Sober Celebs: Who they are, and why they did it
By: Sarah Surrey, LCSW, CRAADC
Haven’t you heard? Recovery is all the rage. The new black. So cool, in fact, that these famous celebrities share their recovery journey openly. Their reasons for getting sober are just as unique as they are. Get all the details below!
WHO: Two-time, Academy Award Winning Anthony Hopkins
WHY: Career-wrecking outburts, and depression (and a surprising late-life diagnosis!)
Hopkin’s sobriety is not news. He has discussed his struggle with alcohol many times over his 45+ years of sobriety. What is news is his relatively new dual diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome. Dual diagnosis in addiction is incredibly common, with nearly 80% of people struggling with addiction and another mental health diagnosis. Hopkins is not an exception in that way, but it wasn’t until he was in his 70’s that he obtained this diagnosis. Hopkins discusses the diagnosis as a mind-opening experience that made much of the rest of his life “make sense”. He’s done the work for recovery for years, but peace of mind seems to have come with a broader picture that included an official diagnosis.
WHO: Daniel Radcliffe a.k.a Harry Potter
WHY: Blackout drinking at the height of super stardom
Radcliffe’s struggle with alcohol abuse started in the midst of his epic rise to worldwide fame as the character Harry Potter. By the time Radcliffe was just 18 years old, he noticed a pattern of nights out ending in blackout drinking on every occasion. He began to avoid the social consequences of drinking by drinking alone, inevitably leading to other alcohol related consequences.
Radcliffe has had two reported long-term sober period, his first lasting two years and his second over three years long. He does not openly call himself an alcoholic, but he has put concentrated effort into honest and long term sobriety.
WHO: Emmy-winning Talkshow Host Kelly Ripa
WHY: A long-term journey towards better health
Ripa joked in her daytime TV show that she may have single handedly caused a drop in the sale of wine in early 2020. In reality, Ripa and her husband Marc Consuelos began their sober journey in line with an increase in intentional living, and along with a clean eating lifestyle.
Her story supports the idea that a movement is happening that decreases alcohol consumption in connection with the positive impact of that choice, rather than waiting to make a change until life is full of unbearable consequences.
WHO: Actress and Podcast Host Jada Pinkett-Smith
WHY: Family history of addiction, and drinking alone
Married to Will Smith, and famous in her own right, Pinkett-Smith described a steady increase in her drinking habits over time. At the time that she noticed that she needed to make a change, she was easily drinking two bottles of wine a night, alone, at home. Another motivating factor was her clear family history of addiction. Over twenty years ago, she quit “cold turkey” and has been active in her own wellness journey, as well as in the addiction and recovery community, ever since. She also speaks openly about a tendency to get addicted to a range of things, including her struggle with sex addiction as a young woman.
WHO: Actress Eva Mendes
WHY: “Life and death”
Eva Mendes entered rehab in 2008 and has been sober ever since. Her tone takes a serious turn in any interview that focuses back on substance abuse issues because she acknowledges the struggle of so many famous, and regular, people. She sees the life and death struggle that it is, stating, “I’m proud of people who have the determination and fearlessness to go and face their demons, and actually get better.”
WHO: Hollywood Icon Brad Pitt
WHY: Hit his own rock bottom
Shortly after his divorce from Angelina Jolie, rumors flew about Pitt’s behavior and potential problem with alcohol. Pitt’s sobriety is relatively more recent, and arguably more traditional. He credits Bradley Cooper with reaching out to him to help him get sober. He also attended an all men’s group through Alcoholics Anonymous for nearly two years, and credits his consistent work with a therapist. Pitt says, “I took things about as far as they could go, and…finally stopped running from my feelings.”
While Pitt has been consistently open about his sobriety, it wasn’t until a 2020 awards ceremony, when he credited Bradley Cooper with helping him get sober, that the connection between the two super stars and sobriety became mainstream information. Cooper has been sober for decades, motivated by a realization that he couldn’t have two loves: substances and acting.
Two Shout-Out’s: John Mulaney and Dax Shepherd
WHY: Recent returns to sobriety
It’s no secret that comedian John Mulaney and actor/podcast host Dax Shepard take their recovery seriously. Both also admitted to relapses within the last year, after years of long term sobriety.
Shepard, who has discussed his recent relapse openly on his own podcast, began abusing prescription pain medication after a serious motorcycle accident. He discusses his quick spiral into dishonesty, gaslighting his wife, and admitting to his problem after recognizing the potential of losing his family.
Mulaney has offered far fewer details, but released a statement about returning to treatment.
Both should be applauded for their bravery, and their willingness to face a problem before losing everything. Recovery is rarely linear, and relapse happens. It never has to be the end of the story.
If you or someone you know has suffered a relapse, please reach out for help today. Harris House staff are on call, and waiting to assist you.