Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore
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Actress Drew Barrymore became famous in the 80s and 90s, launching her career at age six when she starred in the film E.T. Her early fame (and an extremely irresponsible mother) caused her to struggle with substance abuse from an early age. When she was nine years old, she started drinking, and quickly moved onto smoking marijuana and snorting cocaine. Aged just 13, she admitted being an addict and went into rehab. Barrymore spent her teenage years trying to overcome her past and has since enjoyed success in hit movies such as Charlie’s Angels, as well as hosting her eponymous talk show The Drew Barrymore Show.

Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr.
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Robert Downey Jr. has been open about his drug use and addiction, sharing that it started when he was only six years old, due to his father’s influence. He says this period of substance abuse almost ended his career and his life. He spent much of the 1990s in and out of rehab, but by the late 90s his drug use had taken a toll on his health, and he overdosed. He was sent to a treatment facility, escaped, and was arrested for this crime. He was blacklisted by Hollywood for a few years, but he overcame his addiction and was cast in the title role of 2008’s Iron Man. He’s now one of the highest paid actors in the world.

Jamie Lee Curtis

Jamie Lee Curtis
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Jamie Lee Curtis is a tremendously successful actor who broke through with 1978’s Halloween, and went on to build an impressive resume – while battling an opioid addiction. Curtis has said that her recovery from alcohol and drug addiction was one of the greatest accomplishments of her life. Following a cosmetic procedure in the late 80s, Curtis was prescribed prescription painkillers. After a 10-year battle with addiction, Curtis finally became sober in 1999. She credits her recovery to the program she entered and the support of others in similar situations. The actress is now an outspoken advocate for drug misuse awareness and changes in opiate policy.

Matthew Perry

Matthew Perry
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In his role as Chandler Bing in Friends, Matthew Perry was one of TV’s biggest stars from 1994 to 2004. But in real life, Perry had a serious drug problem. The actor says he got addicted to painkillers after he was prescribed Vicodin after a personal watercraft accident. Perry opened up about his addiction for the first time in his memoir – Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing – which was released in November 2022. The movie and sitcom star has sought treatment, and he says helping others is an important part of his own recovery.

Mary-Kate Olsen

Mary-Kate Olsen
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Mary-Kate Olsen is one half of the famed Olsen twins (along with her sister Ashley), and she was allegedly the twin who struggled the most with drug and substance abuse. Another child star who turned to cocaine to cope with her fame, Mary-Kate spent six weeks in rehab aged 17 to overcome both her addiction and an eating disorder. Three years later she suffered from kidney problems, but has since been on a steady road to recovery for both her mental and physical health. Elder sisters of actress Elizabeth Olsen, Mary-Kate and Ashley have since retreated from the public eye to spend their time focusing on their fashion brands.

Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie
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Angelina Jolie is a Hollywood actress who, in addition to acting, directs and produces. She’s known for her beauty, but her life hasn’t always been easy. Jolie has struggled with substance abuse throughout her life; she started using drugs in her teens and has been addicted to heroin and cocaine. Jolie has spoken candidly about her struggles with drugs and alcohol, as well as with suicidal tendencies, during a period when she struggled with depression. Jolie credited adopting her first child, Maddox, as the reason she stopped drinking. She has since devoted her life to humanitarian efforts, completing 40 international UN missions.

Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato
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Demi Lovato is a pop singer and actress who first became famous as a child star on Barney & Friends, followed by lead roles in several Disney productions. Like many other child actors, she developed a cocaine addiction early in her career. She even stated that she smuggled cocaine onto a plane because she could not go more than 30 minutes without a hit. In 2018, Lovato infamously suffered a drug overdose, which led to her kicking the habit. In the years since, she has spoken publicly and candidly on social media and in interviews about her ongoing battle with substance abuse, the events that led to her overdose, and her process of recovery.

Nicole Richie

Nicole Richie
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Due to her role alongside Paris Hilton in the hit reality show The Simple Life, Nicole Richie became one of the first celebrities to be branded a “reality star”. Richie moved in with her adoptive father Lionel Richie when her biological parents admitted they couldn’t afford to provide for their young child. She turned to heroin when public scrutiny of her parents’ divorce became too much to bear. Even before she became an individual star, Richie was arrested on drug charges. Thankfully, Richie kicked her heroin habit and has remained clean since 2003, when she was arrested and charged with possession.

