute before; and often they are lonely even when adored by millions around the world. As the song states:

"Lost in an image, in a dream
But there's no one there to wake her up
And the world is spinning and she keeps on winning
But tell me, what happens when it stops?"

Heath was only 28 when he died. It's said that he was in deep depression while preparing for the role of Joker in Batman, so much so that he had isolated himself from the world, which is believed to have affected him mentally. His incredible performance earned him a posthumous Oscar, but isn't it sad that he didn't live to see that moment of glory?

Brittany Murphy is said to have overdosed on prescription drugs that were given to her to treat her asthma. In a sad turn of events, her husband, Simon Monjack, died just a few months later of overdosing on prescription drugs himself. Are these instances a cry of the desolate, a call for attention of the emotionally wounded? And can we really blame them?

Columnist Profiles

  • Prem Panicker, Managing Editor, Yahoo! India

    Journalist. Loves reading, writing; hates 'rithmetic.

  • Princy James, Sports & Entertainment Editor

    The name is James, and I have a license to pen down my thoughts

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