That newfound religion, another longtime friend notes, is a bit of a euphemism: She didn’t just find God. In other words, she shed substance abuse. At our third interview, Boone acknowledges that she indeed did stop drinking—and other stuff—and underwent a belated maturation based on “just wanting to become a nicer person.” “When you’re young, it’s easy to do things without a lot of examination,” she says philosophically. “I was lucky to have a lot of success in my early years, but it didn’t translate into happiness, whereas now I think of myself as a remarkably happy person.”
Boone is reluctant to discuss her alcoholism extensively, citing lingering prejudice about addiction and concern for Max, now 21. (Though in practically the next breath she indiscreetly reels off more than a half dozen names of prominent artists she’s gotten sober.) She does, however, point to her father’s death when she was just three years old and to what she describes as extended, untreated postpartum depression as two triggers of her drinking problem. Sober for 10 years, Boone says she also cut down on sugar and, hardest of all, excised Diet Coke. “Just the alcohol and the sugar, I found that it made my mood swings incredible,” she says. “And I had issues like everybody. I had control issues, temper issues.” Though Boone devotes time to her church and to the Young at Art program she funds in New York’s public schools, she remains such a workaholic that she still hasn’t bothered to buy a country house, because she spends most Saturdays in the gallery.
At the end of our meal at Michael’s, she asks the waiter, as she has unblinkingly at each of our lunches, for a doggie bag. She doesn’t like waste. Currently single, she’s taking her mother and Max to dinner at the Four Seasons tonight, so perhaps she plans on giving the three quarters of her $36 Cobb salad that sits untouched on her plate to a homeless person, something she and her son often do. After all, the new Boone tells me in all sincerity, “It’s really about living by the Golden Rule and having a conscience.”