Addiction and female celebrities have long been in the news. Celebrities don’t have it easy. Many of the reasons people will start abusing substances are magnified for females in Hollywood. While they are often mothers, they also have to be on a movie set for 12 + hours in a day. They have to look and stay beautiful in front of the world. They can’t make little mistakes because they won’t go unnoticed. It’s a lot of pressure and stress to do what these female celebrities do.
In the past, agents would give actresses pills to help them cope with their busy lifestyles. Judy Garland became quite addicted to barbiturates when she was in her prime. This is what would ultimately end her life. The addiction was passed onto the next generation when her daughter Liza Minnelli suffered from substance abuse. There have been many women who have fallen down the rabbit hole or drug use to stay skinny, stay awake, get some sleep, and avoid having a total mental breakdown.
There is a silver lining to all this, however. Some female celebrities have fought through their addictions and have thrived after, never going back to the drugs or alcohol that they were once a slave to. If you’re concerned about a loved one and addiction or feel you might be addicted yourself, hopefully, you can gain some inspiration with these stories. Here are the 15 inspiring female celebrities that are now sober after some hard times.
1. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is amazing in many ways. Not only did she kick smoking cocaine without much help, but she also had the courage to talk about much after the problem was past her. In her 20’s Oprah smoked cocaine. She would admit it publicly two decades later. The show she was doing included women who were addicts. One of the ladies was a recovering addict who was also 7 months pregnant. Hearing this from Oprah was deeply inspiring for her and kept her on the clean path.
Oprah was involved with a guy who did drugs and when she was with him, she would do them. When he was gone, she didn’t do them at all. The relationship ended and she never touched it again.
2. Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore started her career early and hit unprecedented success for such a young star. This had a lot to do with her addictions. She was smoking cigarettes by 9 years old. By 10, she was an alcoholic. By 12, she was regularly smoking pot and had formed an addiction to cocaine. It’s common for child stars to become addicted to drugs. Drew’s upbringing included her family putting her to work at 11 months old. She was featured in a dog food TV ad.
At 7, Drew landed her role in Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster movie, ET. Drew actually asked Spielberg if he would be her godfather, he said yes. Unfortunately, he couldn’t protect her from all the problems she would face in the coming years. Her parents divorced when she was nine and her mom started to drag her to nightclubs most days of the week. This is when Drew started taking drugs, hanging out with older guys and deeming herself, a ‘party girl.’
At 13, she was checked into a mental institution and would stay there for 18 months. Her mother didn’t visit her often. She would become legally separated from her parents and ended up moving into her own apartment at aged 14. She spent a lot of time in and out of addiction treatment centers and psych hospitals. She tried to kill herself and was put back into drug rehab.
Eventually, she would find her groove and stop using drugs and alcohol for good. Her career had suffered greatly and it would take some time before she would build herself up again. Barrymore started her own production company, Flower Films. They would produce their first movie, ‘Never Been Kissed’ and then onto ‘Charlie’s Angels.’ She has been highly successful ever since and is a mother of two children. Barrymore is committed to being a very emotionally available mom who puts her kids first. She has stayed sober and focused on the good things in life, showing that recovery from childhood addiction is possible.
3. Jamie Lee Curtis
Jamie Lee Curtis had a surgical procedure at 35 which began her addictions. She was given prescription painkillers after her surgery. This was the beginning of a battle for her. She would mix the pills with alcohol, drinking quite heavy at times. She was experiencing a feeling of loneliness she said she would numb with alcohol. Curtis was interviewed in 2010 about her addictions after being sober for 10 years.
Curtis says that her biggest accomplishment in life was recovering successfully. She has said that without a successful recovery, everything else would have fallen apart. She went on to say that when you recover, you are able to accept that your life is not working out, that it’s in shambles and you have to make a change. She was lucky enough that she didn’t lose anything during her dark times of addiction. She got the help she needed for her drug abuse problem. Jamie Lee Curtis is still considered to be one of the most successful women who suffered addiction and sobered up.
4. Nicole Richie
If you ever saw Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton gallivanting around the country dissing people who weren’t like them, you could see there was a problem forming. In 2003, Richie was arrested for the possession of heroin. She was caught years later driving with a mixture of marijuana and Vicodin in her system. It’s also believed she suffered from eating disorders which becomes a more complex issue. Whether Richie had a co-occurring disorder is still in question but she takes responsibility for her own self-destructive patterns.
