Never-Before-Heard Tape: Natalie Wood Admits To Boozing, Pill Popping & Smoking Weed

Feb. 7 2018, Updated 1:21 p.m. ET

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Just three years before her boozy downing death, Natalie Wood admitted to drinking in excess, popping pills and smoking marijuana, RadarOnline.com can exclusively report.

In a bombshell 1978 recording unearthed by Radar, Wood, then a mother of two young girls, told a Ladies Home Journal reporter she and husband Robert Wagner "smoked occasionally."

But she quickly backtracked.

"I wouldn't say we were like users of it, you know. But, uh, definitely…everything is more enlightened," the actress said.

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Later in the interview, she was asked about rumors she partied hard with drugs. While she insisted she never tried cocaine, she did admit to regularly using powerful barbituate Seconal.

"I mean, there was a period where I took Seconal to sleep at night," she confessed, before quickly justifying her use. "But I think there's a big difference between taking one Seconal at night to go to sleep and abusing drugs. I mean, first of all, that was prescribed for me by my doctor."

Wood also admitted to drinking hard as a teen movie star, especially while filming 1955 drama Rebel Without A Cause opposite James Dean. (At the movie's release, she was 17.)

"I went through a period of drinking when I was a teenager. Because it was sort of in fashion to go out on a date and drink cans of Country Club. That was the thing then," she explained. "There wasn't much else that, that everybody as teenagers did, outside of, you know, try, try liquor. But I would never say that even then that it was anything that I was especially addicted to."

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Just three years later in 1981, Wood, then 43, was found dead after a night out at sea with Wagner and friend Christopher Walken on the couple's yacht in Santa Catalina, Calif.

Traces of a painkiller and seasickness pill were discovered in the toxicology report. She was also found to have had imbibed alcohol in the hours before her death.

Her death remains one of the greatest mysteries in Hollywood. Though a person of interest in the case, Wagner has never been charged with a crime.

After reopening the case in 2011, investigators say they have new leads — and are still questioning Wagner's account of the tragic evening.

"His original story — what he said happened that weekend — doesn't add up," Lieutenant John Carena of the LAPD said in a press conference on February 5. "That they're all talking in the salon, then she went down below to the bedroom, and next thing you know he goes and checks on her and she's gone. So he figures, she must have went to town — in her pajamas, in her socks, in the middle of the night, and it's raining out. For some reason she's going to take the car, which she never drives, and doesn't know how to drive it, and take it into town."

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