24 Famous People Who Have Battled Addiction
by Morgan DeBoest
You see it all the time—child stars going a little too wild, supermodels doing just about anything to stay thin enough—but some stories are better hidden than others. From models to singers to our most beloved child stars, find out which of your fave celebs struggled (or are still struggling) with alcohol and drug addiction.
Our girl LiLo had a long journey down the drugs and alcohol path. From driving under the influence to shoplifting, she spent lots of time in rehab and doing community service. Thankfully, that period seems to be done, and we’re all better for it.
Being a teen pop star takes its toll after a while, as demonstrated by Britney’s problematic 2007-2012 battle with drug addiction, mental health, custody issues, and control over her own life. Now, she’s in residency in Vegas and living her best life. She’s still Britney, b**ch.
After a wildly successful—yet incredibly short—musical career, Winehouse passed away at age 27 of alcohol poisoning. Coincidientally, that’s the same age musicians Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, and Kurt Combain were when they died.
Love has struggled with substance abuse problems throughout her life. She’s been sober since 2007 and is currently touring with Lana del Rey.
Barrymore had an incredibly turbulent childhood marked by recurring drug and alcohol abuse. After she did two stints in rehab, she penned Little Girl Lost and has seemingly gotten her life on track.
The Her and Walk the Line star struggled with alcoholism and checked himself into rehab for alcohol abuse problems after shooting Walk the Line. Addiction may be a family trait: His brother, River Phoenix, died of an overdose in 1993.
Robert Downey Jr.
Yes, even Iron Man struggled with marijuana, heroin, and cocaine abuse issues throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. After several stints in jail and rehab, he seems to have emerged a stronger man.
Alley spent nearly three years addicted to cocaine. She started dabbling in the drug after her divorce from her first husband and was soon in far too deep. Alley credits the scientology program Narconon with her recovery.
It seems that traumatic breakups trigger drug experimentation and dangerous habit-forming behavior. Following her breakup from Brad Pitt in her 20s, Lewis dabbled in painkillers and cocaine. She entered rehab and has been sober since then—and told People, “I’m 40. I quit all my bullshit at 22. There is growth.”
In 2005, the Italian designer admitted to having used cocaine for 18 years when out at parties in New York and Los Angeles. Following her brother Gianni’s murder in 1997, she stopped using but eventually relapsed and suffered a breakdown that left her incoherent during her daughter’s 18th birthday party in 2004. Soon after, she checked into rehab and has reportedly been clean ever since.
Former Full House star Sweetin is a recovering drug addict who began using methamphetamine after the show wrapped because she was “bored.” In 2009, she released a book about her struggles with substance abuse and finding a normal life.
While filming Friends, Perry was abusing alcohol regularly and would come to work painfully hungover. After a jet-ski accident in 1997, he began using prescription drugs, and the spiral downward continued. Now sober, Perry is an advocate for nonviolent drug offenders to be rehabilitated through treatment as opposed to going to jail.
Actor Heath Ledger passed away of an accidental prescription drug overdose in 2008, after reports of his “refusing help” from friends and family.
Though Richie and former BFF Paris Hilton were known as the quintessential party girls in the 2000s, it was Richie’s life of Beverly Hills privilege that led her to hard drugs in her teen years. Eventually, she took a long look at her life and her choices and hasn’t touched heroin since age 18 and cocaine since age 21.
Urban’s been in and out of rehab for the last 10+ years, but it all started when he moved to Nashville to pursue his singing career. He checked into rehab at the Betty Ford Center for the last time in 2007.
According to Vanity Fair, supermodel Moss was “drunk through most of the ’90s.” Her modeling career also (almost) took a hit when a video of her passing around a tray of cocaine went viral.
The 22-time Olympic medalist lost a bit of his allure and glory when it was reported that he would be suspended from USA Swimming for six months following his DUI arrest. Phelps entered into a six-week program and retired from competitive swimming following the 2012 London games.
Model-actress Valletta, whom you probably recognize from her role as unstable Lydia on ABC’s Revenge, struggled with addiction from as early as childhood. She’s been sober for over 15 years now, and her career has gotten a boost, too.
In 2013, Efron shocked fans and checked himself into rehab for drug and alcohol addiction. He’s been quoted as saying, “It’s a neverending struggle…I needed to learn everything I did. But it was an interesting journey, to say the least.”
Lovato grew up on Disney Channel and had a hard time transitioning to being an adult celebrity—she says she “couldn’t go 30 minutes to an hour without cocaine” and checked herself into rehab in 2013. Now, she’s sober and more confident than ever, with a new album coming out later this year.
LaBeouf got his start as the young star of the Disney series Even Stevens, but by the time he was 21, he was even more famous for his sketchy behavior. He flipped his pickup truck in 2008 after having one too many drinks; engaged in strange, disorderly conduct in public places; exhibited road rage to the point of being charged with assault with a deadly weapon; and, of course, was charged with misdemeanor DUI.
As a teen, Ms. Fergalicious became so paranoid while using crystal meth that she believed SWAT teams and the FBI were following her every move. She recalls: “I got into a scene…From ecstasy it went to crystal meth. With any drugs, everything is great at the beginning, and then slowly your life starts to spiral down.”
Bieber has had a bad-boy rep for the past few years. A house raid in 2014 revealed drugs on the premises (for which his friend Lil Za was arrested), and he’s been arrested multiple times for defacing property and driving under the influence. Though it appeared he might be cleaning up his act, just this past week a video allegedly showing Bieber smoking weed on stage was released.
The former Glee star passed away in 2013 from a toxic combination of heroin and alcohol. He’d struggled for most of his teenage and adult life with addiction to drugs and alcohol, and had done two stints in rehab—one of which was the result of the Glee cast and crew’s intervention.