Corey Feldman

Corey Feldman
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From the time Corey Feldman could walk, he was in front of the camera. His career began in commercials and TV shows when he was three years old; by age six, he had already appeared in more than 50 television shows and 100 commercials, before becoming an 80s child superstar with The Goonies and Stand By Me. However, he soon struggled with heroin addiction. He was arrested multiple times for heroin possession in the 1990s, but eventually attended a long-term addiction treatment program and became sober.

Macaulay Culkin

Macaulay Culkin
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Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin struggled with drug and alcohol abuse following the end of his child-star days. In 2004, he was arrested for possession of Xanax. Macaulay, an avid drug user in his early years, has been sober for several years. “I don’t touch the things,” he told Esquire in 2020, “I do love them. They’re like old friends. But sometimes you outgrow your friends.” He became a father in 2021.

Bradley Cooper

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Bradley Cooper has been nominated for nine Oscars, but he admits that he went through some tough times before finding success. After moving to Los Angeles for his role on TV’s Alias in 2001, Cooper turned to substances to cope with his insecurities. Years of drug and alcohol use threatened to ruin his life, but in 2004 at the age of 29, he made the decision to quit using. Now, he is one of Hollywood’s most bankable leading men. He would play an addict in his 2018 directorial debut A Star is Born, which he described as “cathartic.”

Elton John

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The HIV/AIDS crisis inspired Sir Elton John to clean up his life. In 1990, he found himself regretting his past decade of alcohol and cocaine abuse when a friend of his, young activist Ryan White, died from AIDS. Elton John sought treatment for his drug and alcohol addiction and founded the Elton John AIDS Foundation two years later. Now sober for more than three decades, the musical legend says that battling addiction is a lifelong struggle and that he stays vigilant about avoiding substances.

Zac Efron

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Zac Efron is an American actor and singer, who rose to fame in 2006 for his role in High School Musical. His career was launched by Disney’s monolithic marketing machine, and he found it difficult to manage the pressures of fame. Efron turned to drugs such as cocaine and alcohol in order to deal with public life. In 2013 the actor spent time in rehab for addiction. He has spoken candidly about his drug-filled past and said battling addiction is an ongoing struggle. He shared that he joined Alcoholics Anonymous and started seeing a therapist, which changed his life.

Megan Fox

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Megan Fox is an American actress and model whose career took off after her appearance in the first Transformers movie, which was released in 2007. Before that, Fox had tried many illegal drugs such as ecstasy, heroin, and cocaine. However, the actress soon decided that living a sober lifestyle suited her best.

Russell Brand

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Stand-up comedian Russell Brand has been open about his struggles with drugs, especially heroin. He became addicted to the drug aged 19 and struggled to function without it for as long as 15 years. But in 2003, he hit rock bottom when he was found unconscious in his home. Chip Sommers, Brand’s manager at the time, helped him get clean, warning Brand that if he didn’t stop using drugs they would kill him. Following this incident, Brand decided to join a 12-step program. In 2017, he published Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions, a book where he shares what he’s learned during his time in recovery.

Steven Tyler

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Steven Tyler, the lead singer of Aerosmith, was notorious for his addiction to heroin. During the 1970s and 1980s he and Joe Perry, the band’s guitarist, were referred to as the “Toxic Twins” because they used so many drugs. Aerosmith’s album sales were also high during this period, and the group believed that drug use made them work harder and play better. In 1988, Tyler hit rock bottom and ended up at the center of an intervention. He went to rehab and achieved his first stint of sobriety. Tyler relapsed, though, despite numerous attempts over several years. More recently, Tyler struggled not with heroin but with prescription painkillers and sleeping meds, but he has reportedly been clean and sober since 2009.


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Macklemore has built an impressive career, both as a recording artist and as an outspoken supporter of those in recovery. His support stems from his own struggles with substance abuse throughout his teenage years and into his 20s. Macklemore’s journey into addiction started at age 13 or 14 when he raided his parent’s liquor cabinet. In 2008, the rapper went to rehab after battling a severe addiction to painkillers and other prescription opioids. He remained sober for three years before his relapse in 2011, in which he recommitted himself to sobriety soon after. Since then, he has remained sober and become a champion of the recovery movement.

