For as long as Hollywood has existed, drug and alcohol problems have seemed to plague its population.
And for almost as long, those struggling from addiction have kept to the shadows, left to suffer in silence, cloaked unfairly in shame. But as the nation as a whole continues to be rocked by an opioid crisis that seems never-ending, and as events like Demi Lovato‘s nearly-fatal July overdose and Mac Miller‘s actually fatal OD in September continue to leave us gutted, the shame is slipping away, replaced by a clearly vital need to share one’s story.
Whether it’s to help prevent yet another tragedy in their community or to put a face to a disease that still carries an unfair stigma or to simply just release a bit of their own darkness to let the light in, these stars have spent 2018 getting very real about their struggles with addiction.
Celebrities Who Got Real About Their Addictions
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In late October, while accepting the Woman of the Year Award by the Peggy Albrecht Friendly House, a residential program for women recovering from substance and alcohol abuse, Moore spoke about the “self-destructive path” that nearly derailed her career.
“I feel like there’s a defining moments in our lives that shape who we are and the direction we go and early in my career, I was spiraling down a path of real self-destruction and no matter what successes I had, I just never felt good enough,” the star recalled. “I had absolutely no value for myself and this self-destructive path, it very quickly brought me to a real crisis point and it wasn’t clear at the time the reason. Maybe it was divine intervention.”
Moore, who sought treatment in 2012, thanks two unnamed people whom she “barely knew” who, as she joked, delivered her something of an ultimatum. “Unless I was dead, I better show up,” she quipped, adding that she was given “a chance to redirect the course of my life before I destroyed everything.”
“Clearly they saw more of me than I saw of myself,” Moore noted. “And I’m so grateful because without that opportunity, without their believing me, I wouldn’t be standing here today.”
Courtesy of Universal Studios Hollywood
Jamie Lee Curtis
Ahead of the release of this year’s Halloween sequel, 40 years after the original made movie history with its debut, the film’s star got very candid about her stealthy 10-year addiction to opiates that began in the late ’80s after a minor plastic surgery “for my hereditary puffy eyes” resulted in a prescription that changed her life. “I had a 10-year run, stealing, conniving,” she told People in late October. “No one knew. No one.”
When her sister Kelly visited her in the summer of 1998 and brought along prescribed painkillers for a rib injury, Curtis hit her rock bottom. “I knew she had them in her suitcase in our guest room closet,” she told the publication, crying at the memory. “I basically took all her opiates. When she was leaving I knew she would pack her suitcase and find her pills missing. I knew I had to acknowledge to her what I had done, and so I wrote her a note and left it on her suitcase. I came home that day, and she put her arms around me and told me she loved me and she was concerned about me and she was unwilling to watch me kill myself.”
She attended her first meeting on Feb. 3, 1999, the same day she revealed her struggle to her husband, filmmaker Christopher Guest. “He was incredulous that he’d never noticed,” Curtis said. She’s been sober ever since.
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In early October, after an incident in Newport Beach where the Olympic swimmer tried to kick in his own hotel room door at around 3 a.m. in the morning, Lochte made the decision to seek treatment. “Ryan has been battling from alcohol addiction for many years and unfortunately it has become a destructive pattern for him,” his rep told E! News in a statement. “He has acknowledged that he needs professional assistance to overcome his problem and will be getting help immediately.”
“Ryan knows that conquering this disease now is a must for him to avoid making future poor decisions, to be the best husband and father he can be, and if he wants to achieve his goal to return to dominance in the pool in his 5th Olympics in Tokyo in 2020,” the statement concluded.
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The Cheers vet has been vocal about her cocaine addiction in the past, but during her run on the UK’s popular Celebrity Big Brother this summer, she finally revealed the turning point in her addiction. “I had my niece and nephew when they were young and they were over at my house, and I went upstairs and I was snorting coke,” she told her housemates. “Then I came down and I was taking care of them, and I thought, ‘My God’. I’m up there snorting coke and coming down and taking care of these babies. This is horrible.'”
“I called my sister and I lied and said, ‘I don’t feel good, can you come and get the kids?’ And she did,” she added. “I had stepped over the line.” From that day on, she never touched the drug again and “never wanted to, which is good.”
