Fantasia Barrino Turns Suicide Scare Into PR Victory

How the ex-'Idol’ champ played her overdose for maximum press coverage

Just two weeks after overdosing on aspirin and sleeping pills, former "American Idol" champ Fantasia Barrino has turned her suicide scare into a PR coup.

Barrino was hospitalized on the night of Aug. 9 after police were called to her North Carolina home. Her manager later issued a statement saying that she took a potentially deadly dose of pills because she was "overwhelmed" by the scandal that sprung up when she was named in court papers as having had an affair with a married man that possibly involved illicit sex tapes.

Barrino left the hospital two days later, and since then, she's already lined up a "Behind The Music" special linked to the release of her next album. 

In a magical bit of marketing synergy, Barrino taped an interview with VH1's "Behind The Music" series, her first since the sex tape rumors and suicide attempt, that will air Tuesday — the same day her album "Back To Me" hits stores. VH1 and Barrino already have a relationship; the singer has a series on the channel, "Fantasia For Real."

The series' first season wrapped in March. Season two begins in October. Both her show and her album are getting added boosts of publicity buzz from the overdose and sex tape scandal.

"Back To Me" is Barrino's third album since she burst into the public eye by winning the third season of "American Idol" in 2004. The album had been in the works before Barrino's overdose scare, but the singer's recent spate of scandals probably couldn't have come at a better time for her record sales.

Barrino last released an album in 2006 and, apart from her VH1 show, she hasn't been in the public eye nearly as much as she was during her "Idol" heyday. Her recent personal problems have put her back on the map right as she's coming out with a new record and a new season of her show. Barrino may be having bad luck in her personal life, but she's certainly managed to parlay her troubles into maximum press buzz at a key moment in her career. In the long run, sleeping with a married man and downing a bottle of pills may prove to have been smart moves for Barrino.