Billy Joel is the sixth-best-selling recording artist and the third-best-selling solo artist in the United States, but the singer-songwriter has also had his fair share of personal woes. From alcoholism to depression his recent candid interview with the New York Times reveals there's more to his troubled life than the average celebrity meltdown.

Joel said his depression was directly influenced by the 9/11 terrorist attacks and he used booze as medication. The New York native, who recently celebrated his 64th birthday, said his mind wasn't focused and depression contributed to his reckless driving and alcohol abuse.

"I went into a deep, deep depression after 9/11. 9/11 just knocked the wind out of me, and I don't know even now if I've recovered from it," he said. "It really, really hurt that man could do that to man."

In 2002, Joel checked into the Connecticut substance abuse and psychiatric clinic Silver Hill Hospital. He told People magazine at the time he was depressed after inflamed vocal cords and an infection left him no choice but to cancel his joint tour with Elton John. One of the tour dates were scheduled for New York City and added he didn't want to let his hometown down.

"I was kind of in a mental fog, and it had nothing to do with the booze," he said. He was also recovering after ending his five-year marriage to Katie Lee, a food critic and novelist, who was more than twice his junior. Lee advised him to get treatment from the Betty Ford Center in 2005 for alcohol-related problems.

Joel admitted that his drinking got heavy, but "it wasn't consistent, it would be periods of time, during a divorce or something."

In a matter of two years, the "Piano Man" songwriter was involved in three car accidents; his third one in 2004 showed no involvement with alcohol or drugs.

Joel still hasn't kicked the habit. He told the Times that he still occasionally drinks wine with a meal, but that he also practices self-control.