Sobriety and the fight against addiction: it’s a story that many Hollywood celebrities experienced and discussed. But what exactly do they have to say about it?
If you are struggling with addiction or are in need of support in the midst of your fight for sobriety, here are 12 celebrities and their comments on their personal battles with these challenges.
1. Ben Affleck
In an interview with the New York Times, Ben Affleck shared that the reason he left his Batman role with Warner Bros. was that he was struggling with alcoholism. This was due to his breakup with ex-wife Jennifer Garner.
“I drank relatively normally for a long time,” Affleck said. “What happened was that I started drinking more and more when my marriage was falling apart.”
He then added:
“You’re trying to make yourself feel better with eating or drinking or sex or gambling or shopping or whatever. But that ends up making your life worse. Then you do more of it to make that discomfort go away. Then the real pain starts. It becomes a vicious cycle you can’t break. That’s at least what happened to me.”
Affleck then realized that the stress of working on The Batman, which is now being directed by Matt Reeves and acted by Robert Pattinson, would lead him to break his sobriety. He then sought to lower the pressure.
“I showed somebody The Batman script,” he said to The Times. “They said, ‘I think the script is good. I also think you’ll drink yourself to death if you go through what you just went through again.”
2. Brad Pitt
Ben Affleck wasn’t the only actor to talk to the New York Times about his sobriety. Brad Pitt did the same in 2019. At the time, the actor shared that he spent a year-and-a-half in Alcoholics Anonymous after his public breakup with Angelina Jolie.
“I had taken things as far as I could take it, so I removed my drinking privileges,” Pitt told the Times.
Though, Pitt shared that he truly enjoyed AA meetings.
“You had all these men sitting around being open and honest in a way I have never heard,” the actor said. “It was this safe space where there was little judgment, and therefore little judgment of yourself. It was actually really freeing just to expose the ugly sides of yourself. There’s great value in that.”
3. Zac Efron
Former Disney Channel movie star Zac Efron has had a similar experience though it also took the form of rehab.
In 2014, Zac Efron shared that he had a hard time working in Hollywood during his 20s.
“I was drinking a lot, way too much,” he told The Hollywood Reporter about a year after his stint at rehab. “It's never one specific thing. I mean, you're in your 20s, single, going through life in Hollywood, you know? Everything is thrown at you.”
After going to rehab in 2013, Efron joined Alcoholics Anonymous and started to see a therapist. He now sees fighting addiction as a “never-ending struggle.”
4. Dax Sheppard
In September, Dax Shepard (Parenthood) opened up about relapsing after spending 16 years sober. Shepard expressed this challenge over his podcast “Armchair Expert.” Shepard shared that he was on Vicodin “all day” for eight weeks after he was prescribed the opioid after a recent motorcycle injury. The actor and podcast host then specified that he was taking eight 30-milligram pills of Vicodin every day.
“I know that's an amount that's going to result in a pretty bad withdrawal,” he said on the podcast. “And I start getting really scared, and I'm starting to feel really lonely. And I just have this enormous secret.”
“I was high at the meeting having people tell me they admire my sobriety,” he added. “It was the worst thing in the world.”
Shephard then said that he has since been clean for seven days (as of the podcast recording).
“I now feel again like my life's going to get better.”
5. Robert Downey Jr.
By now, it’s public knowledge that Robert Downey Jr. struggled with addiction. In fact, some questioned the choice of the Marvel star becoming Iron-Man because of his past with addiction. But now, after spending time at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison, Downey says he’s committed to staying sober. He also shared thoughts in 2014 for those looking to do the same.
“Job one is get out of that cave,” he told Vanity Fair in 2014. “A lot of people do get out but don't change. So the thing is to get out and recognize the significance of that aggressive denial of your fate, come through the crucible forged into a stronger metal.”
6. Daniel Radcliffe
Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe spent most of his childhood on a movie set. But when it came to the last three films within the Harry Potter series, Radcliffe says it was alcohol that became his biggest issue. In fact, he told Marc Maron on the “WTF” podcast in 2015 that he was drunk while filming some of his last films.
“There was definitely a time when I was coming out of ‘Potter' and I was into the real world, suddenly I was in a world where I'm not going to have that consistency anymore,” he said. “I was pretty inconsolable on the last day of ‘Potter.' I was really worried. I was living alone, and I think I was really freaked out … I drank a lot, as has been recorded.”
7. Bradley Cooper
In 2013, the Oscar-nominated A Star Is Born actor opened about his sobriety. He said at the time that he got sober because he realized, “if I continued it, I was really going to sabotage my whole life.”
Cooper later noted that 2018’s A Star Is Born, in which he played a musician struggling with addiction, was a “cathartic” experience.
“Anytime you're trying to tell the truth you need to go to places and use things that have happened to you, or you've read about or experienced,” he said. “And that's all part of the beauty of turning whatever things you've gone through into a story. I find that to be very cathartic.”
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8. Elton John
Speaking of musicians struggling with addiction, that’s exactly what Elton John saw himself become at one point in his life. He has now celebrated 30 years sober!
“29 years ago today, I was a broken man,” Elton John wrote on Instagram in 2019. “I finally summoned up the courage to say three words that would change my life: “I need help.” Thank you to all the selfless people who have helped me on my journey through sobriety. I am eternally grateful.”