Mar 17, 2015 | By Tim Stoddart

5 Celebrities Who Have Bounced Back From a Relapse

Addiction & Recovery News

celebrities who have come back from a relapse

Being famous definitely has its perks. But, it also has its downfalls. Some might argue that fame and drugs go hand-in-hand and that it’s probably a common occurrence to see, be around, or use drugs when you’re famous. And no doubt, there have been numerous tragic stories of celebrities who have succumbed to their drug addiction. But, we’re here to talk about something positive: Celebrities who have relapsed but who have also bounced back and are thriving!

But first, a word about addiction and relapse. One of the main working definitions of addiction is that it is a chronic, progressive, relapsing disorder. Now, that doesn’t mean that everyone who is recovering from drug addiction will relapse at one time or another. However, keep in mind that addiction is an insidious disease that can sneak up on you and the statistics don’t lie: Information gathered by drug and alcohol rehabs show that the percentage of people who will relapse after rehab and even after a having had a period of sobriety ranges from as much as 50% to an astonishing 90%.

Being in recovery can be tough, no doubt. Being a celebrity in recovery is possibly tougher. We’re told we need to change “people, places, things” but, it’s got to be hard to do that if you’re a celebrity in Hollywood. As a member of an exclusive group, you’d have to mingle with some of the same people as before, visit a lot of the same places and attend the same events (think: Oscars and all those before and after parties and all of that alcohol), as well as be a part of the same microcosm of other famous people.

Here are 5 celebs that relapsed but are sober now.

Robert Downey Jr.

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RDJ was the epitome of a chronic-relapser. After repeated attempts at rehab though, the actor has been drug-free since 2003, proving that recovery is possible. He credits his family, therapy, a twelve-step recovery program, yoga and meditation, and the practice of Wing Chun Kung Fu.

Downey is an inspiring role model to many in recovery: after struggling for so long with a raging drug addiction and its consequences (Downey is no stranger to the justice system), he is thriving in sobriety. With over four decades in the business and an amazing list of credits to his name – the Iron Man franchise, Sherlock Holmes 1 and 2, a hilariously memorable role in Tropic Thunder – RDJ has managed to stay relevant and fresh and is more successful than ever.


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Several years ago, Eminem was struggling with alcohol and painkillers and decided to go to rehab. Within the first three weeks, he relapsed and within a month his addiction was worse than ever.

“I don’t know at what point exactly it started to be a problem,” Eminem said in an interview. “I just remember liking it more and more. People tried to tell me that I had a problem.” He eventually began mixing pills, which led to an overdose. The rapper was rushed to the hospital when he went into organ failure. A month after being released from the hospital, Eminem experienced another relapse.

He says he effectively got sober on April 20, 2008 and considers Elton John to be a close friend and mentor during that difficult time.

Gerard Butler

gerard butler sober
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Before becoming an actor, Butler accepted an offer from Glasgow University to study law and, upon graduation, he earned a position as a trainee lawyer at a law firm in Edinburgh. But, due to his alcoholic lifestyle, he frequently missed work and, one week before he would qualify as a full-fledged lawyer, he was fired.

Around this time, Butler’s father passed away. Butler has said of this period in his life: “I had gone from a 16-year-old who couldn’t wait to grasp life to a 22-year-old who didn’t care if he died in his sleep.” The 25-year-old unqualified lawyer then moved to London in order to pursue an acting career.  Butler has admitted that, “When I started out, I’m not sure I was actually in it for the right reasons. I wanted very much to be famous.”

Although Butler quit drinking 15 years ago, he was in rehab just a few years back – this time for an addiction to prescription painkillers. Butler began taking painkillers after an injury while shooting the movie Shattered in 2007. “I started taking more. And I started taking them very quickly.” He says he sought treatment through a rehab before it got too out of hand. Butler has been clean and sober ever since.

Kelly Osbourne

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Singer-songwriter, actress, television personality, and fashion designer, Kelly Osborne has made quite a name for herself. However, it wasn’t without its struggles – namely – drug addiction. As the saying goes, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and Kelly unfortunately takes after her dad, musician Ozzy Osbourne, when it comes to substance abuse.

Both father and daughter are clean and sober today. But not without their respective relapses.

At the age of 17, Kelly became addicted to Vicodin – something that had been inadvertently documented on the family’s reality TV show, The Osbournes.

After a fourth stint in rehab in 2009, Kelly said that she finally felt optimistic about her chances at recovery. “After 30 days, I left rehab. For the first time, I felt hopeful. I knew I’d been given another chance at my life, at my career, at happiness. I wanted to grab it.”

Keith Urban

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Musician and American Idol judge Keith Urban is no stranger to rehab – he has been there three times to treat addictions to cocaine and alcohol.

“The truth is that I wasn’t even aware of where it was at in my life and how it was just going to come down and take me down like it did,” he told Ellen in 2010. “I was probably in such a state of denial that I consciously wasn’t aware of it.”

After experiencing one relapse, he checked himself into the Betty Ford Center in California in October of 2006. At that time, Urban issued a statement regarding the nature of the disease of addiction, saying: “One can never let one’s guard down on recovery, and I’m afraid that I have.”

