8 Celebrities Who Have Been Open About Their Struggles With Addiction
When celebrities spend so much time in the spotlight, their personal lives often make the news just as frequently as the movies, TV, or music they're working on. Considering they're only human, this also means they deal with very real issues — including struggling with addiction. The only difference is that it's like they're under a microscope, as if every action is up for public scrutiny. Sometimes celebrities are open about their battles with drugs and alcohol, or it's legal mishaps that thrust the subject into the spotlight. Other times, it's a trip to rehab that lands them in headlines.
Demi Lovato is a prime example of a young star who has opened up about battling an addiction and she did so in the hopes of helping others. Back in May 2015, Lovato appeared on The Today Show and said,
I've been very open about my story just because that the more honest and open I am, the more people that I'm gonna be able to reach. I wish that more people could understand from a point where it's not a choice to have an addiction... Finally, I'm in a great place where I can say that recovery is possible.
Here's a round-up of celebrities who have not only fought their addictions, but spoken out about the subject. From Jodie Sweetin to Zac Efron, there may be a wide range of names on this list, but there's still a common theme — all of their honestly and strength is applaudable.
1. Demi Lovato
At age 18, Lovato entered a treatment center. But it wasn't until age 19, when she felt like she hit rock bottom, that she fully accepted help. In an interview with Access Hollywood , the singer recalled,
I was going to the airport and I had a Sprite bottle just filled with vodka and it was just 9 in the morning and I was throwing up in the car and this was just to get on a plane to go back to L.A. to the sober living house that I was staying at… I had all the help in the world, but I didn't want it... When I hit that moment I was like, it's no longer fun when you're doing it alone.
She also admitted to not being able to go more than 30 minutes without cocaine, and sneaking it onto airplanes. She told Access Hollywood, "I would smuggle it basically and just wait until everyone in first class would go to sleep and I would do it right there."
Now, Lovato is an outspoken advocate for mental health and addiction. From opening up about sobriety on Instagram to encouraging others to "replace shame with support, hope, and healing."
2. Lindsay Lohan
In a 2013 sit-down with Oprah Winfrey, Lindsay Lohan admitted that she was an addict. She clarified that she was only addicted to alcohol, but that it had been a gateway to other things, including cocaine use. Speaking of cocaine, she said,
I never felt good the next day... It was a party thing. People would have it, and I'd do it.
She said she never injected the drug and only snorted it. The Mean Girls actor also admitted that she thrived on chaos, saying,
Having all the chaos around me that I was so comfortable with, I somewhere inside knew I wanted to go to jail. And I think that that was subconsciously being put out there just by my actions, or lack thereof.
In 2014, Lohan was still seeing a sober coach and shot down rumors stating otherwise. Currently, Lohan appears to be doing well for herself, if her Instagrams are any indication. She frequently posts smiling selfies, including quotes like "namaste" and "sending light and love."
3. Jodie Sweetin
The Fuller House star got real about her struggle with drugs in her memoir unSweetined. She recalled snorting meth at the premiere of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's 2004 movie New York Minute. In the book, she wrote, "I was pulling off the deceit. It was hard for people to believe I was doing that much drugs. I look at photos from that event, and I didn't even look strung out!"
She's happy to leave the past in the past, telling People in a recent interview that March will mark five years of sobriety. Sweetin said the experience has given her gratitude and there's a reason she's sharing it. She explained,
I speak about my experience growing up in the entertainment business, what my life was like after, some of the struggles and things I went through and where my life is today. It's a story with a message of second chances and turning things around and being able to overcome some adversity.
The Black Eyed Peas singer has a history of drug use, which began with ecstasy and led to crystal meth. Fergie been sober for more than 10 years, but opened up about her addiction in a 2009 interview with The Times of London. Fergie said, "It started with ecstasy. I loved ecstasy. Loved it, loved it. It was great at first, then it just went..." She said that being a childhood star influenced her drug use. (Before her time in Black Eyed Peas, she starred in a series called Kids Incorporated and voiced Sally in two Peanuts cartoons.)
Although she said that her publicists don't like when she talks about her history with drugs, Fergie explained to The Times why she still shared her story. She admitted,
For me, it's something I went through. It's an epidemic, and it's important to talk about it because it's a very, very hard thing to stop.
It's definitely an important subject to speak about, and bravo to her for not hiding it.
5. Zac Efron
In April 2014, High School Musical alum Zac Efron opened up about alcohol addiction when talking to The Hollywood Reporter. Efron said,
I was drinking a lot, way too much [...] It's never one specific thing. I mean, you're in your 20s, single, going through life in Hollywood, you know? Everything is thrown at you. I wouldn't take anything back; I needed to learn everything I did. But it was an interesting journey, to say the least.
Efron attends Alcoholics Anonymous and therapy. He told THR, "I think it's changed my life. I'm much more comfortable in my own skin. Things are so much easier now."
6. Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore began acting at age six, and by the time she was nine, she'd already had her first drink. Three years later, she had already tried cocaine. In a 1989 interview with People, Barrymore opened up about her battle with addiction. At the time, she was just 13. She shared her story with the magazine in her own words, writing,
When I was 10½, I was sitting in a room with a group of young adults who were smoking pot. I wanted to try some, and they said, "Sure. Isn't it cute, a little girl getting stoned?" Eventually that got boring, and my addict mind told me, "Well, if smoking pot is cute, it'll also be cute to get the heavier stuff like cocaine." It was gradual. What I did kept getting worse and worse, and I didn't care what anybody else thought.
She ended the piece with a poignant message. The then-teenager wrote,
I'm not psychic. But for today I can stay sober. I never want to go back to my old ways. I know that. That is my future. One day at a time. I'm Drew, and I'm an addict-alcoholic. I've been sober for three months, two weeks and five days, and I'm really proud of that.
Now Barrymore is 40 years old and thriving in her career more than ever.
7. Matthew Perry
In 2013, the actor best-known as Chandler on Friends opened up about his addiction during an interview with People. Matthew Perry admitted that he routinely abused alcohol back when he was filming the show. Back in 1997, he got into a jet-skiing accident and got hooked on the pills prescribed by the doctor. Perry recalled,
"Here, take this," [the doctor said]. I did and I felt better than I ever felt in my entire life. I had a big problem with pills and alcohol, and I couldn't stop.
He even deemed filming Friends a lonely experience, because of his addiction. He told People, "I was never high at work. I was painfully hung over. Then eventually things got so bad I couldn't hide it and everybody knew."
Now, he's in a much better place. In August 2015, Perry won an award from Phoenix House, a treatment center in California. He told The Hollywood Reporter , "You can't have a drug problem for 30 years and then expect to have it be solved in 28 days... At Phoenix House, I was very moved by the hope that I saw there, which is what this is all about."
8. Nicole Richie
Growing up in the spotlight, Nicole Richie used cocaine and heroin. In a 2007 interview with Good Morning America, Richie explained,
I kind of took matters into my own hands and was creating drama in a very dangerous way. I think I was just bored, and I had seen everything — especially when you're young, you just want more... At 18 I had just been doing a lot of cocaine.
By the time she was 20, Richie entered rehab for heroin. She said in the same interview, "I, again, made the decision for myself, this is something I have to do. I have to get off drugs," she said. "This isn't the life ... this was heroin." In the same interview, she said she hadn't touched cocaine since she was 18 or heroin in four years.
Congrats to these celebrities for getting clean, and it's all the more admirable that they've been so honest about their struggles. As Lovato said, hopefully it helps others realize recovery is possible.