Substance abuse is a serious problem everywhere, and celebrities aren’t immune to falling into its traps. But luckily, many have been able to regain control over their lives and achieve sobriety. Sobriety, though, can be tricky to maintain. You can be sober for years then suddenly fall back into the depths of drug addiction. And celebs are totally honest about this! Plenty have come forward to talk about their attempts to achieve sobriety and just how hard it can be to stay in that good place.
Over the years, we’ve seen far too many celebs who passed on way too soon after a battle with drug addiction. And we’ve seen some truly, truly turn their lives around. But they were honest with themselves and us through their entire journey, which is not easy to do but can change the lives of so many people. At the end of the day celebrities are people just like us, and they struggle like anyone else. Thankfully, they have a platform where they can share their stories and maybe help a few people like them along the way.
17. Matthew Perry
Matthew Perry was always hilarious on the TV show Friends, but throughout many of the years on that show, he was addicted to alcohol and Vicodin. It was so bad that he said once that he doesn’t really remember filming seasons three through six due to his addictions – how scary is that? He was finally able to get sober once, as he recalls, something clicked within in him. Now he’s dedicated to helping other addicts achieve sobriety. He opened up a men’s sober living facility called Perry House to help others like him get back on their feet. He’s also been a vocal advocate for non-violent drug offenders getting help as opposed to getting sentences in jail. He’s truly used his struggles to help others with theirs! Sadly, reports surfaced in late 2017 that he had fallen back into ways, but if the rumors are true, then relapse is part of recovery, and hopefully, he can get the help he needs once again.
The pop songstress has a truly dark past with drugs and alcohol. The self-professed “pill-popper” and alcoholic turned to substances to deal with her discomfort with fame and her bipolar disorder. Then her boyfriend died in a car accident, and things took a frightening turn. Sia planned to kill herself in 2010, even going so far as to write the note. But a well-timed call from a friend saved her life and prompted her to check into a 12-step program. She took a break from the spotlight for a few years and focused on her sobriety. When she burst back onto the scene in 2014 with the hit song “Chandelier,” by then, luckily, she could handle the fame. It’s part of the reason she wears her signature wigs and stays so secretive! All as a strategy for her to maintain her life outside of fame, and maintain her sobriety.
15. Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin has been sober for many years now, but there was a time in his 20s when he was a daily drug user and alcoholic. He got sober just before he turned 27 and can recall the exact date he stopped drinking: February 23rd, 1985. The star opened up for the first time in years about his sobriety in his 2017 memoir, and detailed the overdose that made him want to be sober. He’s been sober ever since and has gone on to have a fruitful career!
14. Russell Brand
Russell Brand is no stranger to making people laugh, but his history with alcohol and heroin is no laughing matter. The funnyman has been sober for over a decade now, but for a time he was addicted to substances as well as sex, food, and pornography. He’s credited meditation with helping relieve him of his addictions, as well as various 12-step programs throughout the years. Brand doesn’t think he’s cured, though, and is open to the fact that he’s still in recovery and always will be. Brand brought his insight to addiction to a book in 2017 entitled Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions in which he gives his own unique spin on the 12-steps programs he frequented. The comedian wants to make talking about addiction easier with humor, helping others realize it’s not so scary to be open!
13. Zac Efron
This High School Musical star rose to fame as a teen heartthrob Zac Efron soon transformed into one of the hottest leading men in Hollywood. But privately, growing up in the spotlight had adverse effects on the star. He was partying hard, drinking more than he should have and trying just about every drug offered to him. In 2013 he entered rehab, a shock to his fans, and has been in Alcoholics Anonymous ever since. While his struggles were private pre-rehab, he’s been plenty open about his sobriety ever since. One thing he credits with helping him stay sober? Daily workouts. And, we’re not gonna lie, we’re plenty grateful he has that outlet too!
