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Some High-Profile Celebrities Who Overcame Their Addiction

Dillon McClernon

Authored by Dillon McClernon

Celebrities are often seen as larger-than-life figures, but they’re human too. Many have overcome mental, sexual, eating, or substance use disorders. Here, we look at some of the more high-profile celebrities who have publicly struggled with addiction and how they managed to turn around and live a clean and sober life.

Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato has been open about their struggle with substance use and mental health disorders since their first stint in rehab in 2010. The singer/songwriter battled an eating disorder, bipolar disorder, and cocaine addiction.

But after six years of sobriety, they revealed they had relapsed in 2018. They even had a near-fatal drug overdose experience and spent two weeks in the hospital and three months in rehab. In December 2021, Demi said they’re now “sober sober” and not “California sober” (which means consuming alcohol and other drugs like marijuana in moderation).

Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr. is a testament to the power of resilience and redemption. After spending much of his teenage years and early 20s in and out of rehab and prison for cocaine, heroin, and alcohol abuse, the actor finally got clean in 2003. Downey Jr. went from being practically unhireable to one of the show industry’s most bankable and highly-paid actors. He’s starred in blockbuster comic book films like Iron Man, Tropic Thunder, The Avengers as Iron Man, and Avengers: Endgame.

Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore is a well-known actress who’s been in the spotlight since she was 6. She opened up about her struggles with alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine addiction, even penning a memoir as a teenager to recount her experiences. Her cocaine addiction saw her blacklisted in Hollywood at 12 years old.

Through that time, she went in and out of mental institutions and rehab. But after her suicide attempt at age 14 and more rehab, she pursued and got legal emancipation from her mother. Drew Barrymore started her own production company, Flower Films, and became a rom-com darling.

Bradley Cooper

Actor Bradley Cooper is no stranger to Hollywood life, but he didn’t always live in the fast lane. In 2006, Cooper was arrested and charged with possession of cocaine. He was able to beat the charges, but not before his arrest made international headlines and cast a shadow over his already-established career.

After facing the repercussions of his mistake, Cooper cleaned up and began to focus on healthier habits. He’s since become one of Hollywood’s leading actors and is an inspiration to those struggling with addiction.

Lindsey Lohan

Lindsey Lohan rose to fame as a child star in the movie The Parent Trap. But after appearing in a string of successful shows, including Mean Girls, Lohan began to spiral into an uncontrollable drug and alcohol habit. Eventually, her alcohol and cocaine use landed her in jail and rehab multiple times.

Lindsey is now sober for several years and has created her podcast, Lohdown, where she interviews people to learn about the great things they’re doing with their lives. She’s also back on the scene with her comeback film, Falling for Christmas.

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift is a powerhouse in the music industry, but that doesn’t mean she’s been immune to personal challenges. In 2020, the singer opened up about her struggle with an eating disorder and body image issues. She talked openly about her struggles in the Netflix documentary Miss Americana and said it was a difficult but necessary part of her journey. Swift is also an advocate for mental health awareness and has used her platform to spread a message of acceptance, love, and self-care.

Keith Richards

In his Memoir, Life, Keith Richards, a renowned rock and roll guitarist, opened up about his past addiction while in the Rolling Stones. He admitted to snorting cocaine, heroin, and alcohol through the years, and even once his father’s ashes in a cocaine line. Richards gave up heroin in 1978 after being busted five times. But he didn’t quit using cocaine until 2006 after he needed brain surgery from the coconut tree incident.


Grammy Award-winning singer Adele has also faced her share of personal challenges. In 2011, she opened up about her struggles with anxiety before performances. Worried about how she looked, Adele drank to reduce pessimistic feelings, gradually leading to alcohol addiction.

The Hello, Someone Like You and Easy on Me singer hit rock bottom when she got on stage while high and forgot the words to her song. This was the wake-up call she needed to know she had developed a substance use disorder.

Danny Trejo

Danny Trejo is a Hollywood legend, featuring in films like Machete, Breaking Bad, The Flash, and The Book of Boba Fett. But he didn’t always have it easy. Trejo became a heroin addict as a teen and was later busted trying to sell heroin to an undercover cop. He spent most of his late teens and early 20s in and out of jail.

Trejo attributes his initial move toward addiction recovery to a former addict and inmate who came to speak at his jail. He has been sober for 51 years and is an active advocate for addiction treatment programs.

These celebrities have all struggled with addiction and come out the other side as successful, well-respected icons. They serve as an uplifting reminder that recovery is possible and that you can achieve greatness even when life throws a curveball. Through their stories, they’ve spread awareness, hope, and inspiration to those still grappling with a substance abuse disorder.

If you or anyone close is struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, it’s essential to seek help as soon as possible. Recovery Centers of America (RCA) provides comprehensive addiction treatment for adults and adolescents. With our network of inpatient facilities and outpatient centers, RCA offers help to those seeking lasting recovery from substance abuse.

Our treatment plans are designed to meet the specific needs of each individual, and our experienced staff is here to offer support every step of the way. Get in touch today and start your journey to recovery.

Authored by

Dillon McClernon

Dillon McClernon

Dillon currently serves as the Senior Director of Sales and Marketing at RCA. After his tenure as Chief Communications Officer and senior advisor to RCA, he opted for a full-time position at RCA where he could build a new team linking sales and marketing to directly impact RCA’s mission of saving 1 million lives.


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