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Celebrities Who Have Battled Addiction–Part 2


As we continue our look at celebrities who have struggled with addiction, we come across more of those whose addiction has been splattered across the headlines. As addicts, or those caring for someone with an addiction, we can study these celebrities to see which have succeeded, which have failed, and why.


However, it is important to know that everyone’s situation is different and by no means is one person’s life a straightforward example of your own. It’s vital to have a support system of your own, whether it be family, friends, support group, or facility. Here is a look at more celebrities who have struggled with addiction.


Heath Ledger


He is known for many different movie roles from A Knights Tale to The Dark Night, but even more so, he is known for how he died. Heath’s career started in the early 90’s, getting roles on popular Australian television shows before getting his start in American movies, starring in 10 Things I Hate About You and The Patriot. At twenty-six he was nominated for an Academy Award and Globe for his role in Brokeback Mountain. Soon after, Heath took on the role of the Joker in The Dark Night and that’s where things took a turn.


He told a New York Times reporter that his roles in I’m Not There and The Dark Night caused him to lose sleep. He was exhausted, overthinking and only multiple sleeping pills would help, but even those put him in a funk. He was also dealing with a respiratory illness and common colds from working outside in damp conditions. It wasn’t widely known that Heath had suffered from substance abuse, but even Heath himself had stated that he used to smoke five joints a day for twenty years. It was rumored that his drug abuse is what ended his relationship with his partner Michelle Williams.


On January 22, 2008, Heath was found unconscious in his bed. Once the paramedics arrived, he was pronounced dead at the scene. When the toxicology report was released, it said that Heath had died as a result of combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam, and doxylamine. Although it was still an overdose, it was labeled accidental due to the fact that they were prescribed medications. It is, however, very uncommon for physicians to prescribe multiple benzodiazepines to one patient and it unknown how he acquired certain medications.


Drew Barrymore


Thrust into the spotlight at an early age, Drew Barrymore basically became famous before she was even born, due to being part of the infamous Barrymore family. By seven, she was already starring in one of the popular movies of the year (and years to come), E.T. When she was nine, her parents divorced, and her mother started taking her to places no nine-year-old should be - nightclubs. At these night clubs, she would meet older men who would get her into trouble. By twelve, she was already into the consumption of alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine and by thirteen she was checked into rehab for addiction and a mental institution after multiple suicide attempts.


When she was fourteen, she emancipated from her parents and got away from the effects they had on her. Working on her recovery, by the time she was seventeen, she was back in the acting world on her continued path towards recovery. Now, at forty-five, Drew is healthy with two young daughters of her own. She was also able to reconnect with her parents.


Matthew Perry


Everyone’s favorite friend, Matthew Perry, made (and continues to make) everyone laugh as his role as Chandler Bing on Friends. But what some people may or may not know is that Matthew has struggled with addiction. Matthew started his career in acting at the age of fifteen. He started acting on television shows, including Growing Pains where he played a character who sustained injuries from a drunk driving accident. In addition to film roles, Matthew has done a good deal of television, but Matthew is notorious for his role on Friends.


It was this role that caused him so much fame, that it was almost unbelievable. He had the fame and the fortune, but behind it all, he was suffering from alcoholism. After a jet ski accident in 1997, he became addicted to Vicodin and other drugs. Matthew entered and completed a 28-day program for his Vicodin, methadone, amphetamines, and alcohol addiction later that year. He admitted that he was so out of it, that he didn’t remember three years of his time on Friends. As you could visibly see on Friends, Matthew’s weight drastically fluctuated over the years. This was from both his addictions, but also from pancreatitis in 2000, which was caused due to his alcohol abuse.


In 2001, Matthew started his road to recovery, realizing without knowing exactly why, that he had to get sober. After spending two and a half months in rehab, Matthew was coming out on top. Matthew worked on his recovery and in 2011 lobbied members of Congress to support funding for drug courts and in 2013 he received an award from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy for opening a sober living home in Malibu. It was also in 2011 that he went back to rehab, just to keep focused on his continued recovery. Even Matthew admits that you can’t recover from addiction overnight, but it’s a day-to-day process.


Lindsey Lohan


Lindsey Lohan started her career as a model as a young child and stared on soap operas. At twelve she was staring in the modern twist on the classic, Parent Trap. She soon became a teen sensation and was an icon for young girls staring in films like Mean Girls, Life-Size, Freaky Friday, and more. Lindsey has also dabbled in music and fashion. Lindsey’s drug and alcohol abuse could stem from her rough childhood in the spotlight, but also from being put in the middle of her parent’s difficult divorce battle. She even had to cut off ties with her father.


Lindsey’s trouble with addiction started in 2007 when she was convicted of drunk driving and cocaine use, not once, but twice. She went to rehab three times and even served jail time (only 84 minutes, but still), community service, and three years’ probation. The first trip to rehab was not because of drugs or alcohol, but because of stress brought on by working.


After not attending drug counseling, she got another year of probation, no alcohol, random drug testing, and an alcohol bracelet added to her sentencing. A year later in 2010, Lindsey is sent to jail for violating probation and skipping counseling once again. Once she is released from jail less than a month later, she starts rehab. But unfortunately, the cycle continues and just a month later she fails a drug test and is sent back to jail, only to be able to be taken back to rehab instead. The cycle continues until 2012, going between jail time and rehab. Things start to look up in 2012, only for her to be involved in a substance involved accident and ordered back to rehab.


Today, Lindsey makes little reference to her recovery. She doesn’t publicly speak about being in recovery but states that recovery is important, that it is impossible to recover alone, and is thankful for treatment centers/programs. However, she does say that she mediates and is more spiritual now. She is now designing and managing nightclubs and learning from past mistakes and keeping on the straight and narrow path.