30 Famous People Alive Today Who Have Battled Addiction
| Staff Writers
It seems that a new celebrity entering rehab for drug and alcohol addiction is a weekly headline these days. Even celebrities succumbing to their addictions and dying is — though certainly sad — less of a shock than it should be. Fortunately, there have been a number of famous people who have overcome their battles with addiction and not only lived to tell about it, but have continued to find success and happiness in their chosen industries. Below are 30 famous people alive today who have done exactly that.
Shortly after announcing that he and wife Jennifer Garner were getting a divorce, Ben Affleck dropped another major bomb: he had just come out of rehab. The Academy Award-winning actor and director sought treatment for an alcohol addiction, just as he did way back in 2001. Though it has only been a few months since Affleck’s second rehab stint, he looks to be moving on from both his relationship and addiction in a healthy way.
It’s hard to imagine that the happy-go-lucky, Hollywood powerhouse, and mother of two that is Drew Barrymore is the same child star who was forced to enter rehab at the tender age of 13. Thanks to films like ET, Barrymore was a massive star by age 7. Unfortunately, this led to taking part in the LA party scene by age 11, and the aforementioned rehab stint by middle school.
Jamie Lee Curtis
Like so many who have grown up in and around Hollywood — her parents were film stars Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis — actress Jamie Lee Curtis turned to drugs in order to find some sense of normalcy and control. In Curtis’ case, she was addicted to pain medications, even going so far as to steal them from relatives. These days, Curtis no longer battles her addiction. She is a mother herself, has continued acting, and has even published children’s books.
Johnny Depp has enjoyed a renaissance of sorts in recent years thanks to his roles in such big franchises as Pirates of the Caribbean and Tim Burton’s new Alice in Wonderland films. In the world of Hollywood, where a renaissance isn’t always possible, Depp’s particular comeback is especially impressive. During the 1990s, the actor was perhaps more famous for his partying. He and former girlfriend Kate Moss would spend days at a time immersed in the party scenes of L.A. and NYC, usually high on cocaine. Depp was even co-owner of the Viper Room, the notoriously drug-filled night club at which River Phoenix fatally overdosed.
Robert Downey, Jr.
Today, Iron Man star Robert Downey, Jr. is the highest paid actor in Hollywood, but things haven’t always been easy for him. It wasn’t too long ago that he was addicted to alcohol, cocaine, and heroin. At one especially low moment, he was even arrested after racing his car down Sunset Boulevard while intoxicated. Fortunately for superhero fans everywhere, Downey Jr. was able to vanquish his bad habits and resurrect his acting career.
At only 27-years old, actress Kirsten Dunst found herself in rehab at one of the most famous drug rehabilitation centers in Los Angeles. Despite Dunst’s claims that she had entered for help with depression, the actress had long been said to struggle with alcohol and substance abuse, and had even been caught shortly before with drugs in her possession. Luckily, Dunst has managed to turn her health around and has recently appeared in a number of movies.
Zac Efron is yet another former Disney star who experienced the effects of drug addiction before becoming an adult. In 2013, Efron was arrested for getting into a fight at a seedy LA bar, then sent to rehab twice for cocaine addiction. Fortunately, Efron was able to kick his drug habit and has since headlined a number of films.
They say art often imitates life, but for actress Edie Falco, that statement is especially true. One of Falco’s best known roles is the titular role in the hit television show “Nurse Jackie,” in which a nurse is addicted to painkillers. Ironically, Falco has also struggled with addiction and used her own experiences to inspire her award-winning performance.
These days, Fergie is a successful musician, television personality, wife, and mother, but that wasn’t always the case. According to Fergie herself during an interview with Oprah, the Black Eyed Peas star used crystal meth every single day throughout the early 2000s until she finally went to rehab to deal with her addiction.
Megan Fox shot to fame after starring in the first Transformers film. Since then, she’s dabbled in a few other roles, like that of April in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and become mother to three young sons. Of course, things haven’t always gone so well for Fox. Somewhere between Transformers and motherhood, Fox began dabbling in ecstasy, heroin, and cocaine, though today she is quick to assure that while she knows a number of people who continue to take drugs, she is not one of them.
Michael J. Fox
Beloved actor Michael J. Fox has had his fair share of health trouble. In the early 1990s, Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, a devastating diagnosis that caused the film and television star to turn to alcohol as a form of escape. Nearly three decades later, Fox credits his family and friends for helping him overcome his battle.
Samuel L. Jackson
Longtime Hollywood star Samuel L. Jackson has been very vocal about his issues with drug abuse. At one recent movie premiere, Jackson described the way he was saved by his wife and daughter: “[They] put my ass in rehab the next day, and supported me, and pushed me, and gave me a reason to get up and go and chase it day after day.” Fortunately, Jackson was able to recover from being “a f**king drug addict” and has been sober since 1991.
Sir Elton John
Elton John may have overcome his battles with drug and alcohol addiction nearly three decades ago, but the legendary musician is the first to admit that the battle never really ends for an addict. As he revealed to USA Today, “If I ever find myself in a situation where there are drugs, I can smell the cocaine. I can feel it in the back of my throat, that horrible feeling of taking the first hit of cocaine. And I leave.”
Character actress Kristen Johnston is perhaps best known for her hilarious portrayal of the alien Sally in the television hit 3rd Rock From the Sun. But as Johnston later revealed in her 2013 memoir entitled “Guts,” her days as Sally were anything but hilarious personally. In her 2013 memoir, “Guts,” Johnston admits to being severely depressed even while winning an Emmy for her role, and describes the various addictions she battled in an attempt to feel better.
