Imagine you’ve been working solid for the past year, with little or no breaks. Now imagine you get a weekend off in Los Angeles to blow off some steam and hang out with your friends.
Perhaps there are those who might hold a Bible study or read to blind kids, but most people would have at least a couple of cocktails and try to have fun, and no one around would bat an eye.
Then again, most people aren’t Avril Lavigne.
She does it and suddenly supermarket weeklies are booking her a room in rehab in the same wing as Robert Downey Jr.
“I was out for 10 weeks in Asia, (went) to L.A. for a weekend to meet my girlfriends, went out — and yeah, we had some drinks, yeah — and some paparazzi took some pictures and now everybody thinks I’m an alcoholic,” the Canadian pop star tells the Sun during an exclusive Calgary phone interview from Germany.
“But the funny thing is, I’ve been on tour for six weeks (now), I’ve drank probably twice because I was in Italy and I had some red wine.
“I’m on a vegan diet, I do yoga every day, I work out, I’m totally spiritual — I’m completely opposite of what everyone thinks I am right now.
“Everyone thinks I’m this angry … alcoholic and I’m losing all of my friends.”
Then again, the 20-year-old does admit to egging the pic-snapping parasites on, by holding up a smoke — she’s a non-smoker — and playing up her drunkenness.
And why not? She doesn’t hold those who buy into the gossip-spin in very high regard anyway.
“To me, I look at that and my friends look at that and we laugh,” she says. “All those people who buy those magazines are dumb. Those who buy them and believe them are dumb.”
She laughs loudly.
“One good thing … it makes me look more like a rock star.”
Actually, during this interview, Lavigne comes across as anything but a rock star, turning what was supposed to be a strict 10 minutes into over 20, and chatting casually about everything from Swiss Chalet — she’s jonesing for the Canadian cuisine — to being an exercise “fiend.”
Four months away from any prolonged time off — she still has U.S., Canadian (including a ’Dome show July 30) and South America legs on the tour to support her sophomore release Under My Skin — she sounds incredibly relaxed and content.
“I’m holding up the best I’ve ever held up on tour …,” she admits. “(I’m) taking time for myself — I cancelled all of my press, except for phoners every once in awhile like this, just to make sure I have my days for myself.
“I can go for a run if I feel like it, read, take my time, do some yoga.”
That lesson, taking time for herself, is just one of the many she’s had to learn during her crash course in superstardom which began when she was only 17.
Then, she was aloof and notoriously dour — one of the worst interviews you could possibly hope to encounter.
“I’m a different person now,” she states simply. “I was annoyed, I had to do so much when I first got into it.
“I felt like everyone was out to get me because, you know how when people do interviews with you and you think it was really good, and then you read it and you’re like, ‘Oh my God, that’s mean.’
“So you put up walls. Now I just don’t give a s---, I mean, whatever.
“But you Canadian folk are really sweet — you guys are a little friendlier and warmer, shall we say.”
As for her warmth and softer side, everyone will get the chance to see that after she recently dropped her guard while MTV cameras were rolling.
“Everyone thinks I’m a tough little mean little hardcore girl — wait until you see my Punk’d,” she says of the Ashton Kutcher Candid Camera show, which Lavigne says will air next month.
“I got Punk’d and … everyone who planned it out thought I was going to get mad and freak out.
“I stood there and I went ‘Oh my God, that’s so mean,’ and I started crying.”