Drug People from all different walks of life battle addiction — whether they’re doctors, lawyers, students, stay-at-home moms, professional athletes or performers. And while some struggle in silence for many years, it’s important for them to know that they’re not alone.
The more we talk about addiction, the easier it is for people to find help, and many celebrities have decided to share their stories of addiction throughout the years. From Brad Pitt and Oprah Winfrey to Britney Spears and Demi Lovato, their experiences and openness have become an important part of the conversation. These celebrities and their honesty underlines the fact that addiction doesn’t discriminate, and struggling with addiction is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s a human experience that, in order to beat, one must first face head-on.
Click through our slideshow of celebrities who’ve struggled with drug and alcohol addictions — and don’t even be afraid to reach out for help.
1. Lena Dunham
At a luncheon to benefit Friendly House treatment centre an addiction recovery facility for women, Lena Dunham opened up to Variety about her struggles with sobriety — specifically, her struggle with addiction to prescription anti-anxiety medication like Klonopin.
“Being sober in life is hard,” the Girls star admitted. “But being sober is the first step to facing all the things that made you want to hide in the first place.”
For Dunham, the road to accepting she had a problem was tricky: “I didn’t think that I was a drug addict,” she shared with the crowd. “I thought drug addicts were depraved lunatics who wandered the streets, demanding crack from innocent children and flaunting their open wounds in public parks. And I was a successful, capable celebrity who wandered red carpets demanding attention and flaunting her open boobs on TV. It’s totally different.”
Now, after a year and a half of sobriety, Dunham has a new lease on life: “Being me has sometimes hurt so much that I couldn’t bear it …But being me is also a super-power, and it’s the same for all of you … I’ll put my money on sober women any day — because a woman who has overcome an addiction can do f—ing anything.”
2. Brad Pitt
In 2016, Pitt split with Angelina Jolie, going down in a blaze with a reported fight on a private plane about Pitt’s drinking. After that, Pitt had enough. As he put it, “I had taken things as far as I could take it, so I removed my drinking privileges.” The breakup marked the beginning of Pitt’s time in Alcoholics Anonymous.
Pitt detailed his experience with AA with a touch of wonder. “You had all these men sitting around being open and honest in a way I have never heard,” he said. “It was this safe space where there was little judgment, and therefore little judgment of yourself.”
3. Dax Shepard
Actor Dax Shepard talked famously about his addiction struggle to Playboy in 2012: “I just loved to get fucked up—drinking, cocaine, opiates, marijuana, diet pills, pain pills, everything. Mostly my love was Jack Daniel’s and cocaine.”
On a March 2019 episode of his podcast, Armchair Expert, Shepard talks about how his recovery is an ongoing process: “You’ve got to acknowledge you are an addict every day, first thing, right when you wake up,” he tells guest Gwyneth Paltrow. “I wrote a page in my journal every single morning because I had this thought that if I can’t commit 20 minutes to remember I’m an addict each morning, I’m going to end up blowing nine hours a day as an addict. I have to be able to say, minimally this is your commitment.”
4. Demi Lovato
Singer Demi Lovato has openly struggled with addiction since 2010, when she first entered rehab at the age of 18. At various points, the Disney star has returned to rehab facilities to treat an eating disorder, self-harm, and cocaine addiction.
After an August 2018 hospitalization for a drug overdose, Lovato released the following statement on Instagram: “What I’ve learned is that this illness is not something that disappears or fades with time. It is something I must continue to overcome and have not done yet.”
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5. Lady Gaga
In Lady Gaga’s 2010 biography, Lady Gaga: Just Dance, the singer reveals past struggles with addiction: primarily cocaine, but dabbling in other substances as well.
“My cocaine soundtrack was always The Cure. I would lock myself in my room and listen to ‘Never Enough’ on repeat while I did bags and bags of cocaine. It was about being an artist,” Just Dance reads. “I wasn’t a lazy addict. I would make demo tapes and send them around. At the time I didn’t think there was anything wrong with me, until my friends said, ‘Are you doing this alone?’ Um, yes. Me and my mirror.”
6. Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin abused drugs and alcohol throughout his 20s, and he told the New York Post he referred to the worst times of his addiction as the “Sixth Sense phase. When you’re dead but you don’t know it.”
“I’m driving down the road, I’m having a drink,” Baldwin recalled. “It’s 4 o’clock; I’m supposed to have a drink. But one day I went, ‘I don’t see anybody else in their car with a plastic takeout container filled with ice and wine. They’re drinking coffee, they’re drinking Diet Coke. They’re not drinking wine.'”
7. Wendy Williams
Wendy Williams recently sat down with Entertainment Tonight to talk about her struggle with a cocaine addiction.
“I was a functioning addict,” she shared. “I would report to work on time and I walked in and all of my coworkers, and including my bosses, would know but instead of firing me, you see, I would grab my headphones and arrogantly walk into the studio and dare them [to] fire me because I was making ratings.”
While Williams didn’t reveal how long she’s been sober, she did say, “it’s a miracle I was able to stop.”
8. Jamie Lee Curtis
“I too found painkillers after a routine cosmetic surgical procedure and I too became addicted,” Jamie Lee Curtis wrote in a 2009 blog post for the Huffington Post. She also said her recovery was “the single greatest accomplishment” of her life.
9. Kelly Osbourne
Kelly Osbourne went to rehab three times before getting clean, and she admitted to People magazine that she was self-medicating daily with “whatever I could sniff or swallow to not be me.”
“I had my tonsils taken out, and they gave me liquid Vicodin,” she told People in 2009. “I found, when I take this, people like me. I’m having fun, I’m not getting picked on. It became a confidence thing.”
10. Lisa Marie Presley
The 51-year-old daughter of Elvis has opened up about her opioid addiction in a 2019 book on America’s opioid crisis. “I was recovering after the  birth of my daughters, Vivienne and Finley, when a doctor prescribed me opioids for pain,” she shares. “It only took a short-term prescription of opioids in the hospital for me to feel the need to keep taking them.”
She credits her children with giving her the strength to get through recovery: “[I’m] grateful to be alive today,” she writes, “and to have four beautiful children who have given me a sense of purpose that has carried me through dark times.”