Angelina Jolie has never been quiet about her struggles with addiction. As a teenager and young adult, Jolie took “every drug possible,” and was especially fond of heroin, LSD, and cocaine. Jolie credits the adoption of her first child, son Maddox, with helping her to escape her past, and today Jolie is the mother of six children and is actively involved in a number of humanitarian efforts.
Lady Gaga shot to fame thanks to her unique musical sound and perhaps even more unique image, but even this megastar admits to having experienced battles with addiction. Indeed, Lady Gaga has not been shy about about her addiction to marijuana. As she revealed on the popular Elvis Duran radio program, “I was addicted to [marijuana]. Although I think it’s the best drug to choose from when you’re playing around and experimenting, I just want young kids to know that you actually can become addicted to it, and it’s ultimately a form of self-medication. I was smoking 15 to 20 marijuana cigarettes a day with no tobacco.”
Unfortunately, singer and actress Demi Lovato went the way of so many former child stars before her when she became addicted to cocaine. In fact, Lovato’s addiction was so intense that she once described having to smuggle cocaine onto airplanes because she was unable to go more than half an hour without it. Lovato has been upfront and honest with her fans regarding her addiction, and since a stint in rehab has seemed much healthier.
Jane Lynch’s memoir entitled “Happy Accidents” is chock-full of details about the hilarious actress’s past battles with addiction. Specifically, Lynch was once addicted to both alcohol and cough syrup, though fortunately she has was sober nearly 20 years before skyrocketing to fame thanks to TV’s “Glee.”
Regarding his past life of partying, drugs, and alcohol, Tim McGraw has stated, “I partied too much. And did other things too much. Chemically. No needles or that kind of stuff, but…use your imagination.” Fortunately, McGraw has cleaned up his act and replaced drug and alcohol use with working out. The country music star credits his wife and family with making him realize he had gone too far.
It’s not easy being a child star, especially one as famous as Mary-Kate Olsen who, alongside her twin sister Ashley, shot to fame as Michelle Tanner on the hit TV show “Full House.” Despite running a mega-empire of films, a television show, a clothing line, books, and just about anything and everything else one could think of, Mary-Kate made headlines at age 18 when she entered rehab to seek help for anorexia and an addiction to cocaine.
Kelly Osbourne has no qualms about admitting to her experiences with addiction. As she told British Cosmopolitan in 2013, “I’ve been to rehab seven times and to two mental institutions.” Though Osbourne has created quite a niche for herself as a red carpet analyst for the E! Network, we certainly hope the daughter of Ozzy can find a way to finally be fully healthy and addiction free.
While portraying the hilarious Chandler Bing on the classic television show “Friends,” Matthew Perry kept a dark secret: drug addiction. Perry entered rehab twice during the show’s ten-year run, once in 1997 for a Vicodin addiction, and again in 2001 for Vicodin, amphetamines, methadone, and alcohol. Perry has been very honest about his past drug use, even going so far as to say that his character was often “painfully hung over.”
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He may be the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time, but even Michael Phelps has struggled with addiction. In 2014, Phelps made the difficult decision to break from swimming in order “to attend a program that will provide the help I need to better understand myself.” Though the announcement came after Phelps was caught in possession of drugs, the sporting icon was able to complete the program and return to swimming at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Today it’s practically unheard of to see Pink’s name included in a dramatic headline, but that wasn’t always the case. During the early part of her career in the 1990s, the pop star was hitting the clubs nearly every night and is said to have been addicted to ecstasy and crystal meth. Fortunately, things have changed for Pink and she’s achieved massive success as a healthy and sober musician.
Jada Pinkett-Smith, actress and wife of Will Smith, lives a pretty quiet life compared to so many others in her industry. Despite her preference for privacy, Pinkett-Smith revealed via social media that she had battled many addictions throughout her early adulthood. Says the actress, “I had many addictions, of several kinds, to deal with my life issues.”
Actress Kelly Preston once battled addictions to both drugs and alcohol, but has since stated, “I don’t drink anymore. I don’t smoke anymore. I don’t do drugs anymore. All of those come with an ‘anymore.’ I used to do everything and a lot of everything.” Luckily, Preston was able to overcome her battles with addiction and focus on her acting career and her family, which includes husband John Travolta.
The overnight journey from semi-anonymous celebrity kid (her dad is Lionel) to mega-famous reality star seemed to take its toll on young Nicole Richie. After battles with both drugs and alcohol, and one particularly low point during which she was arrested after driving the wrong direction on the freeway, Richie has recovered and is now thriving. She has two children with her husband, Joel Madden of Good Charlotte fame, has written a best-selling young adult novel, and has her own fashion line called House of Harlow.
There’s a famous photo of Britney Spears, circa 2007, with a shaved head and smashing in the windows of a car with an umbrella. That photo captures just one of many bizarre incidents which surrounded the singer around that time. Shortly after, Spears entered a rehabilitation facility and has since gotten herself healthy enough to resurrect her career.
Chrissy Teigen is certainly having a moment. The supermodel, mother, and wife of musician John Legend seems to be everywhere these days: on commercials, in print ads, in movies, and just about anywhere else you look. This has only been possible thanks to the fact that Teigen was able to overcome her battle with alcohol addiction. As Teigen, whose family has a history of alcohol abuse, told Cosmopolitan, “[I was] point blank, just drinking too much.”
Thanks to his role of judge on American Idol, his chart-topping songs, and his marriage to superstar Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban is one of the best known names in music. So it might be surprising to learn that he has long battled issues with addiction. Throughout the 1990s, Urban was plagued by a cocaine addiction, while more recently in 2006, the singer went through rehab for alcohol addiction.
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