Urban has been clean and sober for the better part of a decade now and has continued to enjoy great success. Urban has two daughters with wife, Nicole Kidman, and continues to tour as well as sit as judge for one of America’s most popular television programs.

30 responses to “5 Celebrities Who Have Bounced Back From a Relapse

    • laura truitt

      9 years ago

      Hello, my name is Laura and I’m sober 4 1\2 years today…it has been a long journey but it is totally doable….I also had an addition to opiates….if you need to talk my email is….contact anytime….

    • Try AA or NA I’m an addict also but I found recovery in AA. Slot of people say they want to get sober, then you tell them what they need to do and they don’t do it…Go to meetings, get a sponsor, work the twelve steps, and help others, in that order. You too can do this. There is a wonderful sober life waiting for you.

    • Ron I too abuse those two meds. They are perscribed for chronic pain from lupus and arthritis. There is no cure for either disease and mine is killing me quickly so I have a hard time I do need them but I have to quit overdoing it. I wish you well

    • Bella Angel

      9 years ago

      Stop doing the oxycodone and use the methadone as treatment instead of addiction. Methadone saved my life!

    • I’ll speak to ur heart….what does it need to hear? Truthfully!

  • April daunis

    9 years ago

    This is a good one I think it’s good for people to see other people who have succeeded in recovery so they know it is possible. I and an addict heroin was my drug of choice. I have been clean from it for two yes with the help of a methadone program I do not consider my self dirty because I am on methodone. Others might disagree but I live a normal life where as on heroin I didn’t. I also am down to 18 mgs of methadone from 155 .it takes time to come off it but u want it it is possible I also know people who will be on methadone forever because they get off and they relapse over and over but on methadone they stay clean. I beleave methadone can help people if that’s the way they choose to go but I don’t think it should be a forever thing. Any way my point was I like to see success stories I like to see that people succeed in recoverory.

  • Dear God,
    Please give Ron the strength and courage to make that call and walk toward hope.

  • This sheds a lot of light on how it IS possible to succeed at living a healthy, sober life. There is life after addiction, and if people can admit they have an issue like these admirable celebs, that’s the first step in living an amazing life, clean and sober.

  • sobriety is a dance

    vigilance is required

    see for awesome inner practice

  • Tim Myers

    9 years ago

    I am currently hooked on Suboxone. I don’t know whether to go to a doctor and hope that they will prescribe Suboxone to me so I can stop by them and take them legitimately. I need help tho.

  • John Stuart

    9 years ago

    Sober<3<3<3<3<3 Staying off booze enjoying recovery. Odaat.

  • I would go talk to a suboxone doctor… im in the process of being stepped off of it… down to a 1/4 and I feel pretty good so far… but everyone is different. . But at least.. you shoule be monitored and on a legitimate plan… instead of self medicating… Good Luck… also check out

  • Andy Hodge

    9 years ago

    Feel for u Ron. And love that Rob Downey Jnr does the Kung Fu. T’ai chi ch’aun was a good stable practice in my recovery.

  • I’m slowly killing myself with heroin. Chronic relapser. I want to b clean again and not so financially destitute but i can’t even fathom going into work sick. I still have to make money and live even if I’m not gonna spend it all on drugs. I’m just so terrified of withdrawal because I’ve had to do it so many times. I remember that when I’m clean im capable of feeling and experiencing hope. But god right now i just can’t. It’s all fear and desperation…

    • Licia, visit the nearest methadone clinic tomorrow! It will save your life! It saved mine! Yes, if you choose to taper off, it will take a long time to taper off, but. …you will not be sick, ever!! and you CAN live a normal life!

    • I know exactly what you mean. I too am addicted to heroin I have been for the last couple years before heroin it was painkillers it was always something to take the oain away mentally, emtionally, and physically. However, now with opiates when you want to quit it’s almost immposible. The withdrawals are agony. I have to go to work to make money,but you can’t go into work withdrawing so you go to work to supply your habit so you can go to work not sick. Its a endless hopeless circle. I was on methadone that seemed to help for a week but then I relapsed and couldn’t go back since. So I don’t know where to go from here. I’ve been to treatment twice. And I’m only 19 it seems like I have a long road ahead of me I just wish I could straighten it out before it gets worse..

  • For me it’s all about consistency and being able to get my thoughts to be happy ones . Getting up and being happy in my mind to go through the day and have happy thoughts….If I can get my thoughts to stay positive I can conquer the day, whatever is thrown my way.

  • I have one question. Ron are u willing to go to any lengths to get sober? You have to be completely honest with yourself it can be scary but we can not let fear run our lives.

  • Louise Cockell

    8 years ago

    Prayers for Ron , please send him the strength to recover and receive help

  • That feeling of hope may be tiny but it is inside of you its only you that can find it.

  • leslie ryan

    8 years ago

    When I was growing up I patterned myself after the hard partying actors and musicians I adored. It’s awesome to see openly sober, super cool celebs…admirable role models.

  • I have been sober for 2 years and I am so grateful! I go to Celebrate Recovery at our church and the love and support I have received there has been life changing!!

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