Celebrities battling drug and alcohol addiction have been a part of Hollywood since the earliest days of the entertainment industry. The list of famous names who lost their lives from substance abuse-related causes is long, from classic stars like Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe to more recent overdose deaths like Prince, Tom Petty, Mac Miller, and Juice Wrld.
As the list of stars who lost their battles with addiction continues, many other celebrities have opted for sobriety. Some have struggled with overdoses and jail time on their way to healthier lifestyles, while others saw the warning signs and stopped substance abuse before their addictions progressed. While the fight against drugs and alcohol is often considered a social taboo, many famous names have openly spoken to fans about their journeys into sobriety, inspiring others who may be fighting similar demons. Read on for a list of celebrities who are loud and proud of their sober lifestyles.
Brad Pitt stopped drinking after the breakup
After Brad Pitt’s public divorce from ex-wife Angelina Jolie, the actor made the decision to get sober. In his first magazine profile since Jolie filed for divorce in 2016, Pitt shared his struggles with alcohol abuse in the 2017 GQ interview, claiming he couldn’t “remember a day since [I’ve] left college when [I’ve] not he was drinking or had a joint,” he said revealing that he was “really happy” with his then six months of sobriety.
Pitt later presented in a 2019 interview with The New York Times that his and Jolie’s breaking point as a couple was a 2016 fight over his drinking problems and that he attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for a year and a half later after Jolie filed for divorce. For more info regarding the irrationality of AA, click here.
Fast forward to January 2023, when Pitt revealed that another sober celebrity, Bradley Cooper, had helped him with his transition to a healthier life. In a speech at the National Board of Review Awards, Pitt addressed Cooper in the audience, stating, “I got sober for this guy, and every day has been happier since then.”
Ben Affleck’s journey into sobriety has involved at least three visits to rehab, first in 2001 and then again in 2017 and 2018, with his ex-wife Jennifer Garner organizing an intervention before taking him to a rehab center. Affleck thanked his fans and loved ones in an Instagram statement in October 2018, in which he announced that he had completed his 40-day rehab stay, calling his addiction a “difficult and enduring fight” and that he was “fighting for [himself] and [his] family.”
Affleck discussed his several relapses with The New York Times in a February 2023 profile, saying that he “would beat [himself] up” when he fell back into alcoholism. “I certainly made mistakes,” he said, adding: “I certainly did things that I regret. But you have to get up, learn from it, learn a little more, [and] try to move forward.”
After his turn as Batman in the 2016 movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Affleck explained why he walked away from the next movie Batman he was supposed to direct, alluding to his alcohol problems. “I showed someone the Batman script,” Affleck headed for the exit. “They said, ‘I think the script is good. I also think you will drink to death if you go through what you just went through.”
Bradley Cooper’s transformed life
Bradley Cooper decided to quit alcohol when he was in his early 20s telling ABC News in a 2015 chat it that was a “beautiful” decision. Cooper attributed his success as an actor to getting sober, claiming that he would “never be sitting” with Barbara Walters during the interview if he had continued to drink. “I would not have been able to access myself or other people, I could not even have received other people if my life had not changed,” he revealed.
“I don’t drink or use drugs anymore,” the American sniper star said to The Hollywood Reporter in 2012, recalling how he once “hit [his] head on the concrete floor” while drunk at a party. “Being sober helps a lot.
Cooper also attributed his ability to care for his father, Charles, who died of cancer in 2011, to his sobriety. “I could never have cared for my father like I did when he was sick if I hadn’t been sober,” he said.
Demi Lovato relapsed and rose from the ashes
After her hospitalization in July 2018 for an apparent overdose, Demi Lovato has been open about her drug and alcohol problems. After six years of sobriety, she released the song “Sober” in June 2018, which included lyrics “I’m so sorry, I’m not sober anymore” in which she hinted had relapsed. Weeks later, the singer was rushed to the hospital and entered rehab in August 2018.
Years after her hospitalization and rehab drama, Lovato has spoken out about her sobriety journey, hoping to inspire fans who may also be struggling with similar issues. Sitting down with Ellen DeGeneres for an interview in March 2023, Lovato addressed the viewers directly and said, “I think it’s important that I sit here on this stage and tell them at home, or in the audience, or right here, that If they do this, you can overcome it yourself. You can get to the other side, and it can be bumpy, but you get a 10 out of 10.
