Anita Pointer has revealed how she recovered from years of heartache following the deaths of her loved ones, feuds with her sisters, and a cancer battle, in exclusive interview with DailyMailTV.
The 71-year-old R&B and soul singer, who rose to fame singing with her sisters Ruth, Bonnie, and June in the 70s and 80s, revealed she quietly retired four years ago following a near collapse on stage.
Anita was performing with The Pointer Sisters at a jazz festival on the Caribbean island of Curaçao in September 2015, when she felt herself gasping for breath and unable to sing the verse to the R&B band’s hit song, ‘I’m So Excited.’
Struck by panic and unable to move, let alone dance, the star felt crippled and was taken by EMTs to the hospital.
Soon afterwards – on her doctor’s advice – she secretly stepped away from music.
Deeply depressed she confined herself to her home and could barely leave her bed as she wrestled with her demons.
Now in an exclusive interview with DailyMailTV, Anita reveals for the first time how the health scare was the result of years of mental and physical trauma brought on by several family deaths, a cancer scare, bitter family feuds and a series of personal tragedies – all of which took a heavy toll on her life.
Legend: Anita Pointer opened up on her battle with depression, her feuds with her sisters, and revealed how a health scare led her to secretly retire from music four years ago, in an exclusive interview with DailyMailTV
Anita, 71, rose to fame performing with her sisters June and Ruth in the 70s and 80s as The Pointer Sisters whose hits include I’m So Excited and He’s So Shy
The original Pointer Sisters: Ruth, June, and Anita, grew up in Oakland, California before achieving mainstream success
DailyMailTV’s exclusive footage captured the emotional moment Anita (left) joined Bonnie (center) and Ruth (right) for the first time in a decade
Wiping away tears she explains: ‘In 1999 I lost the love of my life, 2000 my mom died, 2003 my daughter died, 2006 my sister died and in 2011 I was diagnosed with cancer and I spent a year healing from that chemo and radiation.
‘When I finally got back to work after the chemo – God that was the hardest thing ever.
‘I was pushing so hard to try and be happy, try and make people happy, and I was killing myself. I was undernourished, dehydrated and had high blood pressure.’
After the incident on stage Curaçao her physician told her she needs to slow down.
‘The doctors told me all your vitals are to the extreme. You need to stop, because you are killing yourself. I cried and cried.
‘I had to finally accept the fact I was getting older, that I cannot push it and I had been through so many tragedies that I had to stop.
‘When I got back to California I went to bed and stayed in bed for weeks, maybe months.
‘I was just a total mess and I could not function. My managers were encouraging me to get therapy and I finally did.
‘I found a psychiatrist, psychologist and a neuro-feedback doctor; between the three of them I really started feeling like I wanted to live.
‘It really helped to just let things out, talk about things that are bothering me and confront them.’
The Pointer Sisters June, Bonnie, Ruth and Anita attend the 18th Annual Grammy Awards on February 28, 1976
The siblings suffered a loss in 2006 when June (far left) died of lung cancer aged just 52
Anita (pictured left in 1988) opened up on nearly collapsing during a performance in Curacao that she says was brought on by years of trauma. She has since undergone therapy
Anita admits that the loss of her daughter Jada, who died in 2003 of pancreatic cancer, was the biggest blow and still haunts her today. Her daughter inspired one of the Pointer Sisters’ most popular songs named after her.
‘I started feeling – was this worth it? I worked so hard to get us a better place to live and get her into schools. My mother really took care of her, because we would always be gone.
I will never get over it. I cry almost every day for my baby. I loved her so much, she was my only child. And I think about her all the time and I am very angry with the world for taking my baby.
‘And I remember her crying and asking me not to leave, “Mama please don’t go”. But I had to make money, pay the bills, and work. And I did love what I did, but I lost out on so much of her life. We had talked about all the stuff we were going to do when I got older, and how she going to take care of me.
‘I will never get over it. I cry almost every day for my baby. I loved her so much, she was my only child. And I think about her all the time and I am very angry with the world for taking my baby.
‘I just feel like something could have been done. It has put me in a place where I will be suffering for the rest of my life, because I will never get over this.
‘I hope there is something that I can find that will bring me some kind of peace for the rest of the time I am here.’
Her daughter’s death came three years after her mother, Sarah, who had been key in helping raise her daughter, passed away.
Tragedy struck again in 2006, when Anita’s sister June, one of first members of the singing group, passed away from lung cancer aged just 52.
June’s funeral also prompted the public airing of a bitter family feud in which sister Bonnie claimed Anita and other sister Ruth and brothers Aaron and Fritz had ignored her burial wishes.
Anita said her biggest loss in life was her only daughter Jada, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2003. Jada was the inspiration for The Pointer Sisters’ hit song of the same name
Ruth Pointer and brother Fritz visited June and Jada’s resting place in 2018. Anita admitted she felt guilty for missing out on years of Jada’s life due to her job
In a span of seven years, Anita endured the loss of her mother in 2000, her daughter in 2003, and her sister June in 2006. June’s death sparked a feud among the sisters after Bonnie claimed the family hadn’t honored her burial wishes
Bonnie also admitted her sisters did not let her ride in the family car at the funeral.