When asked if she blamed it on Hollywood or her famous parents, she said it had nothing to do with anyone. She created the problems in her life and she also got herself past it all. It was clear that Richie’s disease had gotten worse and that is was no longer possible to manage on her own. When she started a healthy diet and exercise, which involved practices like yoga and meditation, she began to get her self esteem back. It’s important to have an all around recovery plan when dealing with addiction. Health and nutrition are one of the important aspects for an addict getting back on their feet. The body requires those nutrients to recover from the abuse it takes. Many times addicts won’t eat and the substances themselves steal nutrients from the body.
5. Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie didn’t keep it a secret that she was a bit of a wild child before marrying Brad Pitt. She confessed that she tried every drug that was available out there. This included cocaine, heroin, LSD, MDMA, Ecstasy, and other drugs. When she was just engaged to Brad Pitt, a video was released of her just after doing heroin in a side alley. Her dealer had said he used to supply her with heroin and cocaine. The video had been taken long ago, back in the 1990s. She has long since given up those unhealthy habits. She has talked about the lows she would experience from taking these drugs and how she gave everything up completely. She hasn’t touched any substances in a long time and puts a lot of focus on her health.
6. Stephanie Pratt
Stephanie Pratt was best known as the star in the TV reality show, The Hills. She had some serious problems throughout her teenage years. She dealt with many different disorders that fed off of each other. Pratt was depressed, had an eating order and a drug addiction. Multiple disorders, known as co-occurring disorders, make it harder to recover from addiction. Her road was a rocky one. In her biography, she reveals her struggles back then. The show that had her in the spotlight didn’t show as much of her life struggles in the detail that her new book has.
She admits to her crystal meth addiction, which began when she was 16. This was during the time she was going to Crossroads School for Arts and Science, a private prep college. She took a lot of meth right away and became addicted very quickly. She always had a meth kit in her Hello Kitty bag and would smoke four times before school. She would have one during her snack and more after school was done. All in all, Pratt said she would smoke about 12 times a day.
When speaking about her addiction, she said she knew she was in too deep but it made her feel confident. She felt like a supermodel as opposed to someone who was depressed. She felt alive, happy, and got thinner. She said the thinner she got, the better her body image was.
Her family found out she was using meth and they confronted her. They made her take a urine test after she tried to lie about her abuse. She ended up going to meth rehab and once she completed that, she never did meth again. She did, however, try other drugs like cocaine.
After she recovered from the fundamental addiction of meth and was on the mend, the depression returned. She had a lot of sadness and anxiety as she strived for perfection and would never meet her own ideas of what that should look like. She didn’t care if she lived or died. She didn’t want to get out of bed for anything.
On her 19th birthday, she went through a serious depressive episode and tried to kill herself with a deadly mix of Oxycontin, Xanax, cocaine, marijuana, and whiskey. Her mother came by her house without letting her know and saved her life. She continued to use drugs after this suicide attempt. The drug use would result in her being arrested for shoplifting in Hawaii. This still didn’t stop her from abusing drugs.
She would finally overcome her addiction going to rehab. Her journey wasn’t over, however. She developed bulimia while she was a part of the Hills cast. She lost nearly 100 lbs. All of these disorders would need to be dealt with so she could live a normal, happy, and healthy life. She began eating healthy after she stopped with crazy yo yo diets. She is living in London now where she does some appearances on the Made in Chelsea show.
7. Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor was interviewed about her time in the Betty Ford Clinic which she went to for addiction. This is what she told the New Yorker in 1985,
”This,” she said, holding up the notebook, ”is the journal I kept every night at the Betty Ford drug center. Everyone there has to do it. I’ll read you the first entry.”
” ‘Today is Friday. I’ve been here since Monday night, one of the strangest and most frightening nights of my life. Not to mention lonely. But I am not alone. There are people here just like me, who are suffering just like me, who hurt inside and out, just like me, people I’ve learned to love. It’s an experience unlike any other I’ve known.’ ”
She looked up. ”Should I go on?” she asked. She continued.
” ‘Nobody wants anything from anybody else, except to share and help. It’s probably the first time since I was 9 that nobody’s wanted to exploit me. Now the bad news. I feel like hell. I’m going through withdrawal. My heart feels big and pounding. I can feel the blood rush through my body. I can almost see it, running like red water over the boulders in my pain-filled neck and shoulders, then through my ears and into my pounding head. My eyelids flutter. Oh God, I am so, so tired.’
She was a legendary star with her stunning eyes and on-camera charm. She battled an addiction to drugs and alcohol for a lot of her career. There was an intervention in the 1980s that helped her with her recovery. She opened up about her addiction problems courageously to the public. This became an inspiration to others, helping to dispel some of the heavy stigma attached to asking for help. She has experienced a thriving career since and will be one of America’s sweethearts forever.
