THE daughter of New York’s newly elected mayor, Bill de Blasio, has revealed her battle with drink, drugs and depression. Chiara de Blasio, 19, said her feelings of insecurity about her appearance drove her into a cycle of marijuana and alcohol abuse.
She said she had been in group therapy over the past year, during which her father was campaigning to become mayor, and said that getting sober was the “hardest thing I’ve ever done”.
In a sign of wider tensions within the de Blasio family, she also admitted her father was not as supportive as he could have been as he was “really busy” with his campaign.
She made the announcement on a slickly produced video, set to piano tones, and which was released on Christmas Eve, with critics claiming it looked like a campaign video.
The de Blasio family had refused to answer questions about Chiara’s mental health during the election, despite using her and their son Dante, 15, to sell themselves as a tight-knit, multiracial brand. The video, posted on YouTube, shows Chiara wearing a green and orange headscarf, a T-shirt and talking frankly to an off-camera interviewer.
She suggests she began having problems before starting her environmental studies degrees at Santa Clara University in California last year. Her father declared he was running against Republican Michael Bloomberg for mayor of New York in January, midway through her first term.
Chiara said: “It made it easier the more I drank and did drugs to share some common ground with people I wouldn’t have.
“It didn’t start out as like a huge thing for me, but then it became a really huge thing for me. I’d be like: ‘Oh, I won’t drink’ – and then I would smoke weed.
“And then I would be like: ‘I’m not gonna smoke weed’ – and I would just drink. It was like this bartering for equally bad outcomes.”
Chiara said that seeking help enabled her to “explore things that aren’t just partying” and that to take part in the election campaign, which she enjoyed.
She said: “Removing substances from my life, it’s opened so many doors for me.”
Critics, however, seized on the part where she admitted that her parents could have done more, even if they were “very emotionally committed” to helping her.
Mr de Blasio will be the first Democrat in 20 years to become New York mayor when his term begins next week.
He won because the city swerved to the Left and embraced him as a Barack Obama-style candidate of change.
Two hours after the video was released Mr de Blasio, Chiara, Dante and his wife Chirlane appeared outside their home in Brooklyn where he said he was “incredibly proud” of his daughter.
During the election campaign Mr de Blasio had already had to answer questions about his wife, who once said she was a lesbian.
It also emerged that his father was an alcoholic who battled depression and killed himself when Mr de Blasio was 18.
Writing in the New York Daily News, Juan Gonzalez said of Chiara’s video: “It amounted to a skilfully scripted Madison Avenue commercial that must have been in the planning for weeks – not some young woman’s spontaneous confession the day before Christmas.”