Jane Lynch

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Actress Jane Lynch has battled a few addictions. As a young woman, she drank heavily, consuming copious amounts of beer in binges that would last for days. In 1991, she got sober after she realized that drinking herself into the ground was a real possibility. She then struggled with another, more surprising addiction: over-the-counter cold medicine. Lynch had depression and found that Nyquil syrup helped her “get high” without having to use drugs or alcohol. Eventually Lynch found help for her substance addiction by going to Alcoholics Anonymous, and has been sober for quite some time now.

Mel Gibson

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Gibson won two Oscars for Braveheart in 1995 – best director and best picture – and grossed over $6 billion at the box office for directing films like Braveheart, Hacksaw Ridge, The Passion of the Christ and Apocalypto. However, he struggled with alcoholism for many years, which took its toll personally and professionally, most notoriously his 2006 arrest for driving under the influence, which saw him make a slew of sexist and anti-Semitic remarks. Gibson says he has been sober since, and credits Alcoholics Anonymous with helping him overcome his addiction.

Lindsay Lohan

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Child star and Mean Girls actress Lindsay Lohan battled with addiction from a young age. After starting out drinking alcohol, Lohan started snorting cocaine. Aged 21, she attended Alcoholics Anonymous in Los Angeles. In 2013, Lohan appeared on Oprah Winfrey to talk about her drug addiction and the healing process she had been through. When asked about the influence of her life in the spotlight on her drug use, she admitted that her run-ins with the law and how the press covered those stories contributed to her taking drugs. She also admitted that she never liked the way cocaine made her feel, confirming that she “never felt good the next day.”

Courtney Love

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Rock star Courtney Love first tried drugs when she was sixteen years old. She had experimented with heroin a few times but was addicted to the barbiturate Seconal and cocaine. At a party at actor Charlie Sheen’s house in Malibu, her friend offered her some heroin. Love soon became addicted to the powerful opiate and battled the addiction even during her pregnancy. Love finally overcame her substance abuse problems when she promised director Milos Forman that she would not use drugs while filming The People vs. Larry Flint. She has been clean since 1996 and earned a Golden Globe nomination for her role in the movie.


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When Eminem released his album Recovery in 2010, it detailed the depths of his addiction to prescription drugs. At one point, he was taking so much Vicodin to feel “mellow” that he became addicted to a variety of prescription pills, including Xanax and Valium. He shared that it was his love for his daughter, Hailie Scott Mathers, that helped him kick his addictions and remain sober today.

Gerard Butler

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Gerard Butler had a mega-successful role as King Leonidas of Sparta in 300, but six years after he suffered an injury while filming the surfer movie Chasing Mavericks. He became dependent on painkillers, and in 2012 he checked himself into the Betty Ford Center in California for addiction. There he describes being ripped apart by rehab and realizing how his choices affected his addiction.

Tatum O’Neal

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Tatum O’Neal began her career as a child and became the youngest ever recipient of an Academy Award, picking up Best Supporting Actress Oscar at the age of ten for the film Paper Moon. As a teenager, O’Neal began experimenting with heroin and quickly became addicted. Following her divorce from tennis player John McEnroe, she lost custody of their children due to her drug addiction. After entering into an addiction treatment program at age twenty-seven, O’Neal finally managed to get clean.


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The singer has been sober for over ten years. On September 11, 2018, she tweeted: “Eight years sober today. I love you, keep going. You can do it.” On an episode of TV’s The Late Late Show with James Corden, Sia opened up about battling alcohol and drug addiction whilst she was an up-and-coming singer. Sia eventually chose to stop drinking and her discomfort with fame led her to adopt her somewhat mysterious persona, and her tendency to keep her face hidden.

Dax Shephard

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In 2012, actor and comedian Dax Shephard told Playboy that he had struggled with an addiction to drugs and alcohol during his twenties. He said that from ages 18 to 29, he was “a heavy smoker, heavy drinker, drug addict, terrible eater and philanderer.” “I loved getting f****d-up — drinking, cocaine, opiates, marijuana, diet pills, pain pills, everything,” he shared. “Mostly my love was Jack Daniel’s and cocaine.” He admitted that he would get sober for some movie roles but then immediately return to his drug and alcohol habits. He has been sober since 2004.