Jada Pinkett Smith
On her Facebook Watch show “Red Table Talk,” the Girls Trip actress has not shied away from any topic that might be deemed a sensitive area by most. And in one July episode this summer, she recalled battling her addictions to sex and alcohol. “My sort of addictions jump. They jump around. When I was younger, I definitely think I had a sex addiction of some kind, yes, that everything could be fixed by sex,” she said, before sharing about the time she realized she’d developed a troubling drinking problem.
“I remember reaching a rock bottom that time I was in the house by myself and I had those two bottles of wine and was going for the third bottle,” she said. “And I was like, ‘Now hold up. You’re in the this house by yourself going onto your third bottle of wine? You might have a problem.'”
“So I went cold turkey. That’s the thing about me: I can go cold turkey. I am a binger, and I always have to watch myself and I can just get obsessed with things,” she continued. “It’s not what you’re doing but how you’re with it. Why you’re doing it. It’s the behavior that’s attached to it because if you want to have a lot of sex, that’s great, but why are you having all that sex? That’s what you’ve got to look at.”
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After the sudden death of Mac Miller, the rapper and actor born Shad Moss, took to Twitter in September to let his fans know that he’d once struggled with a cough syrup addiction. “To the youth- Stop with these dumb ass drugs,” he began his series of tweets. “Im going to let something out. When me and Omarionworked on FACE OFF album. I was high off lean everyday! When yall saw me on BET going off on Torae i was high off lean. My attitude everything changed. My fans started to…Turn on me my family too. I never promoted lean in my songs. The whole time i was on the UCP tour with Chris [Brown] I WAS SIPPING 4’s atleast 7 times a day. I was addicted until our show in Cincinnati.. i came off stg and passed out woke up in the hospital i was having withdraws.”
“I never felt a pain like that ever,” Bow Wow continued. “It was summer but i was walking round with 3 hoodies on because i was so cold. I missed the chicago show of that tour baltimore show BECAUSE I WAS F–KING HIGH AND SICK!!!! that s–t is not cool and i was doing it to be cool! Kick that s–t! Be a good son or daughter. Be the best you. Ima start being more vocal. We gotta save the youth from going out early. Parents watch your kids. Explain to them. We want yall to live man. I almost died f–king with syrup.”
“To this day im affected my stomach will…Never be the same and it hasnt been. DRUG FREE IS THE WAY TO BE! smarten up tighten up out here,” he told his fans. “We cant lose no more of you. Not one! I love all yall. The young artist all the kids around the world.. dont follow a trend. Break the cycle. PEACE.”
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With the dual releases of No Shame, her fourth studio album, and My Thoughts Exactly, her new memoir, the songstress has spent much of 2018 getting brutally honest about the period of time in 2014 when she was touring with Miley Cyrus in support of her third album, Sheezus. A low point in her crumbling marriage while suffering postpartum depression, she was abusing cocaine and diet pills and drinking to the point of being “parisitically drunk” that Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin staged an intervention after she accidentally headbutted Orlando Bloom at Kate Hudson‘s Halloween party and knocked herself out.
“Nothing seemed to reach or satisfy me. I remember waking up one morning in those dark days thinking, ‘Maybe it’s time for heroin, because nothing else is working,'” she told The Guardian.
BAHE / BACKGRID
During his incendiary May interview on TMZ Live, the rapper revealed that his 2016 hospitalization happened while in the throes of an addiction to opioids. “Everyone listen to this, please. Two days before I was in the hospital, I was on opioids. I was addicted to opioids. I had plastic surgery because I was trying to look good for y’all. I got liposuction because I didn’t want y’all to call me fat like you called Rob [Kardashian] at the wedding and made him fly home before me and Kim got married,” he said. “I didn’t want y’all to call me fat, so I got liposuction, right? And they gave me opioids, right? And I started taking two of them and driving to work on the opioids, right?
“There was talks amongst my camp like, ‘Ye’s popping pills.’ So when he handed it to me, he said, ‘You know used to killed genius, right?’ So I didn’t take it,” he continued. “Two days later, I’m in the hospital. I was taking two pills a day at that time. When I left the hospital, how many pills you think I was given? Seven. I went from taking two pills to taking seven. So the reason why I dropped those tweets and everything ’cause I was drugged the f–k out, bro.”
In July, the talk show host sat down with Entertainment Tonight to talk about her struggles with cocaine addiction during her days on the radio. “I was a functioning addict though,” she told the outlet. “I would report to work on time and I walked in and all of my coworkers, and including my bosses, would know but instead of firing me, you see, I would grab my headphones and arrogantly walk into the studio and dare them fire me because I was making ratings.