Fergie, a singer for the Black Eyed Peas, has been very open about her past meth addiction. She started with ecstasy and then turned to crystal meth. At first, she found it to be fun but like every substance you abuse, it begins to take its toll. She used so much meth that she began to have erratic behaviors which all came from hallucinations. She was sure that the CIA and FBI were following her. Meth psychosis is one of the symptoms a person will exhibit when they’re abusing meth regularly.
She would believe a SWAT team was out there waiting for her whenever she went outside. She got help for her addiction and for the aftermath. She has turned to religion and had found success and love in her life. She once said that her past drug abuse was the hardest boyfriend she ever had to break up with.
9. Jada Pinkett-Smith
Jada Pinkett-Smith has admitted to having a few addictions in the past. She wasn’t diagnosed with sex addiction as a younger woman but believes she was. She said she used sex as a way to make her feel better. Her mother was hooked on drugs for two decades while Jada was growing up. This caused a lot of damage and with addiction running in her family, she was more susceptible to it also.
She experienced some problems with alcohol abuse. She would drink multiple bottles of wine at one time. Pinkett-Smith realized she had gone too far with drinking when she had gone through two bottles of wine and was reaching for a third bottle. Thankfully, she was strong enough to see the problem and quit cold turkey that day. She can acknowledge that many would be better off going to alcohol rehab but for her, she just wanted to quit and so she did. Most people need the support and don’t have the strength to just quit even when they want to. There is help for your addiction if you need it.
10. Mary J Blige
This amazing legend of a singer has had her fair share of past problems. At the age of 5, she was molested on one occasion. It wasn’t talked about and this was likely the reason she would experience depression as an adult. Blige tried to drink socially but she found herself unable to enjoy a drink. She would abuse it, using it as a tool to numb herself and ultimately become addicted to alcohol. She drank to cover up her guilt, shame, feelings of abandonment, and depression.
It was likely she was dealing with a co-occurring disorder. The reasons behind why anyone abuses drugs and alcohol will often have an emotional layer that is being numbed. This is why rehab is so essential. Tapping into those emotions takes away the triggers that would cause you to drink. This is the power of rehab treatment.
Mary J Blige would turn to God instead of going to rehab but it wasn’t effective right away. She loved God but didn’t put that love towards herself. She would get high and then feel like God was watching her. This would cause her a sense of panic. She eventually experienced an epiphany of God loving her regardless. She was also deeply affected by the decline of Whitney Houston and realized that this was the power of addiction. She dealt with her addiction on her own and has been sober for many years now with much success under her belt.
11. Jane Lynch
Jane Lynch has gone through a few addictions. She struggled with alcohol, drinking copious amounts of Miller Light beers. She got sober in 1991 when she realized she was drinking herself into the ground. She then got addicted to cold medicine, Nyquil to be exact. She had depression and she called Nyquil syrup her ‘happy oblivion.’ Many people will experience depression and addiction at the same time. The drugs of choice will often be the perceived solution for the depression. It actually worsens it through time and makes recovery more challenging.
Nyquil is an over-the-counter medication which means you don’t need a prescription. There is nobody monitoring how much you purchase. When taken in large enough doses, Nyquil contains alcohol so take large quantities makes the user feel drunk. Lynch was concerned she was becoming an alcoholic so she turned to Nyquil instead.
She would eat a gallon of ice cream every day to give her body the sugar it was used to from all the beer she used to drink. To soothe herself in lieu of beer, she would take Nyquil before bed. She considered herself to be a recovered alcoholic, not acknowledging that there was alcohol in the Nyquil. Her addiction to cold medicine worsened when she stayed in New York, appearing in the play, ‘The Brady Bunch.’ She felt miserable during this time so she would abuse Nyquil to put herself into a deep sleep. Lynch would eventually find help for her substance addiction by going to Alcoholics Anonymous. She has been sober for quite some time now and speaks openly about her past addictions in her new book, ‘Happy Accidents.’
12. Christina Ricci
Christina Ricci has been through some emotional turmoil throughout her career. She had anorexia for a time and was also going through addictions in her early years. Ricci started acting at a young age and most will grow up far too quickly when put in this situation. She battled an eating disorder that she had for about a year and a half. She would go into therapy quickly once they realized what was going on with her. The eating disorder and the problem drinking was quickly dealt with by Ricci which allowed her to get past each disorder quickly. Although her disorders existed apart from each other, many women will experience both at the same time. There is often a connection of hurting oneself through various modes of abuse. This can occur through a sense of low self-esteem or in patients with PTSD.
