As shocking as it was, Sunday's death of Brittany Murphy at age 32 didn't come out of nowhere -- not to those close to the actress, whose behavior of late was alarmingly erratic, according to new reports.
Just two weeks ago, Murphy was mysteriously fired from the horror film The Caller and reportedly replaced by Twilight's Rachelle LeFevre. (Murphy's rep has denied that she was fired.) Prior to that, Murphy barely kept her job shooting another horror film, Something Wicked, in Oregon. Production sources told TheWrap that Murphy was "barely there...she'd go in and out of consciousness in the middle of takes." This eventually forced the film's producers to rewrite scenes involving Murphy; most of the cast and crew "presumed she used prescription drugs," TheWrap reports.
"Brittany's been living life on the edge," a friend of Murphy's is quoted as saying in British newspaper the Daily Mail. "She definitely had a drug problem and we have begged her to seek help.'"
Back in 2005, Murphy publicly denied rumors of cocaine use, saying, "Just for the record I have never tried it in my entire life, I've never even seen it, and I don't leave the house too much, except to go to work."
She added at the time, "My worst vice is caffeine. The rumor is really pretty darn far-fetched."
Director Amy Heckerling knew a very different Brittany Murphy when she worked with her on 1995's Clueless, Murphy's breakout role. Back then, Heckerling worried that the actress, then a young teenager, was already feeling the pressures of Hollywood stardom.
"She seemed to go through a change on Clueless," Heckerling told the blog And the Winner Is... Sunday. "Maybe she felt like she was not the, like, skinny, pretty girl, you know? And then the next few movies she was, you know, thinner, blonde ... and going out with Ashton Kutcher suddenly got more into that whole glamorous scene. I think she felt the pressure to become a different sort of commodity to survive in show business, and I think it was awful."