“[A] functioning addict has several alarm clocks, you’re organized,” she continued. “It’s a miracle I was able to stop.”
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While the young singer has always been very open about her battles with drug and alcohol addictions, even celebrating six years of sobriety in March, she stunned fans in June with the release of the confessional single “Sober,” which revealed that she wasn’t.
“Mama, I’m so sorry I’m not sober anymore / And Daddy please forgive me for the drinks spilled on the floor / To the ones who never left me / We’ve been down this road before I’m so sorry, I’m not sober anymore,” she sang.
Exactly a month later, she was hospitalized for a near-fatal overdose after what sources described as a long night of partying. “I have always been transparent about my journey with addiction,” she wrote on Instagram two weeks later. “What I’ve learned is that this illness is not something that disappears or fades with time. It is something I must continue to overcome and have not done yet…I now need time to heal and focus on my sobriety and road to recovery. The love you have all shown me will never be forgotten and I look forward to the day where I can say I came out on the other side. I will keep fighting.”
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In July, the Mission: Impossible actor opened up about his struggles with alcoholism, which began in earnest in 2005 when he self-medicated his depression with a drink. “When I watch [2006’s Mission: Impossible III] back, I can see where I was then, which was fairly lost, and unhappy, and an alcoholic,” he told The Guardian of his “crisis years,” however unaware of them his fans may have been. “Because I hid it,” he added. “I’m an actor, so I acted … all the fucking time.”
“One thing [addiction] does is make you clever at not giving anything away. People think junkies and alcoholics are slovenly, unmotivated people. They’re not – they are incredibly organised. They can nip out for a quick shot of whisky and you wouldn’t know they have gone. It’s as if … you are micro-managed by it,” he added. “But eventually the signs are too obvious. You have taken the dog for one too many walks.”
He had hoped the birth of his daughter Matilda in 2009 would help him snap out of it. “It was the most cosmic experience of my life,” Pegg said. “I thought it would fix things and it just didn’t. Because it can’t. Nothing can, other than a dedicated approach, whether that’s therapy or medication, or whatever.”
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The best-selling country star has been sober for seven years now, but it was a hard-fought road getting there, as he revealed to People this May. His addiction to booze and pain pills began soon after graduating from high school and didn’t abate when his career began to take off. He kept a black leather laptop bag filled with bottles of Jagermeister or vodka “at arm’s reach at all times,” he told the publication, adding that throughout the day, “every hour and a half to two hours it’d be time to get two or three good pulls on the bottle. And every three or four hours it’s time for a pill or two.” And it had no effect on his success.
“It wasn’t like I was stumbling around all day,” he admitted. “I was fully functioning — I wrote more songs then than I do now. That was the scary part.”
In late 2011, he was hospitalized with pancreatitis and told that if he didn’t stop drinking, he wouldn’t see his next birthday. “I still put it off and was trying to slow down on my own, like, ‘All right I’m only gonna let myself take two pills today. I’m only gonna drink this much of my bottle and make a mark on the bottle.’ And it would work a couple days — and then somebody throws a party,” he said.
But by December, he was ready to seek help and hold his manager as much. He entered rehab and took his last drink on December 18. “I got to the point where I knew it was something I couldn’t do on my own,” Brantley said. “Pissed me off to no end and embarrassed me. I’m a pretty strong-willed person but that was the one thing in my life that I couldn’t get to stick.”
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The Parent Trap actor famously battled a cocaine addiction throughout the ’80s that brought him to rehab in 1990. As he explained on Megyn Kelly TODAY this past July, he grew up in the ’60s and ’70s when “there was a completely different attitude” towards the drug.
“It was even in some movie budgets. I was basically doing cocaine pretty much on a daily basis during the ’80s,” he admitted. “I spent many, many a night screaming at God to ‘Please take this away from me and I’ll never do it again, cause I’ve only got an hour before I have to be at work.’ Then at 4 o’clock in the afternoon I’d go, ‘Oh it’s not so bad.’
“I had what I call a white light experience where I saw myself either dead or losing everything that meant anything to me,” he continued. He had to sit down fiancee Meg Ryan and explain what was going on. Then, he sought help. “That was the end of the love affair with me and cocaine.”
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