Abdul fan battled depression, anorexia

Posted Nov. 23, 2008, at 9:01 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 13, 2011, at 11:05 a.m.

WATERVILLE, Maine — A Paula Abdul fan who was found dead in a car near the Los Angeles home of the pop star she admired is being remembered in Maine by family members who say she struggled with depression and eating disorders as she pursued her dream of stardom.

Waterville native Sandra May McIntyre, who changed her name to Paula Goodspeed, had been ridiculed over her failed audition for “American Idol.” Her mother, Sandra McIntyre, said her daughter’s manic depression deepened after her show business dreams dissipated.

Goodspeed’s fiance, Paul McInnis of South Paris, told the Morning Sentinel that her Nov. 11 death occurred the day before the 30-year-old was to have moved back to Maine with her mother.

Goodspeed’s brother, Charles McIntyre II of Oakland, said the death was attributed to a drug overdose. He said he doesn’t believe Goodspeed would have knowingly caused her death, suggesting instead that she may have been taking too much antidepressant medicine for her body size.

“They said she OD’d on Seroquel. They said it slowed her heart right down till it stopped. They did do a blood test, and that’s how they found out it was an overdose,” McIntyre said

Growing up in the central Maine towns of Clinton, Madison and Skowhegan, Sandra May McIntyre would listen to Abdul recordings as she danced around her room, singing her heart out.

At 16, she changed her name to Paula; in her 20s, she took her grandparents’ last name.

Five years ago she left for Hollywood, where she did some modeling, took singing lessons and tried to get Abdul’s attention. She even managed to land an appearance on “American Idol,” the TV show on which Abdul is a judge, but the performance ended badly with Goodspeed ridiculed for the braces on her teeth and belittled for lack of talent.

In addition to her health problems, Goodspeed harbored great sadness because her two children were taken by the state several years ago amid a bad marriage, her mother told the Sentinel.

“She was beautiful,” Sandra McIntyre said from California, where she was preparing to bring her daughter’s ashes back to Maine. “She was a beautiful, beautiful daughter, and I helped her as much as I could. I can’t bear the loss of being without her. It’s so hard.”

McIntyre of Skowhegan moved to California in January to be with her daughter, who struggled with anorexia and had shriveled from 140 pounds when she left Maine to 78 pounds at her death.

“Since I have been out here all this year, she has gone to her psychologist a lot and it didn’t seem to help,” McIntyre said. “She was so depressed that she just felt like she wasn’t worthy of this world — that’s how depressed she was.”

After Goodspeed died, her fiance flew to California to help her mother tie up her affairs.

McInnis, an environmental consultant, said he spoke with Goodspeed by phone just hours before she died.

“The last time I talked to her I told her I couldn’t wait to see her,” he said. He said they met in Bangor several years ago and got engaged last Valentine’s Day. She wanted to get married on Valentine’s Day next year, he said.

McInnis, 55, said the two were in contact daily by phone or text message, and he supported her financially while she was in California and encouraged her efforts to get into show business. Despite their differences in age, he said, they shared a special bond.

“She was the most wonderful person I ever met,” he said. “She was fun to be with.”

Her brother says he’s angry at the way Goodspeed was treated on “American Idol.” Even after her death, he noted, she is being made fun of on the Internet, where a video of her television appearance and the judges’ criticism of her is accessible.

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