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.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.
EminemSeveral 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 ButlerBefore 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 OsbourneSinger-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 UrbanMusician 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.