Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s mother, Diane Ford, says she did not realize that her son needed professional help until he suddenly announced Wednesday he was entering rehab.

Approached by reporters Thursday in a parking lot outside her hairdresser’s salon, Diane Ford said this was a sad day and asked them to leave her son alone. Asked whether she can now acknowledge that her son’s biggest problems go beyond his weight -- as she once asserted -- she answered quietly, “Well I guess I have to.

“I had no idea it was as serious as it was. But then he doesn’t live with me so I don’t know what he does every minute of every day,” she said.

The mayor announced Wednesday he would be taking a leave of absence from city hall and from campaigning for the Oct. 27 mayoral election to enter rehab. He said he had a problem with alcohol and had tried to deal with his issues by himself over the past year.

“I know that I need professional help and I am now 100% committed to getting myself right,” he said.

His decision came after new reports emerged alleging video and audio evidence of Ford smoking crack cocaine, being highly intoxicated in public, and making crude remarks about his mayoral rivals.

Toronto police said Thursday they have not seen the video but are looking into the reports. Det. Sgt. Gary Giroux added the police investigation into Ford, dubbed Project Brazen 2, has always remained active.

“Investigators would be interested in reviewing any new information related to their ongoing investigation,” the police service tweeted.

Among the new allegations:

• The Globe and Mail published images from a video the paper says it obtained from self-professed drug dealers. In pictures published online, Ford is seen clutching a metal pipe.

The clip, which was offered for sale to both The Globe and Mail and Gawker, was reportedly shot in Ford's sister's basement early Saturday morning, and is said to show the mayor taking a drag from a copper-coloured pipe. The drug dealers tried to sell the videos to the paper for “at least six figures,” which the paper refused. It did agree, though, to buy screen shots from the video for $10,000.

• That report came within hours of the Toronto Sun saying it had a new audio recording of Ford ranting at a bar, making lewd comments about mayoral candidate Karen Stintz.“I’d like to f-----g jam her (Stintz), but she doesn’t want ... I can’t talk like this...I’m so sorry,” Ford is heard saying on the recording. “I forgot there’s a woman in the house.” According to the Sun, a “wasted” Ford was also seen buying shooters at the bar and trying to fight with patrons.

CTV News has not been able to verify the authenticity of the video images or the audio recording.

A man who identified himself as “Alex” told CTV News on Wednesday that he was the one asking Ford about Stintz in the recording. "He was down at one end of the bar, I was at the other," Alex said.

Ford was there with a group of friends, including a man who was not his regular driver, Alex said. According to Alex, the mayor ordered tequila shots for the approximately 15 other patrons at the bar.

Alex does not know who made the recording, he said.

• Another report also emerged from the Toronto Star alleging Ford was heavily abusing substances on St. Patrick’s Day weekend. According to eyewitnesses who spoke to the paper, Ford drank to excess at a downtown nightclub called Muzik, became further impaired after disappearing into a washroom for an hour, and continued drinking until 5 a.m.

Pop star Justin Bieber was also at the bar and reportedly irritated the mayor by asking him, “Did you bring any crack to smoke?”

The Star report alleges Ford returned to Muzik on April 5, after being barred from an executive lounge at the Air Canada Centre. According to witnesses, Ford slipped into a closed-off part of the club with three friends and emerged an hour later, appearing intoxicated.

It’s not clear how Ford’s leave will mean for the governance of the city. Toronto city council stripped Ford of most of his powers last November, transferring them to Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly.

Toronto Sun columnist Joe Warmington spoke personally with Ford Wednesday before the newspaper reports emerged, and said Ford told him he would be seeking professional help.

“He was very emotional concerning many things. Obviously, his world is crashing down around him,” Warmington told CTV’s Canada AM Thursday morning.

He added he’s not sure whether Ford chose to go to rehab at this point because of the emergence of the new audio and video, but he suspects the mayor had hit his breaking point.

“it was a combination of all that, but there really was no other move for him to make with all this,” Warmington said. “He also seemed ready to do something because this has become pretty messy, particularly in the last few days.”

Ford appeared to realize he might not be around much longer if he didn’t seek help now, Warmington said.

Dennis Morris, the mayor's lawyer, told CTV’s Katie Simpson that Ford is planning to go to a facility for people with substance-abuse difficulties.

“I can say that’s what he hoping or planning to do. Whether or not that’s this week, who knows. I can’t say because you have to get your ducks in order.”

Ford was seen loading luggage into a car parked in front of his home early Thursday morning and reportedly boarded a private plane to a rehab facility in the United States.

Morris confirmed to CTV Toronto that Ford landed at Chicago’s Midway Airport late Thursday afternoon after departing from Toronto’s Buttonville Airport.

Ford’s brother Doug has a home in Chicago and the family business, Deco Lables, has a location in the city as well.

Morris said Ford didn’t say much about why he was making the decision he made.

“But I think Flaherty’s death, recently, is something that depressed him. But I didn’t go into detail or talk to him about that. I think life is just overwhelming at this point,” Morris told Simpson.

Morris said Ford will "for sure" continue to run for mayor.

“That’s the whole point of it. He has to take a break to re-energize because he realizes he has flaws that have to be addressed,” Morris said.

"He'd never, in my eyes, think of quitting that race.”