Eminem “is not afraid” of sobriety
Eminem previously struggled with an addiction to prescription painkillers but has been keeping up with his sobriety for more than a decade. The rapper celebrated 12 years of sobriety in April 2023, sharing a photo on Instagram of an Alcoholics Anonymous coin commemorating 12 years without substances, with the title: “Clean dozen, in the books! I’m not afraid”.
Rapper “Stan” detailed his debilitating struggles with addiction in a 2011 interview with Rolling Stone, revealing that he would take “40 to 60” Valium and “20 [to] 30” Vicodin every day, followed by Ambien at night. He unsuccessfully attempted rehabilitation in 2005 and continued to spiral in subsequent years. After his methadone overdose in 2007, Eminem was committed to his recovery and has been sober ever since. “I feel like this is the time in your life when you stop doing those things,” he said of his reluctance to try drugs again. “Time to grow.”
Eminem also revealed that his friendship with Elton John, another sober celebrity, helped him stay on track. “Usually he calls me once a week to check up on me, just to make sure I’m aware,” he said. “Actually, he was one of the first people I called when he wanted to clean up.” It definitely seems like an unlikely celebrity pairing, but we all agree.
Robert Downey Jr.’s Miraculous Journey
Before his second act as Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Robert Downey Jr. was a talented Hollywood heartbreaker whose addictions and arrests overshadowed his acting career. “You would have to go far, far behind” to trace Downey Jr.’s drug story, The Guardian said in a 2003 interview.
The actor began using drugs at a young age and rose in Hollywood with roles including a drug addict in the 1987 movie Less Than Zero, which earned him acclaim as he made his substance abuse problems worse. “I was playing this [junkie] boy and, for me, the role was like the ghost of the Christmas future.”
Over the next 15 years, the Sherlock Holmes star would land in rehab multiple times and face numerous drug-related arrests, several of which led to jail, including a famous incident in 1996 where he was found passed out in the bed of his neighbors’ 11-year-old son. Downey Jr. made a commitment to sobriety in 2002, as he told Oprah Winfrey two years later, and has since avoided any problems with the law.
Speaking to Vanity Fair In 2014 about his rehab experiences and return to the outside world, Downey Jr. explained, “The first job is to get out of that cave. Many people go out but do not change. So the thing is to get out and come through the crucible forged in stronger metal. ”
Rob Lowe celebrates being sober
Rob Lowe reached 29 on his sobriety trip in 2019, commemorating the milestone with an Instagram post “celebrating” his many years of sobriety. “Thank you to all who have inspired me on this wonderful, challenging and life-changing journey,” he wrote. “If you, or someone you know, is struggling with alcohol or addiction, there MAY be a future of hope, health, and happiness. And one day comes at a time.”
Alcohol had been a part of the actor’s life from his early days as a teen star in Hollywood. Lowe told NPR in a 2011 interview that alcohol use was prevalent on the set of the 1983 film The Outsiders , despite the fact that he and many of the other cast members were teenagers. “You have a beer and you don’t think about it,” he said. “It was a culture that was very different.”
Years of addiction and scandals followed until Lowe stopped drinking forever. “You need to literally finish,” he said of his mentality to stop drinking. “When I was ready, when I went to rehab, if I had been told to stand in a corner without my clothes on, standing on my head, I would have. I wouldn’t have asked questions.”
Jamie Lee Curtis broke her family’s addiction cycle
Jamie Lee Curtis had a secret addiction to Vicodin for more than a decade, and said she had become sober “[her] greatest individual achievement” in an interview with People in 2018. “Bigger than my husband, bigger than my two children and bigger than any job, success, failure. Anything”.
As a result, several members of the actress’s family suffered from substance abuse problems, including her father, beloved actor Tony Curtis, who abused alcohol, cocaine, and heroin. “I am breaking the cycle that has basically destroyed the lives of generations in my family,” Halloween starlet revealed.
