Drug and alcohol addiction can happen to anyone, even celebrities. Or perhaps it would be better to say drug and alcohol addiction can happen to anyone, especially celebrities. It’s a story we’ve all heard many times before– money, success, and acclaim open the doors to addiction for certain individuals in the public spotlight. While it is easy to document a celebrity’s crash and burn into the depths of their habit, what about those celebrities that managed to stay on the road to recovery? Here are 15 famous faces whose battle for sobriety serve as an inspiration to us all.
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Hollywood superstar and activist Angelina Jolie has discussed with media her past addictions to cocaine and heroin. The Changeling actress struggled with the habit in her teen years and once said she felt very lucky not to have died young.
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Comedian, G4 host and Nerdist Industry CEO Chris Hardwick discussed in his book The Nerdist Way his struggle to overcome alcohol addiction. In the process, he may have become the funniest nerd out there (our words, not his).
Robert Downey Jr.
Character actor Robert Downey Jr.’s struggle with drugs and alcohol has been well-documented in the media. Since putting his addiction behind him, he has parlayed his talents into blockbuster movie star status.
Princess Leia herself, Carrie Fisher, revealed she was a cocaine addict during the making of The Empire Strikes Back. After surviving an overdose, she decided to kick the habit. Her book and movie Postcards From the Edge fictionalizes and satirizes her drug fueled past.
Following the tragic death of his friend John Belushi, comedian/actor Robin Williams entered rehab. Though he was able to stay clean for a nearly twenty year stretch, Williams re-entered rehab for alcohol addiction in 2006. Having stayed on the road to recovery since then, Williams serves as an inspiration to any addict to have experienced a relapse after an extended sober period.
Samuel L. Jackson
Before becoming a powerhouse Hollywood actor, Samuel L. Jackson struggled with an addiction to crack cocaine. He overcame the disease and applied his experience to playing a crack addicted character in Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever—one of his breakout roles.
Former Saturday Night Live star Darrell Hammond is also a recovering addict, detailed in his autobiography God, If You’re Not Up There… The comedian revealed he concealed his addiction to drugs and alcohol during his entire stint on the show. During the final season, he resorted to crack, and went into rehab later that same year. The now-clean actor can currently be seen on Will Ferrel’s Funny or Die website as well as the recently released Patton Oswald comedy When Nature Calls.
Jamie Lee Curtis
Jamie Lee Curtis has admitted to becoming addicted to pain killers at the age of 35, following cosmetic surgery. When the True Lies star’s self-medication got out of hand, she entered rehab and, as part of her recovery, stopped wearing heels and let her hair go grey. The actress is now a volunteer consultant for anti-drug campaigns.
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Oprah Winfrey has admitted to past cocaine abuse with an addict ex-boyfriend during the early parts of her career. Though she has kept many details of her usage vague, the media mogul has continues to promote awareness about the dangers of drugs and addiction.
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In his book On Writing, bestseller Stephen King detailed his own addiction to drugs and alcohol during the 1980s, stating he can’t even remember writing such classic chillers as Cujo. Following an intervention, King has remained sober and continually uses his experiences in overcoming addiction as a major theme in his novels.
Aerosmith frontman and American Idol Judge Stephen Tyler has also spoke out about his addiction to drugs. While Tyler remains clean and an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous, he also remains of the opinion that drug abuse is mostly the matter of an individual’s control.
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British actor and comedian Russell Brand is well known for his story of overcoming drug addiction, including heroin, to become one of the biggest stars in the world. The details of this inspiring tale can be seen in the documentary Russell Brand: From Addiction To Recovery.
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Drew Barrymore gained much media attention in the ’90s for her “wild child” reputation. After being in and out of rehab several times during that period, the actress has seemed to stay on the road to recovery and her career has flourished.
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Rock star David Bowie struggled with cocaine addiction throughout much of the 1970s and ’80s. As he grew older, he finally decided to kick the habit once and for all for the sake of his family and himself. Today, he remains an active member of A.A. and has used his celebrity influence to help other addicts get on the road to recovery.
Hi son, Charlie Sheen, may be more well know battling his own demons, but Martin Sheen has faced similar struggles in his lifetime. The actor, now clean and sober for over thirty years, is as passionate about drug and alcohol addiction awareness as he is about acting. Sheen regularly delivers public speeches to promote the issue.