Anita and Ruth responded that Bonnie had demanded to be let back into the group and was upset that she had not been allowed to rejoin it, and that June had left no instructions for her burial.
The long therapy and healing process during her four-year break made Anita – who achieved mainstream success with The Pointer Sisters during the 1970s and 1980s winning three Grammy Awards – realize that working can help quash her pain and anguish but only if she channeled it properly.
‘All my adult life all I knew was performing. I pushed myself. My motto was I can always do one more show,’ she says.
‘I was always pushing my talent to the limit – performing shows, traveling, managing a family, the band and then writing songs in between it all.
‘Under doctor’s care and therapy, I refocused my brain. It had got to the point when I was on the road, I was physically sick and broken, without passion.
‘It got to the point where I was so lost that I could not even bare to listen to music anymore. If I listened to music then I would just cry.’
In 2019 Anita has found her voice again thanks to a chance meeting with Hollywood Museum director Donelle Dadigan last year.
The pair began discussing an exhibit after the performer revealed how she had kept so much from the band’s history.
Anita says most of the sisters’ troubles from the past are now behind them and hopes to do a something special for their 50th anniversary this year
The Pointer Sisters with famous late musician Liberace in an undated photo
The three-time Grammy-winning sisters earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994
After agreeing to staging an exhibit at the famous venue, at the former Max Factor Building on Hollywood and Highland in LA, Anita’s outlook changed forever.
‘I guess I did need those four years away, thank God I met Donelle Dadigan, who kind of saved my life.
‘She brought everything back to life that I had been working on for decades. It really made a difference being able to see all we had done this way. I thank the Hollywood Museum with all my heart.’
And the veteran singer has given hope to fans that the group, famous for hits like Jump For Your Love and He’s So Shy, will reunite for a 50th anniversary project.
Fans briefly saw a taste of their comeback on September 30 when they sang together at the opening of the Hollywood Museum exhibit celebrating their careers.
DailyMailTV’s exclusive footage captured the emotional moment Anita joined Bonnie and Ruth for the first time in a decade.
Anita says that working on the display, featuring hundreds of costumes and memorabilia pieces, has been a key factor in her recovery along with three years of therapy.
The singer is much happier these days and has even taken a break from therapy feeling that there ‘has been a lot of healing’ between herself and the co-star sisters.
Smiling she said: ‘Most of the troubles from the past are behind us. They usually stem from the men in our lives – that is where the troubles comes.
‘It is hard to talk about and understand what happens.
‘They persuade the women to do things and it sort of clashes with the sisters. We are doing pretty good right now.’
Anita and her sisters now hope that their profile will rise again in this milestone year.
‘We are working on some projects together that we hope will pass.
‘We are all kind of on the same page getting through these last years making something happen that will take us out with a bang. That is what we are hoping for.
‘Because we are sisters, because we love each other, and I will never stop loving my sisters.
‘We haven’t been in the studio together for a long time. It would be an amazing blessing for us to sing together.
‘It would just thrill my heart to all go in and do an original song or an old song… just do something together me and my sisters.
‘It would be like heaven for me, because I believe we can pull it off as it would be an amazing thing to do – a dream come true.’
Reunion: The Pointer Sisters briefly made a comeback on September 30 when they sang together at the opening of the Hollywood Museum (pictured) exhibit celebrating their careers
Anita met Hollywood Museum director Donelle Dadigan and the pair began discussing an exhibit after the performer revealed how she had kept so much from the band’s history
Working on the display, featuring hundreds of costumes and memorabilia pieces, has been a key factor in her recovery along with three years of therapy, she said
Anita credits the museum director for ‘saving her’ and bringing her life’s work back to life
Anita says that the last time the three sisters stood on stage was 2010 when Bonnie came on for a small cameo at The Greek Theater, Los Angeles.
Other than small song performances, Anita, Ruth, and Bonnie have not been on stage for a full scale gig in over 43 years.
‘We have not done a real show for decades since me Ruth and Bonnie played together. Bonnie left in 1976, but would join us here and there over the years, but I feel we are ready.
‘I know it’s the 50th, it makes me think the only way I would want to return would be to do something special like at the Hollywood Bowl.
‘The love from the fans is there and our voices are there too. I am open and keeping my fingers crossed, maybe someone will give me a deal I cannot refuse.’
Donelle Dadigan, President and Founder of the Hollywood Museum, said: ‘We are proud to have 50 years of Iconic Fashion, Wardrobe Design and Memorabilia created by the sensational career of The Pointer Sisters as seen through the eyes of one of the original Pointer Sister, Anita Pointer.
‘For the first time ever this impressive volume of collectible, targeted for audiences of all ages, will be on display and open to the public exhibiting on the entire 2nd floor of the Hollywood Museum in the Historic Max Factor Building on Hollywood and Highland.’
The museum features over 10,000 authentic show business treasures spotlighting more than 100 years of Hollywood history.
It is one of LA’s top tourist attractions and annually receives the Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor.
For more info visit: http://thehollywoodmuseum.com/exhibit/3361/