Amanda Bynes

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In an interview with Paper Magazine in 2018, Bynes revealed that she had been sober for nearly four years. She also spoke about her drug use and abuse, which included molly, ecstasy, cocaine, and Adderall. “My advice to anyone who is struggling with substance abuse would be to be really careful because drugs can really take a hold of your life,” she said. She added, “There are gateway drugs and thankfully I never did heroin or meth or anything like that but certain things that you think are harmless, they may actually affect you in a more harmful way. Be really, really careful because you could lose it all and ruin your entire life like I did.”

Dennis Quaid

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In an interview with The Sunday Times in 2018, Quaid opened up about his struggles with cocaine addiction. “I liked coke,” he said. “It made me feel good about myself.” He went on to say that he missed the drug for quite some time and that it was a struggle to get clean. One day he had a white-light experience and decided to commit to rehab. He said, “I was lucky that I got a sign that led me down the right path.” He stopped drinking alcohol for 10 years while kicking his drug addiction but later started up again. “Alcohol was never my problem,” he confirmed.

Oprah Winfrey

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Oprah Winfrey overcame a cocaine addiction in her 20s. She talked about the experience publicly two decades later when she hosted a talk show featuring women going through similar problems. Oprah’s addiction stemmed from a relationship she had with a man who did drugs. When they were together, she did them too, but when he went away she would stop. That relationship ended, and she never touched them again.

Stephanie Pratt

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Stephanie Pratt is a reality star, who rose to fame playing the role of Lauren Conrad’s nemesis on The Hills. She’s battled with many issues throughout her life, including depression, an eating disorder and drug addiction. In her biography, she admits that she used to be addicted to crystal meth. She started using when she was only 14 and became addicted very quickly. On her 19th birthday, she had a severe depressive episode and tried to kill herself with a deadly mix of painkillers and alcohol. Her mother arrived at her house unexpectedly and saved her life. However, after her suicide attempt, she continued to use drugs. Her drug use resulted in her being arrested for shoplifting in Hawaii. In 2009, Pratt finally overcame her addiction by going to rehab. She now lives in London, where she makes occasional appearances on Made in Chelsea.

Elizabeth Taylor

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Elizabeth Taylor was interviewed in 1982 about her time in the Betty Ford Clinic, where she had gone for treatment of an addiction. She was a star with a legendary career and stunning beauty, but she battled drug and alcohol addictions for much of her life. Her friends staged an intervention in the 1980s that helped with her recovery. She publicly revealed her addiction, becoming an inspiration to others who also suffered from the same problem. She had a successful career since then and will be one of America’s sweethearts forever. Taylor passed away in 2011.


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Black-Eyed Peas singer Fergie has been very open about her past addiction to methamphetamine. She began with ecstasy and then turned to crystal meth. At first, she found it fun, but like any abused drug, it took its toll on her. She used so much meth that she began to suffer paranoid delusions, believing that the CIA and FBI were following her. After overcoming her addiction, she got help from a therapist, who helped her focus on her religious beliefs and gave her a new outlook on life. Now she tells people that breaking up with drugs was the hardest breakup she ever had to go through. The singer has now been sober for over 20 years.

Christina Ricci

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Christina Ricci battled anorexia and addictions in her early years. She started acting at a young age, rising to fame as Wednesday in the Addams Family movies, so she had to grow up very quickly. Ricci went into therapy once her addictions were discovered, and she was able to deal with them after that. The actress dealt with her eating disorder and alcoholism quickly, allowing her to move past them. Many women will experience both disorders at the same time. There is often a connection between self-harm and abuse of various kinds—including feelings of low self-esteem or in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Kristin Davis

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Kristen Davis’s career took off after she landed the part of Charlotte on Sex and the City. Prior to that, she overcame a drinking problem so severe that she thought that it would kill her by age 30. She has been sober since she was 22 and said that alcoholism runs in her family, therefore she was able to see the signs of alcohol abuse and stopped drinking before it consumed her life. After this phase of her life, Davis’s family life and career both flourished. In a 2008 interview, Davis spoke about her past problems, saying, “I believe alcoholism is a disease. I don’t think you can mess around with it. There was a time when people would say to me, ‘Couldn’t you just have one glass of champagne?’ And I would say, ‘No.’ I’m doing well now. I still have bad days, but why risk it?”