12. Rob Lowe
Rob Lowe is not only honest about his sobriety but credits his journey with alcoholism for giving him everything in life he has now. He’s been sober from alcohol for over two decades now and has said that being an alcoholic, and recovering, has been a “gift.” Lowe first started drinking at a young age as a teen star in Hollywood. His drinking started early but thanks to his wife, he was able to recognize his problem and enter rehab swiftly. Years later, he has a thriving career and regularly gets real about his sobriety with fans.
11. Bradley Cooper
Bradley Cooper has one of the biggest careers in the world, but it would never have been possible if he hadn’t gotten sober at 29. The celeb battled alcohol and painkiller addiction throughout his 20s and has been very public about how his decision to get sober changed the entire trajectory of his life. Without his sobriety, he would never have the career success he’s had or, more importantly, been able to take care of his father when he fell ill. Since getting sober more than a decade ago, he’s not only been able to get a handle on his personal demons, but he’s been able to take on Hollywood, too. All of those Oscar noms are a direct credit to his sobriety!
Rapper Macklemore has been upfront and honest about achieving sobriety — and struggling to stay there. He began battling his addiction with drugs and alcohol at 15 and eventually was hospitalized and went to rehab for his issues in 2008. When he achieved massive success with 2012’s “Thrift Shop,” maintaining his sobriety became extra difficult. In a magazine interview, he revealed that he relapsed in 2013 when all of his massive success caught up to him. He has actively sought recovery since then and is still working each day at his sobriety. His song “Starting Over,” lays it all out. He starts with “Those three-plus years, I was so proud of / Then I threw them all away for two Styrofoam cups / The irony, everyone will think that ‘he lied to me’ / Made my sobriety so public, there’s no f*cking privacy,” and it only gets more intense from there. Anyone who knows the struggle of relapse can relate, and it’s brave AF for him to be open about it.
9. Travis Barker
As the drummer for a wildly successful rock band, Travis Barker had plenty of access to hard drugs and alcohol, and he took them plentifully. The Blink-182 musician was addicted to Oxycodone and recalls taking it to help ease the feeling of being away from his kids for months on end while on tour. It wasn’t until a 2008 plane crash that almost took his life that he finally saw sobriety as an option. When he got home from the hospital, he refused to take the pain medication and spent time in the house recovering and getting his mind right. After almost dying, he saw living as a much more appealing option and decided to completely transform his life. He’s been sober ever since and has even written a book detailing his struggles called Can I Say.
8. Dax Shepard
Dax Shepard was a jack-of-all-trades when it came to drug use — he said he chose to inhale anything and everything. In an interview, Shepard said, “I just loved to get f*cked-up — drinking, cocaine, opiates, marijuana, diet pills, pain pills, everything.” The actor got sober in 2004, and his life has only improved since. In 2007, he met Kristen Bell, and the two are now married with two children. H Shepard’s lifestyle turnaround proved there is a beautiful life on the other side, but he told Playboy that Kristen wasn’t sure they’d get to this point early on in their relationship. “All the things I’d done were terrifying to her, and she had a hard time believing I would ever be able to stay married and monogamous and a father and all those things,” he revealed. “For the first year and a half, we were together that was what we battled over almost weekly.”
Eminem has been exceedingly open about his struggle with pills. He was dangerously addicted to pills of all sorts in the early aughts, seeking rehab in 2005. It didn’t stick, though, and a death of a friend sent him spiraling again. After a near-fatal overdose in 2007, the rapper entered rehab for a second time to try and end his habit for good. He credits his daughters with keeping him sober all these years, plus a newfound love of exercise!
While he’s been open in interviews about his addiction, it’s in the lyrics to his songs where he gets really personal. His albums Relapse and Recovery detail his struggles taking pills, trying to get off pills, falling back into the trap of pills, and finally getting clean. These days he’s committed to his children, his work, and his sobriety.
