Celebrities in Recovery

Addiction doesn’t discriminate. It can affect absolutely anyone – including the rich and famous. Hollywood seems like an environment rife with temptation. Drugs and alcohol permeate celebrity culture, even though the vast majority of it is hidden from the public eye. Lots of celebrities have battled drug or alcohol addiction, but many of the have succeeded in overcoming it and maintaining their careers. Their stories can inspire the rest of us. Here are some famous celebrities who are currently in recovery.


Elton John

Elton John is one of the most successful singer-songwriters ever. He’s sold more than 250 million records and has had more than 50 Top 40 hits. In the 1970’s, he battled addictions to cocaine and alcohol. He survived an overdose in 1975 and numerous suicide attempts. He also struggled with the eating disorder bulimia. Finally, in 1990 he got sober.


Robin Williams

Robin Williams is a very funny comedian and successful actor who has starred in such movies as Good Will Hunting and Mrs. Doubtfire, and the TV show Mork & Mindy. In the 1970’s and 1980’s he was addicted to cocaine and an alcoholic. He says that the death of his friend John Belushi pushed him to stop using drugs. In 2006, he relapsed and checked in a treatment center for alcohol abuse and has since been sober.


Jamie Lee Curtis

Known as the “Scream Queen” for her early roles in horror movies such as Halloween and Prom Night, Jamie Lee Curtis is a successful actress who won a Golden Globe for her role in True Lies. She became addicted to pain killers after having minor surgery when she was 35 years old. She was also an alcoholic. She got sober in 1999 and calls it her “single greatest accomplishment.”


Robert Downey, Jr.

Perhaps one of the more infamous celebrity addicts, Robert Downey, Jr. is a very talented actor with a long history of drug abuse. He was arrested numerous times in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. After a few different rehab stays and attempts at sobriety, he finally got clean in 2001. He says he stays sober with the help of the 12 Steps, his wife, and yoga.


Martin Sheen

Martin Sheen, actor in such classic films as Wall Street and The Departed, battled alcoholism but got sober in the 1980’s. He is a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, and he credits his religion, Catholicism, with helping him in recovery. His son, Charlie Sheen, is infamously battling addiction – a Hollywood example of how addiction can be hereditary.


Jane Lynch

Hilarious actress Jane Lynch has had roles in movies like Best in Show and The 40-Year-Old Virgin. She currently stars in the hit show Glee, which she has won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for. She got sober in 1991 after realizing her drinking was out of control. She talks about her struggles with alcoholism in her memoir Hyperion Voice.


Steven Tyler

Lead singer of the iconic band Aerosmith and current judge on American Idol, Steven Tyler was addicted to heroin and cocaine. He used with all the members of his group, and he contracted Hepatitis C from intravenous use. In 1986 he went to rehab and got clean after an intervention. He later relapsed but has been clean since completing rehab for pain killer abuse in 2009.


  1. Kim Wallace-Croasdell says

    I love all things 12 step, but what I love more is that I've learnt to stay in my own hoop!!

    23 clean -UK

  2. Kim Wallace-Croasdell says

    I love all things 12 step, but what I love more is that I've learnt to stay in my own hoop!!

    23 clean -UK

  3. Nadine says

    They did mention AA however, its the individuals right to share their anonymity. And I'm sure they asked to use it. A lot of people don't mind their anonymity being broken. It says in our reading we weren't ashamed of the past. Now for the person so worried about breaking the 11th tradition. You just broke your own anonymity by saying that. Because really we in the program are the only people who know about traditions...lol
    I'm very grateful that actors who have struggled can freely talk about it. We all know alcoholism and addiction doesn't care whether you are rich or poor. Have a good one everyone!!

  4. Janne says

    Right on, Nadine! While the anonymity of others "in the rooms" is a tradition I/we pledge to honor, my own anonymity is mine to do with as I please. We are a society of people who feel safe sharing secrets, but we are not a secret society.

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