Victorious: Celebs Who Overcame Drug Addictions
Although it was a lot of work, once these celebs who overcame drug addictions put down the hard stuff they never looked back.
Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr.’s career was almost derailed by his drug addiction. His father introduced him to pot when he was just six years old and since then it was a downward spiral for the actor who became such a liability that he was passed up for numerous movie roles. Downey divided his time between prison stints and rehab and has been sober and drug free since 2003. He credits his sobriety to his family, friends, 12-step recovery programs and yoga.
Samuel L. Jackson
Few actors have done as many movies as Samuel L. Jackson and his career ended up saving his life. Jackson had such a severe drug problem that he overdosed on heroin several times. The “Snakes on a Plane” star was sent to rehab more than once but each time he ended up escaping. Jackson found his role as a junkie in “Jungle Fever” cathartic because it opened his eyes to how dangerous a drug condition can be and it inspired him to quit once and for all.
Who could ever forget Charlie Sheen’s very public battle with the creator of “Two and a Half Men” Chuck Lorre? Sheen’s drug fueled, hard partying ways ended up causing a problem on the show and he was ceremoniously fired. Sheen maintained that he always showed up to the set on time ready to work but did admit that he had a drug problem. Sheen sought treatment while he was holed up in his mansion and has said he’s kicked the habit and is now clean and sober.
As the daughter of a legendary R&B singer, Nicole Richie has lived a privileged life. But with all that time on her hands, Richie found herself bored and that’s when she started experimenting with drugs. That led to an addiction. At 18 years old, the socialite went into treatment for help with cocaine. Several years later, she was back but this time with an addiction to heroin. Now clean and sober, Richie is a married mother of two and currently stars in a brand new reality show about her life.
As the lead singer for the Gap Band, Charlie Wilson shot into fame and stardom. But all of that took a toll on Wilson, who developed an addiction to drugs. His addiction to cocaine and alcohol controlled so much of his life, Wilson became homeless and was sleeping on Hollywood Blvd for several years in the 90’s. In 1995, Wilson sought treatment. It was there that he met his future wife, his social worker during his time in the drug program. Wilson has been clean since.
Drew Barrymore grew up in Hollywood and didn’t have your typical childhood. In front of the camera before she was out of diapers, Barrymore started smoking cigarettes at the age of nine, began drinking alcohol by 11, first smoked marijuana at 12 and was snorting cocaine by 13 years old. By the time she was 14, the future “Charlie’s Angel” star was admitted into rehab. A suicide attempt at the same age had her back in treatment for a second time. Estranged from her mother, Barrymore is now a married mother of two dedicated to providing her children with a normal upbringing.
Singer Chaka Khan has been in the entertainment industry for decades and has seen a lot and been through it all. Khan has struggled with both drugs and alcohol. The “Ain’t Nobody” singer was addicted to cocaine and heroin but kicked the habit in the early 90’s. However she still struggled with her dependency on alcohol. Khan has been in treatment before and recently, she checked into rehab again for a refresher and was in the same facility as Lindsay Lohan. Khan has been sober since 2005.
Naomi Campbell owned the catwalk and made a name for herself as one of the fiercest supermodels to ever strut their stuff. Her anger also helped her make a name for herself. The long-legged beauty once sued a London tabloid for slander and during the trial she finally came clean about her drug use and subsequent treatment. Campbell attended Narcotics Anonymous one to three times a day for a year. “I attended Alcoholics Anonymous, although I never had a drink problem, and Narcotics Anonymous, because I believe it is my best chance of dealing with my addiction,” she admitted on the stand.
Before she retired from her long-running talk show, Oprah Winfrey was the best at what she did. Every day people and celebrities alike would confess their deepest, darkest secrets to Winfrey. Perhaps they felt comfortable with her because she’s been an open book herself and has shared her struggles with her audience. Back in the 80’s the Chicago transplant was addicted to crack cocaine. She made this admission on her show years later after kicking the habit when a guest opened up about her own struggles.
Being one of the biggest rap stars on the planet has its ups but it also has some drawbacks. Normally a quiet and reserved person, Eminem was thrust into the spotlight and he had trouble dealing with the fame. The Detroit rapper started using alcohol and pain medication as a crutch to deal with the constant pressures of being a celebrity. After a near fatal overdose in 2005, the “Bezerk” rapper was hospitalized and forced to deal with his addiction. His good friend Elton John convinced him to get help and he eventually kick the habit.
Kid Cudi shot to fame with his hit song “Day N Nite.” He gained a legion of fans who liked his dark and brooding music. A heavy user of marijuana, the rapper-turned-actor used to write much of his music under the influence. In 2010, he was arrested for cocaine possession and decided it was time to make a change. A year later he finally cleaned himself up and to celebrate his new sobriety, he got a tattoo on his wrist that symbolized the death of his old addicted self.
It’s no secret that rock stars would often dabble with various drugs but Steven Tyler picked up an addiction before he even picked up a microphone. The future frontman for Aerosmith struggled in his high school classes and started using drugs to compensate. The habit followed him throughout much of his career. Finally in 1986, Tyler’s bandmates convinced him to enter rehab. As a result from his intravenous drug use, Tyler contracted Hepatitis C and was diagnosed with the disease in 2003.
Demi Lovato is one of the younger stars to have battled with a drug addiction. She got her start in the entertainment world early in life by joining the cast of “Barney & Friends.” Since then she’s branched out into singing but in 2010, Lovato took a break from her career to seek some help. She entered a three-month rehab program to deal with her self-harm issues as well as help with her addiction to various drugs and alcohol. Living a much healthier lifestyle now, Lovato recently wrapped up her national tour.
Some musicians feel they write their best songs while under the influence and Keith Richards is certainly one of them. The Rolling Stones rocker had such a huge drug problem that he was dubbed the “pirate junkie.” An avid user of cocaine and heroin, Richards said he ended up quitting because of the law but insists that the drugs helped him write some of the group’s greatest songs. “If I stayed up I got a few more songs out of it,” he told “Men’s Journal.” “It’s like Churchill said about alcohol, ‘Believe me – I’ve taken a lot more out of alcohol than its ever taken out of me!’ And I kind of feel the same way about the dope and stuff.”
Growing up with a rock star for a father has its ups and its down. Unfortunately for Kelly Osbourne, she followed in her father’s footsteps towards an addiction. At the age of 17, the “Fashion Police” star ended up getting addicted to Vicodin, eventually popping as many as 50 pills a day. In 2009 she sought help for her addiction and has been clean and sober since then.