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February 11, 1999 12:00 AM

Eric Clapton is coming clean about his addictions in the ’70s. “I know that when I was a full-blown practicing alcoholic, everyone used to walk around me on eggshells,” the rock legend, 54, said in an interview with London’s Sunday Times. “There were times when I just took sex with my wife by force and thought that was my entitlement. I had absolutely no concern for other people at all, and I think that what happens in a family is everyone starts to doctor their own roles to make it bearable to live that way,” he said. Clapton was interviewed in Antigua, the Caribbean island where he founded Crossroads Center, a clinic to treat drug and alcohol abuse.

  • Clapton, who has not remarried since his 1988 divorce from Patti Boyd, retreated to the island after his 4-year-old son fell to his death through the open window of a New York apartment building in 1991. Last week he sold 100 of his guitars at an auction at Christie’s in New York, raising more than $5 million for Crossroads. He has said he no longer regards himself as a musician.

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