13. Kristen Davis
Kristen Davis is well known for her long-running character as Charlotte in Sex and the City. Prior to her successful career, Davis became an alcoholic. She admitted that her addiction to alcohol was so bad at one point, she didn’t think she would live past her 30th birthday. She has been sober since she was 22 and said that the disease runs in her family. She was able to see the early signs of alcoholism and stopped drinking. After this part of her life, she experienced much success in her family life and career.
Davis said this about her addiction,
“I believe alcoholism is a disease. I don’t think you can mess with it. There was a time when people who didn’t know me well would say, ‘Couldn’t you just have one glass of champagne?’ And I would say, ‘No.’ I’m doing well. I still have occasional bad days. Why risk it?” – Health Interview, 2008
14. Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato has experienced some major ups and downs with her addiction. She was sober for quite some time and was open about it. Fans have always admired her courage to speak out about addiction. In August of 2018, she overdosed and spoke out about needing time to heal and focus on her sobriety. What she said at the time is that she’s learning that addiction isn’t something that is going to go away. It will always be with her and she knows she has to work hard to overcome it on a daily basis.
She is being honest with herself and the public about the fact that she wasn’t ready to get sober. At the time she came out about her relapse, she had been in rehab for a month and was getting more clear. Hopefully addiction is behind her but at any rate, she isn’t going to stop fighting the battle.
Prior to her opioid overdose, she had been heavily addicted to cocaine. This came at a point where she was dealing with mental issues. Lovato said she had to work very hard in rehabilitation at that time to kick cocaine and get past the mental health issues. In closing off 2018, she sent out a message of gratitude saying she’ll never take another day for granted again. It seems she’s doing some soul searching within her life and there’s been no word of further drug problems in the media.
15. Eva Mendes
In 2008, Eva Mendes checked herself into rehab for alcohol abuse. She did so openly and her friends and fans were all shocked. This just shows how effectively an addict can hide their abuse to substances. It becomes a very lonely world because the hiding means you distance yourself from those who could help. When she got out of rehab, she states that she is proud of those people out there who are willing to get help and face their demons to get better. She has been sober ever since and has two children with long term partner, Ryan Gosling.
The Women Who Died from Overdoses in Hollywood
The 15 women above were lucky to have made it through their addictions. There were so many women that haven’t been. From the golden years of Hollywood to the present date, there are many women who became addicted to drugs. It would end their marriages, reputation, careers, and sometimes their lives in Hollywood. Being under the microscope for the world to see is an extreme amount of pressure. These beautiful, successful women will often have long hours working that they couldn’t manage. Life can be lonely and there is a lot of rejection. In our normal lives, we experience similar experiences and they can lead us to addiction as well.
Hollywood starlets have greater access to prescription drugs and a lot of money to get illicit drugs when they want it. They didn’t have the ability to ask for help. There was no family intervention or they refused the addiction help they were offered.
Whitney Houston rose to fame quickly with very little time to reflect her life. She rose in popularity through the 1980s. Her big break was starring in a film with Kevin Costner, ‘The Bodyguard.’ Houston began to abuse drugs and eventually, it became pretty obvious that things weren’t right in her world.
She had a long relationship with cocaine and was found dead at 48. She was face down in a bathtub. At the scene, there was a bottle of Champagne and a spoon that had a “white crystal-like substance. Her death was an accidental drowning, along with heart disease and cocaine use. There were also traces of Xanax, marijuana and allergy medication.
Marilyn Monroe is one of the most obvious connections of fame, fortune, and drug abuse. She was lonely at the top and worked hard. Before her death by drug overdose, it was clear that she was downward spiraling. At the time, many believed it would take just one good movie role to turn her life around. She had a plethora of different drugs on her bedside table.
Suffering from bipolar disease, she would often use drugs to help her manage life. She had sedatives, tranquilizers, speed pills, sleeping pills, and opiates. It was a barbiturate mixed with amphetamines that would ultimately kill her. Instead of seeing that Monroe needed help for her mood disorder and potential addiction, her doctor continued to issue her prescription pills.
Amy Winehouse was part of the 27 club. This is the group of young people that have died at the age of 27 in Hollywood. Ironically, one of her biggest hits was a song called “Rehab.” She sings in the song, “they try to make me go to rehab and I say no, no, no.” There was clearly a problem that she was willing to say out loud and yet in the end, nobody could help her.