Samuel L. Jackson

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Samuel L. Jackson struggled with drug addiction in his twenties and early thirties, but he kicked the habit about two weeks before landing his first major role in Jungle Fever. In addition to marijuana and LSD, he was also fond of drinking. When movie roles didn’t come his way like he wanted, he decided to use drugs to fill the void. He would take LSD and other drugs and then show up on time for movie sets and perform. Many would say that he was a “functional” drug addict because he managed to avoid getting caught or having any problems related to his addiction. After being high since age 15, he finally quit using drugs in 1991 at the age of 43.

Daniel Radcliffe

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British actor Daniel Radcliffe shot to stardom aged 11, taking the title role in the Harry Potter films. His fame throughout adolescence led him to seek solace in alcohol, which he says was unhealthy and damaging to both his body and his social life. “I was living in constant fear of who I’d meet, what I might have said to them, what I might have done with them,” he told The Guardian in 2013. His struggle reached its peak while filming the later Harry Potter movies—but with the help of friends and family, Radcliffe has remained sober since 2010.

Hayden Panettiere

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Heroes and Nashville actress Hayden Panettiere has spoken openly about her battle with addiction, revealing that her early success as a child actress led to issues with alcohol and opioids. At 15, she told People that someone on her team began giving her “happy pills” so that she would be “peppy during interviews.” By 16, Panettiere was using regularly. After filming for Nashville wrapped in 2018, she hit rock-bottom. She sent her seven-year-old daughter, Kaya, to live with her father in Ukraine and was hospitalized and told by doctors that her ‘liver was going to give out.’ Eventually, she made the decision to go to rehab and after eight months came out sober.

Todd Bridges

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After starring as ‘What you talkin bout’ Willis Jackson on Diff’rent Strokes at the age of 13, Todd Bridges became a sitcom sensation. Unfortunately, years of abuse and molestation led him down a dark path. He started doing drugs as he was still filming the sitcom when he was 15 years old. By the time he was 20, he was addicted, and two years after the show ended in 1986, he was homeless. He became a drug dealer in order to survive and fell into a life of addiction, but managed to get clean in 1993. He has since written an autobiography and made a brief return to acting in ABC’s 2021 Live In front of a Studio Audience.

Jodie Sweetin

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Jodie Sweetin was five years old when she started playing Stephanie Tanner on Full House. The hit 90s show ran until she was 13 years old, and at that point she started to feel lost. She turned to drugs at 14 years old, drinking for the first time at her co-star Candace Cameron Bure’s wedding and having “two bottles of wine.” As the young actress struggled to book roles, she picked up on more drug habits and was in and out of rehab throughout her teens and twenties. After she was hospitalized in 2005, Sweetin admitted that she needed help. She went into treatment and moved into a sober-living house. Unfortunately, she relapsed again in 2008 and 2013, but has remained sober since.

Sam Worthington

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In a December 2022 interview with Variety, Avatar actor Sam Worthington reflected on being eight years sober. “I couldn’t see it,” he said of his drinking habits. “I thought it was normal.” He also added that he didn’t like who he was when he was drinking, but drinking helped him get through the day. Worthington has said that he would wake up each morning and have his first drink. “Nine out of ten people couldn’t tell,” he said. “They could probably smell it on me, but when they looked at me, they couldn’t tell.”

Tom Felton

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In his memoir, the actor who played Harry Potter’s nemesis Draco Malfoy revealed that he battled with substance abuse during and after his time on the movie series. Felton wrote: “It came to the point where I would think nothing of having a drink while I was working.” After his team and then-girlfriend staged an intervention for him, he attended rehab three times. After he left the first facility and got kicked out of the second, he ultimately chose to go to a third. “It was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make,” he said, but one he is grateful he made. Felton hopes that in sharing his story, he will be able to help others who are struggling.

