The celebrity drug addiction story is one we’ve all heard numerous times. From the Keith Richards to the Lindsay Lohans and the Charlie Sheens, we expect excess from some of our celebrities. Others, however, cultivate such as wholesome image or play seemingly innocent characters in movies or TV shows that we’d never expect them to be battling personal demons behind closed doors. The unfortunate truth is that addiction strikes people from all walks of life, and celebrities—whether they’re outwardly hell-raising or not—seem more prone to the trappings of drugs and alcohol than the rest of us. As listed by CNN, here are some celebrities you’d have never expected to have a problem with drugs or alcohol.
Alcohol is society’s primary legal drug, but the havoc it wreaks can be all too real. Many of the celebrities listed consume alcohol as their main drug of choice, frequenting bars and drinking themselves into oblivion under the guise of enjoying an active celebrity social life. Zac Efron falls into this group, having completed a short stint in rehab in 2013 with surprisingly little press coverage. Kristen Davis, who plays Charlotte in “Sex in the City,” is also a recovering alcoholic—having had such a problem that she once thought she wouldn’t even live to 30. Ben Affleck’s drinking also got out of control in 2001, and he had to check into rehab as a result.
One of the most surprising entries on the list is Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliff, who was drinking excessively until 2010 under the pretense that he was “living some sort of famous person’s lifestyle.” Along the same lines, Melissa Gilbert (known for her role as Laura in “Little House on the Prairie”) drank over two bottles of wine per night at the height of her alcoholism. Eva Mendes also found herself drinking too much and consequently checked herself into a rehab facility in 2008. She had apparently become so dependent that she had to drain a cocktail before filming a sex scene for the 2007 movie, “We Own the Night.” Finally, country music star Tim McGraw also battled with alcoholism and getting sober thanks to a vigorous regime of exercise, he focused on improving his health in more ways than one.
The Illicit Drug Users
The typical image of the addicted celebrity involves illicit substances, and many of those on CNNs list fall into this category. One of these is “Glee” star Cory Monteith, who sadly died in July of this year following a battle with addiction throughout his career; he was reportedly taking “anything and everything.” Jodie Sweetin (known for her role as Stephanie Tanner on “Full House”) was touring and giving talks about her sobriety while simultaneously using methamphetamine, cocaine and ecstasy. Kristen Johnson had struggled with depression throughout her time on “3rd Rock From the Sun,” finding it difficult to confide in anyone and falling back on drugs and alcohol as a result. Kelly Preston (who acted in movies such as “Jerry Maguire”) confessed that there was a time when she “used to do everything and a lot of everything,” but has since gotten clean in an effort to be a better wife to John Travolta and a better mother to her children.
Samuel L. Jackson played a crack addict in the movie “Jungle Fever,” and the performance was inspired by his own addiction to drugs (namely cocaine) and alcohol, which plagued him before his career took off. As you may expect, there are many musicians who also fall into this category, one of which is Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas, who struggled with an addiction to ecstasy before graduating to crystal meth and becoming extremely paranoid—to the point where she believed she was being constantly followed by law enforcement.
Anybody familiar with the chorus to Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” won’t be surprised to see him listed as an illicit drug user, but it may come as more of a surprise that in the mid-60s he was supposedly taking “huge amounts” of cocaine and confessed (although he may have been joking or lying about this one) to a journalist that he kicked a $25 per day heroin habit. Finally, singer/songwriter Elton John—well known for his ostentatious parties—reportedly struggled with both drug and alcohol addictions.
Other Legal Drug Users
The final selection of entries on the list didn’t take an illicit drug, but it wasn’t just alcohol either. Jane Lynch (best known for her roles in the TV series “Glee” and the movie “Role Models”) revealed in her tell-all memoir that she had once been addicted to cough syrup and alcohol, a seemingly unheard of addiction outside the rap and hip-hop world.
The remainder of the celebrities on the list struggled with the drugs currently creating epidemic level addiction and staggering numbers of overdose-related deaths, prescription painkillers. Among the most well known of these is Matthew Perry (who played Chandler Bing on “Friends”), who battled alcoholism alongside an addiction to narcotic painkillers. Jamie Lee Curtis (“Halloween” and “Freaky Friday”) was so addicted to painkillers that she once stole from a family member to fuel her habit. Finally, Kelly Osbourne checked into rehab in 2004 after being found with what even her previously drug-addled father Ozzy called an “astounding” amount of painkillers.
These stories, although sad reminders of the state of modern-day celebrity, all share one common theme: these celebrities haven’t just abused drugs or alcohol; the majority of them recognized they had a problem and then did something about it. They’re reminders that even in a world of availability of substances and comparative freedom, people regularly recognize when enough is enough and take steps to get clean. When you’re in the midst of an addiction, that’s not an easy thing to do, and as much as we get a morbid thrill from seeing celebrities sullied by bad press, we should genuinely commend them for the positive changes they’ve made.