Winehouse had a drug habit in the past. She had chronically abused heroin, crack, cocaine, and marijuana. She stopped taking drugs but her drinking consumption worsened. She had stopped drinking and was taking drugs to help her with the withdrawal symptoms. It is when she lapsed and did some binge drinking that she died from alcohol poisoning.
Janis Joplin died two weeks after Jimi Hendrix. She overdosed on heroin at 27 years old. Her performances were often fueled by drugs and alcohol. She was considered the Queen of Rock and Roll. In many ways, she opened up the doors to female musicians at the time. Her youth hadn’t been easy. She was teased for being ugly and eventually left the small-town life. She went to San Francisco and started recording. This is the same time that she started doing drugs.
She would inject meth, started abusing heroin and drank Southern Comfort straight out of the bottle. She had a reputation of being a hard-living speed freak. The people around her were concerned and they convinced her to go home to recuperate. She would come back to San Francisco later and see great fame. She would also relapse back into abusing drugs and alcohol. She recorded all of her most beloved hits but wouldn’t live to see it’s release. She overdosed by the time her record was released in 1971.
Judy Garland worked incredibly hard and her success was sadly drug-fuelled by those who should have taken care of her. As a young star, she was given uppers and downers so she could keep up with the grueling schedule. At aged 30, she started a string of performances and films. She died at 47 of a barbiturate overdose. She became hooked on stimulants and depressants at a young age while starring in films like the Wizard of Oz. The amount that she worked was astounding and she was given pep pills by producers. They’d then take the actor to the studio hospital and knock them out with sleeping pills. Four hours later, they’d be woken up to start the work day again. She got incredibly thin. Throughout her career, she would use drugs to stay on her work schedule.
Getting the Help You Need for Addiction
There were some families that were supportive of celebrity addicts. Some people had no support and were actually pushed to keep on using drugs so they could perform. This is the case of Judy Garland. Amy Winehouse had support but if she had been put into rehab instead of being left alone when there was an indication of a problem, she may be alive today. Many addicts will die by themselves. It’s not easy for an addict to help themselves. It feels like they are admitting a weakness in some way. Often the case is that they don’t believe they can live without the substance. They will become depressed and intentionally isolate themselves.
Sometimes it’s up to loved ones to help out an addict in their life. Family members are often the only ones who can get through to their famous sibling, daughter, or wife. It is no different in real life. The love that the addict has for family and loved ones is the one thing that can stop them from self-destructing.
It takes honesty and the willingness to forgive for all parties included. Addicts will make ugly mistakes. You have probably seen the likes of Lindsay Lohan call her parents out while she was under the influence. To stand beside a family member even if they are angry and making terrible mistakes is necessary. They need you. There is plenty of help for both families of addicts and for the addicts themselves.
Detox for Women’s Addiction
Many of the stories above show the emotional issues that cause addiction. Whether it’s stress, shame, or past childhood trauma. There are specific steps to manage addiction. It’s important that after a loved one first goes through detox. This helps to manage the withdrawal symptoms at the beginning of abstaining from the substance. Withdrawal symptom timelines vary depending on the substance and how much of a hold it has on the person. If someone drinks hard liquor every day for a long time, like Janis Joplin, they are likely to experience deadly withdrawal symptoms. This means that a tapering program would be necessary. These are all things that will be assessed during admissions to rehab.
Rehab for Women’s Addiction
Once detox has occurred, the journey can continue. The rehabilitation part of addiction recovery will include dealing with why addiction occurred in the first place. There are many stories above that indicate emotional issues had a part to play in addiction. There are many different types of therapy within the rehab program. They have been proven effective in helping with addiction recovery.
While the loneliness, judgments, and lifestyle are much more intense for a female celebrity than for the normal woman, these still exist. We are still subject to worry too much about what other people think. There are responsibilities and past emotions that stir up things within. An injury can give us access to addictive painkillers. Go to the doctor for anxiety and you all of a sudden have a pill that makes you feel invincible. Addiction can happen to any woman at any time. When you’re able to pinpoint the triggers and emotions that cause you to abuse substances, you can go beyond and find your inner divine self. This is your true self that has nothing to do with ego. This will all be understood as you go through the healing process. Many say they come out of the other side of addiction as better people.
Addiction Help for Women
Help is always available. At Denver Women’s Recovery, we understand your struggles. We have programs that include treatment to help you heal from the very foundation of your addiction. We personalize your treatment based on the assessment we do in the beginning. We offer high-quality clinical treatment that ensures you have the support you need. You’ll have care 24/7 from our knowledgeable and compassionate staff. We can help you figure out finances as well. Contact us today and start the recovery process so you can move forward with your life in a positive way.