Stacey Dash

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In an interview with The Dr. Oz Show in October 2021, Clueless actress Stacey Dash disclosed that she was taking between 18 and 20 Vicodin pills per day. “It was my choice to take that extra one even though I wasn’t in pain,” the actress said. “The Vicodin filled that hole inside of me. It filled that anger. It calmed that anger down. It slowed my brain down. It gave me the ease so that I could deal with life.” Dash added, “That’s how I became addicted—it’s no one’s fault but my own.”

Kit Harington

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Harington said his struggles with drinking hit a low after Game of Thrones ended. He told The Sunday Times in August 2021, “You get to a place where you feel like you are a bad person, you feel like you are a shameful person. And you feel that there’s no way out, that’s just who you are.” Happily, the Jon Snow actor turned thing around. “I’m sober now, and it’s basically the process of going, ‘No, I can change.’ One of my favorite things I learnt recently is that the expression ‘a leopard doesn’t change its spots’ is completely false: that a leopard actually does change its spots. It really helped me.”


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In a TikTok video posted in August 2021, Nights Like This singer Kehlani said she had stopped smoking marijuana. “I used to smoke a lot of weed and now I speak on it in a past tense perspective,” she said. “People think I’m s****ing on weed, I’m not! I loved weed when I was involved with it.” She added that it is a “beautiful plant with very nice properties when used correctly,” but that she had been overusing it and wasn’t being very productive. The singer noted that the habit was hurting her vocal cords. “I got to a point where I couldn’t eat, sleep or be at a social gathering,” she said. “I couldn’t kick it without smoking weed and I just didn’t want it to have that hold on my life anymore. And also, my throat and lungs were tired of me.”

Jessica Simpson

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In January 2020, singer, actress and reality TV star Jessica Simpson told People magazine that she had stopped drinking in November 2017. She said that she turned to alcohol and pills as a way of coping with the sexual abuse she endured as a child, but that when she finally admitted that she needed help, it was like finding her calling in life again.

Colton Haynes

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Teen Wolf actor Colton Haynes announced in March 2019 that he is six months sober after battling drug and alcohol addiction for a decade. “I got married [to Jeff Leatham] and that didn’t work out,” he told Attitude Magazine. “That was extremely public and heartbreaking, and right when that was going on, my mom died.” Haynes revealed that he hit rock bottom in 2018 when he locked himself in a hotel room during a seven-day bender and was soon after committed to a psychiatric care facility. He completed a four-month treatment program two months later.

Eliza Dushku

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Eliza Dushku shared her story about her battle with alcoholism and drug addiction at the New Hampshire Youth Summit on Opioid Awareness in Manchester, New Hampshire in March 2017. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer actress told the audience that she started experimenting with marijuana at age 14 and abused substances for many years. Dushku says she decided to get clean when her brother told her she could not see her niece while under the influence. Dushku celebrated 10 years of being sober in November 2018.

Lena Dunham

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The October 29, 2018 episode of Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard featured an interview with Girls creator Lena Dunham, in which she revealed that she had been misusing prescription pills and abusing alcohol. “I’ve been sober for six months,” said the actress, adding, “My particular passion was Klonopin.” She went on to admit, “I do see the way that the way I medicated myself negatively impacted people around me and decimated my decision-making and hurt my creativity, and so I just feel, like, literally on-my-knees grateful every single day.”

Natasha Lyonne

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Actress Natasha Lyonne first attracted notice for her role in the 1999 movie American Pie. In the years that followed, her career grew while she struggled with heroin addiction. Lyonne was in and out of rehab programs since 2004, when she was charged with destroying property. In 2006, she completed a court-ordered rehab program, avoiding jail time. She’s been clean ever since. However, after kicking heroin, Lyonne had to have open-heart surgery to repair the damage drugs had done to her heart and body. About a decade later, she landed her most significant comeback role as Nicky Nichols in Netflix’s Orange is the New Black.

Stephen King

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Writer Stephen King is one of the most prolific writers in the world, and he attributes his success to a combination of drugs. While most people might use one or two drugs to get them through a day, King used cocaine, Xanax, Valium, NyQuil and marijuana in addition to alcohol and tobacco. He battled the addictions throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In his memoir On Writing, King describes a 1987 intervention that his family and friends staged in which they cleaned up all of his addictions from the trash and put it right in front of him. King said he then sought treatment for his addiction and has been sober ever since.