During an interview with Variety in 2019, Curtis recalled a humiliating experience in 1998, when she stole Vicodin from his sister, Kelly Curtis. Explaining what happened after she confessed, Jamie Lee said, “[Kelly] just looked at me and reached out and hugged me and said, ‘You’re an addict and I love you, but I’m not going to watch you die.'” Soon after, Curtis began attending recovery meetings, which she continued to frequent in subsequent decades.
“At recovery meetings, anyone raising opiates, the whole room will turn and look at me, because I’m going to say, ‘Oh, talk to me. I’m the opiate girl,” she explained to People.
Zac Efron discovered a new approach through sobriety
Zac Efron confessed having struggles with alcohol and drugs in the years after his important role in the 2006s High School Musical. After a period of “drinking too much,” Efron began attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and saw a therapist, something he revealed to the Hollywood Reporter in 2014. “I just started going,” he said, “and I think it has changed my life. I am much more comfortable with my own skin. Things are much easier now.”
Efron attributed his substance abuse problems to the challenges of acclimatizing to the Hollywood lifestyle. “I mean, you’re in your twenties, single, going through life in Hollywood, you know?” He said about the circumstances that led to his party lifestyle. “Everything is thrown at you. I would not withdraw anything; I needed to learn everything I did.”
As he told Elle in 2016, his new alcohol-free lifestyle also provided more “structure,” adding, “[It] led me to a balance of opposites: You take what you put out of life,” Efron explained.
Jada Pinkett Smith hit rock bottom before recovering
Jada Pinkett Smith has openly addressed her demons on her Red Table Talk show on Facebook, including her porn addiction. The Smith family matriarch also revealed that she struggled with her past alcohol use and eventually stopped drinking “cold turkey.”
Smith described how he stopped drinking after “[hitting] rock bottom” in the July 2018 Red Table Talk episode. “I was alone in the house, I had those two bottles of wine and I was looking for the third bottle and I was like ‘Are you alone in this house looking for the third bottle of wine? You might have a problem.'”
Pinkett Smith even dedicated a full April 2023 Red Table Talk episode of addiction problems, in which he spoke to her mother, Adrienne Banfield Norris, a former heroin addict, about strategies for staying sober under the COVID-19 quarantine. “Quarantine put me back in touch with going to [recovery] meetings because I started going online,” Banfield Norris told Pinkett Smith.
Elton John’s decades of discipline
After decades of substance use in the 1970s and 1980s, Elton John stopped drinking and using drugs in 1990. “I realized how crazy my life was, because I was going in and out of a drug-fueled haze in the 1980s,” he said to NPR in 2012, lamenting that his substance abuse prevented him from advocating for people living with HIV/AIDS, a cause that has been central to his recovering life. “I was a gay man who really sat on the sidelines.”
Calling the years before his “bottom line” got sober, John retired from music for “an entire year” and attended up to five recovery meetings every day. “When you get out of treatment, it’s like being reborn,” Variety interview said in 2019. “You are so stripped and completely vulnerable. It is like starting life again with a new rulebook for living.”
John proudly announced the Twitter in July 2019 that he had been sober for 29 years, sharing a photo of his Alcoholics Anonymous coin and reflecting on his past as a “broken man.” As he wrote on his page, “I finally mustered the courage to say 3 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. ”
Kristen Davis says sobriety changed her life
The informal cocktail may have been a central activity for the characters in Sex and the City, but in real life, Kristen Davis considers herself a recovering alcoholic. The actress, famous for her portrayal of Charlotte York in the HBO sitcom, revealed during a 2018 interview with Origins with James Andrew Miller podcast that “[she] doesn’t think [she] would be alive” if she hadn’t turned sober.
Davis called herself “an addict [and] a recovering alcoholic” during the episode, proclaiming that acting was “the only thing [her] ever did sober.” Then she added: “I had nothing that was so important to me other than trying to hinder my senses.” However, Sex and the City alum had a saving grace: “Because my love for acting was so great … when I was young, I had something that was more important to me than just drinking”.
Davis, born in South Carolina, attributed her alcohol problems to her upbringing in the South in a 2002 interview with the Guardian, stating that “in the South, almost everyone drinks.” And although she admitted that “sometimes it would be good to have a little red wine with dinner,” she opposes against it. “I have a great life, a great situation,” she said. Why would I want to risk self-destructive behavior?