6. Edie Falco
Edie Falco has had a complicated time fusing her sobriety with Hollywood demands. The actress has been sober from alcohol for over two decades now, and it’s been a blessing and a curse. One of her most prominent roles has been the lead role on Nurse Jackie, a show that tells the story of – you guessed it – an addict. Playing that role has been completely informed by her past experiences, which gives it an authenticity but could be quite triggering. She has to toe the line between being sober in real life and playing an addict onscreen. She told NPR, “I had never anticipated also to not be going through my days drinking. Of living a life without any kind of crutch. It’s a lot of really good stuff. And I dreamt small. So it’s all big. And continues to be.”
5. Daniel Radcliffe
It may be shocking to learn that while shooting the Harry Potter movies, things weren’t so magical for Daniel Radcliffe behind the scenes. The actor struggled with alcohol dependency, often getting black-out drunk and forgetting whole nights. He stopped drinking after the final Harry Potter film was shot, saying that he’s one of those people that alcohol changes. Radcliffe had a few relapses over the years but has found his own methods for not drinking include reading and exercise. It took recognizing early on that he had a problem and being proactive about it to not tarnish the amazing things Harry Potter has done for his career!
4. Jamie Lee Curtis
Jamie Lee Curtis has always been open about her alcohol and drug addiction and has been sober for two decades now. But that doesn’t mean her journey with addiction is over. She works hard at her sobriety and notes that being in recovery is all about “service to others.” Her former dependency on opioids has led her to be a vocal advocate for those suffering from opiate addiction and had said that recovery from drugs and alcohol is the single greatest accomplishment of her life. The fact that she uses her sobriety to help others accomplish that same thing is inspiring.
3. Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck has struggled openly with alcoholism for pretty much his entire adult life and it’s meant experiencing relapse in the public eye as well. In 2001, at the height of Hollywood partying days, the star went to rehab for 30 days to get his issues with alcohol under control before they got too intense. His marriage to Jennifer Garner helped him maintain his sobriety and stay on pace for a while, but their split reportedly led Affleck to struggle again, and he was seen with a sober coach before heading back to rehab in early 2017. He completed treatment again in order to get his vices under control and be a better father to his children. He posted to Facebook, saying, he “completed treatment for alcohol addiction,” adding it’s “something I’ve dealt with in the past and will continue to confront.” It’s a process, and he’s made sure everyone knows that.
2. Robert Downey Jr.
Before Robert Downey Jr was Iron Man, Downey was very publicly battling his own personal villains. In the ’90s and into the early ’00s, Downey struggled with the spotlight and coped using drugs and alcohol. The star was in and out of rehabs and jail, suffering with legal problems and relationship turmoil during this time as his sobriety never seemed to stick. At some points, he couldn’t even land a job because he was seen as an unreliable liability to many people in power in Hollywood. So when he lost just about everything, he decided that he needed to get sober. With the help of his wife, he was able to get back on his feet and he eventually made a new name for himself in Tinseltown. Of course, the rest is movie history – he joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is beloved by fans everywhere yet again! Everyone loves a good comeback story, and RDJ’s is one that gives hope to many going through similar struggles.
1. Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato may be the most open star in Hollywood when it comes to her long history with substance abuse, sobriety, and relapse. Through multiple documentaries, songs, and honest interviews, Lovato has constantly shared her truth. She has admitted to using many drugs – including cocaine and Xanax – during her rise from child star to adult pop songstress, even saying during her Disney days she was drinking vodka first thing in the morning. She’s even admitted that during her time preaching sobriety in 2012; she was still using drugs! The girl has been unflinchingly honest with her fans about all things related to her sobriety. Despite being steadily sober for four years, even the best of us have relapses, and Demi revealed she wasn’t sober anymore in mid-2018 via a song named “Sober.” In the song, she sings,
“Mama, I’m so sorry I’m not sober anymore / And daddy please forgive me for the drinks spilled on the floor / And I’m sorry for the fans I lost who watched me fall again / I wanna be a role model, but I’m only human.”
We don’t know what the future holds for the star but we know she’ll be honest and open with fans the entire way!