Singer El DeBarge has had a long and complicated history with fame. The successful musician has a handful of hits and comes from a family of stars. Unfortunately, fame always brings with it access, and DeBarge has picked up some terrible habits over the years that have stifled his career and livelihood. Despite a brief resurgence recently, it looks like his old issues have returned again
Born Eldra Patrick “El” DeBarge, El rose to prominence as the lead singer of his family group of the same name. DeBarge made their debut in 1979 and scored massive hits like “I Like It” and “All This Love.” Their 1984 hit “Rhythm of the Night” is their biggest success to date and currently has almost 90 million streams on Spotify. El emerged pretty early on as the star of the group and at one point, was the only one called in by the label to work on music due to his siblings all having fallen into substance abuse and becoming unreliable. By 1986, Motown dropped everyone else in the family and continued forward with him as a solo artist.
Despite being labeled the most “reliable” of the DeBarge children by the label, El was also fighting addiction like his siblings. According to him, he began experimenting with substances after getting strong medicine to help him with a tooth surgery. From there, he became hooked on similar highs and started to spiral right before our eyes. It completely derailed his career and resulted in an arrest in 2001 and 2007. Both times he was caught in possession of a controlled substance and given probation. The singer was also locked behind bars in 2007 after being involved in DV incident.
He violated his probation in 2008 and was sentenced to two years in jail. He served 13 months of his two year sentence. DeBarge seemed like a changed man following this and began to discuss his struggle publicly while seeking sobriety. This was followed by a new album and tour that eventually had to be canceled due to a relapse. He has not released any music since 2010 but has made public appearances and performances over the years while fighting to stay sober.
Unfortunately, DeBarge is back behind bars again due to his substance addiction. This marks his fourth time since 2011. The 61-year-old singer was pulled over at a Burbank gas station, where police initially approached him due to his expired tags. They found paraphernalia in his vehicle and an “expandable metal baton” in plain sight. According to Complex, “he posted $25,000 bond and is due back in court in March.”
Fans in the comments sections were sad to see him back in the headlines. “I actually feel bad for him and his siblings I watched they unsung,” said one person. Another person said,” ‘I’m just relieved that he’s still alive. Him & his siblings deserved so much more, starting with better parents! Life can be so unfair 💔.”
Those familiar with his family history asked others to give him grace saying, “Understand that his upbringing was a set-up for a lifetime of struggles, and he’s STILL struggling, so let’s not make fun of the situation. Instead, PRAY.”