Jason Derulo Describes Breaking His Neck in Terrifying 2013 Tour Rehearsal Accident: ‘Is This How It All Ends?’

Jason Derulo re-lived one of the scariest moments of his life during a chat with old friend Paris Hilton on her I Am Paris podcast this week. The 34-year-old “Spicy Margarita” singer told Hilton that he thought the 2013 tour rehearsal accident in which he broke his neck might be the end of it all.


“That s–t’s crazy,” Derulo said, explaining that he was working with a trainer at the time to prepare for his upcoming world tour their prep went serious awry. “He was like, ‘today we’re gonna work on endurance, so I’ll need you to do these back tucks, back-to-back-to-back,’” the singer said his trainer told him.

“He had me doing like 50 back tucks back-to-back-to-back, which is another one of the worst ideas that somebody’s ever had,” Derulo said of the maneuver that is a backflip in which the performer starts from a standing position and flings their body backwards, landing on their hands and then springing off them to land back on their feet facing the same direction. “So I slipped during one of the back tucks and I landed on my head, breaking my C2 vertebrae.”

As soon as the accident occurred, Derulo described hearing, “a big crack, and I was just like, ‘Holy s–t, is this it? Is this how it all ends?’ And all the thoughts that you could imagine are going through my head at the time.” He also recalled thinking at the time that his mother was outside the gym waiting for him in the car and that he didn’t want to scare her with the news. After laying on the ground for five minutes, he said he gathered himself and walked to the car holding his neck.

“And then I’m like, ‘Mom, I think I hurt myself a little bit’ — like with that bright kind of voice,” he said he told her. “‘I think I hurt myself a little bit inside, we should probably go to the hospital just to check it out.’” The ride to the hospital was rough, with Derulo describing every bump in the road as feeling like “hell on Earth. I’m just dying in that passenger seat, but I don’t wanna let her know that.”

At the hospital, Derulo was X-rayed and the doctor arrived with good and bad news. The good news, the doc said, was that Derulo had suffered what’s called a “hangman’s break,” which is the same break that happens when someone his hung from a rope. “‘And you’re still alive. This could’ve ended up way crazier, paralyzed or worse,’” the doctor told him. “That’s the good news, that you’re still here with us, and you can move all your limbs. The bad news is you’re gonna be out for seven months.”

Derulo described going from having total control over his life to not having “any kind of control at all,” down to an inability to tie his shoes or take a shower by himself. “That was the first time in my life where I felt like I just had no control,” he said. The injury required seven months of intense rehab, including a 45 minute walk every morning, followed by “hours and hours” in the studio writing and recording his 2013 Talk Dirty (aka Tattoos) album.

The other major blow for Derulo was the cancellation of his tour, which he knew would be a let-down for his fans. “I know how much this means to people, people save their money, their hard-earned money, and they wanna be part of this experience. All of a sudden all of that s–t was down the drain,” he said.

Derulo released his fifth studio album, Nu King, in February.

Listen to Derulo on I Am Paris below (talk about the accident begins at the 5:15 mark).

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