Despite the fame, fortune, and endless leisure time that often comes with celebrity lifestyles, there are a number of famous stars and public figures that suffer from the disease of addiction. It’s important to recognize that even the people “have it all” are just as at risk when it comes to substance abuse. Names like Charlie Sheen, Amy Winehouse, Courtney Love, and countless others have become synonymous with the relentless abuse of drugs, and unfortunately, some have even lost their lives because of it.
It's not always that way though. Other big-name actors and icons have secretly battled their own addiction demons, too. They've checked themselves into rehab numerous times, ran into the law, and almost lost their entire livelihoods. Eventually, though, they were able to get the treatment they needed to overcome all the odds. Here are celebrities celebrating sobriety and recovery.
Pop singer Demi Lovato famously overdosed and almost lost her life in the summer of 2018, but her struggles with addiction have been going on since 2007. Lovato’s birth father was an addict and an alcoholic, but her mother tried to keep her away from it. Unfortunately, Lovato was introduced to drugs at 17 when she started working as an actress. She attended several rehab facilities over the years where she was diagnosed with several mental health illnesses. Lovato tried everything from sober companions to programs, and was able to stay sober for six years until her overdoes in 2018. Within a year and a half of her life-threatening overdose, Lovato was back in the public spotlight performing at the Grammys. Lovato hopes that telling her story about her up and down struggles will help other fans that are struggling with substance abuse as well.
Ben Affleck is an Oscar-winning writer, director and actor, but he also fell into a bad drinking problem at an adult age. In an interview with “The New York Times”, Affleck says he drank socially for the majority of his life, but in 2015 and 2016 he started drinking more often due to relationship issues with his then wife, Jennifer Garner. He said he drinking only created more marital problems and they were divorced in 2018. Affleck said that the divorce was the “biggest regret” of his life. Affleck was in rehab three times, but now says his sobriety is a “life-time commitment” and that he will never be completely out of treatment. He wants to keep fighting for himself and his family.
Actress Drew Barrymore was exposed to drugs and drinking as a young child by her mother after her parents got divorced. Barrymore was going to nightclubs several times a week and referred to herself as a “party girl”. At the age of 13, her addiction sent her to a mental institution where she was left alone for over a year and a half; her mother only visiting “occasionally”. After being institutionalized, Barrymore emancipated from her parents and moved into a flat by herself. Now, Barrymore is using her past as a motivator to be a better mother to her own kids. She said in an interview, “I knew I could not repeat the mistakes of my parents. I knew I would never do that to a kid.” Barrymore continued staying she chose only to have children when she felt completely mentally stable and sober.
Robert Downey, Jr.
Iron Man Robert Downey Jr. started struggling with drug addiction at a young age. His father also struggled with substance abuse and introduced him to drugs. Once he hit it big in Hollywood, Downey’s addiction only got worse. He was famously reported in tabloids for his reckless behavior as a result of his drug abuse for several decades. By 1999 he has escaped from rehab twice and was sentenced to 36 months in jail. This period was a “rock bottom” moment for Downey, because his wife left him with their two sons. After two more arrests, Downey finally checked himself into rehab and got clean for good. He told “Vanity Fair” about his addiction, “Job one is to get out of that cave. A lot of people do get out but don’t change.”
Humanitarian and actress Angelina Jolie is no stranger to addiction. She’s shared relatively little about this dark time in her life, but is quoted saying she has “known addiction in all forms”. On her rise to fame, Jolie said she tried just about any drug possible due to her deep rooted issues with depression. She also struggled with self-harm and other destructive behaviors starting in her teen years. Jolie believes she’s lucky to be alive today, recognizing that many “other artists and people don’t survive these things”. When Jolie was filmed for the blockbuster “Tomb Raider”, she was subject to daily drug tests in order to keep her role. During the time, her use had become a tabloid frenzy. Jolie was able to stay sober and said “by overcoming difficulties, we gain strength and maturity”.
Chrissy Teigen, wife of John Legend, is known for her upbeat personality and unfiltered commentary. Her fans look at her adoringly like she has a perfect life, but Teigen has struggled with alcohol abuse. In an interview with “Cosmopolitan”, Teigen shared that alcohol addiction runs in her family and that no one can “just have one drink”. She said she found herself drinking heavily at awards shows and embarrassing herself in front of people she highly respected. Teigen says it also made her struggles with anxiety and postpartum depression worse and couldn’t heal while drinking. Teigen originally thought it was “nutty to have to go totally sober” but now understands it’s important to fixing herself and being her best.
Keith Urban is one of country’s most well-known artists, but beneath his silky voice is scars from past addiction battles. In an interview with “Rolling Stone”, Keith Urban discussed how he started using drugs during the beginning of his career and things were not panning out like he had hoped. This was only amplified by a poor self-esteem and heavy drinking. Urban reflected back on that time in his life and said the “90s were just awful”. Urban faced an intervention from friends and family in 2006 that he says saved his life. He went to his third rehab in eight years and has been sober since. Urban credits his wife for helping him break the “shackles of addiction” and “spiritually awaken” him.
Addiction can invade anyone’s life. Even top Hollywood celebrities aren’t immune to suffering from the disease. However, with perseverance and strength anyone can overcome their addiction. These celebrities are inspiration and proof.
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