Through television, movies, and social media, we are often witnesses to the glitzy and glamorous side of our favorite celebrities. People often believe that money and success can buy happiness and prosperity. But, there’s another side to being a celebrity, a darker side, that as an audience we often don’t see. In this article, we’re going to discuss six celebrities who have dealt with alcoholism in the past.
Drew Barrymore spent nearly a lifetime in the Hollywood spotlight, becoming a nationwide star at the age of seven when she co-starred in Steven Spielberg’s award-winning science fiction film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. With that sudden fame, she emotionally spiraled at a young age, developing a drinking problem by the age of 11. Her parents were so concerned with her behaviors that they put her in an institution by the time she was 14. In an interview with The Guardian, she discussed how she felt about the experience, “I needed that whole insane discipline. My life was not normal. I was not a kid in school with normal circumstances. There was something very abnormal, and I needed some severe shift.” Today, Drew Barrymore has persevered through her childhood addictions and maintained a 30-year long career in entertainment spanning over 40 movies and a dozen TV shows.
Samuel J. Jackson
This award-winning actor has had countless classic roles over his long-spanning career in entertainment including Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction, John Shaft II in Shaft, and Nick Fury throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Box Office Mojo lists Samuel L. Jackson as the highest all-time box office star ever. But, through his success, Samuel L. Jackson has dealt with a heavy drug and alcohol addiction. He started drinking and using drugs in the early 1970s while he was still performing in the theatre. Jackson has been sober for over 25 years and links his success at the box office to his sobriety. But, like many other recovered alcoholics, every day is a battle and he still fights the urge to drink.
Mary J. Blige
Mary J. Blige has had a successful career as a musician and as an actress. She has won nine Grammy awards and three Academy Award nominations for the film Mudbound. Her talent throughout both acting and music is undeniable. Throughout her career, she’s struggled with drug and alcoholism. Blige credits her recovery to her now ex-husband Kendu Isaacs, who pushed her to become a better person and leave her alcoholism in the past. Currently, Blige plays Cha-Cha in the newly released Netflix original series The Umbrella Academy and is set to release her next full-length studio album later on in 2019.
This English actor is most well-known for his title role in the Harry Potter series, which he played for a decade. Throughout his career playing the wildly popular character, he was dealing with alcoholism at the same time. He quit drinking cold-turkey a year after he filmed the last Harry Potter film and has not had any alcohol since. In order to change his behavior, he began to get into exercise and went on long runs to combat his thoughts of drinking again. He’s recently starred in a TBS series entitled Miracle Workers and is currently filming the movie Escape from Pretoria, a movie two South African man who planned an escape from prison.
Jada Pinkett Smith
Jada Pinkett Smith is an actress whose career skyrocketed in the early 1990s due to roles in popular television shows such as A Different World and films such as Set It Off, The Nutty Professor, and Scream 2. During an episode of her talk show Red Table Talk, she opened up about her bouts with addiction. She proclaimed that she was addicted to many things throughout her career, including drugs, sex, the gym, and alcohol. Smith then began to talk about her ‘rock bottom,’ “I remember reaching a rock bottom that time I was in the house by myself and I had those two bottles of wine and I was going for the third bottle. And I was like, “Now hold up. You’re in this house by yourself going onto your third bottle of wine, you might have a problem.” Smith then went cold turkey, and successfully broke her addiction. Recently, she secured a Daytime Emmy nomination for her talk show Red Table Talk.
Tobey Maguire has spent his whole life in the spotlight and is most well-known for his popular roles in the Spiderman series. But, what you may not be aware of about the actor, is that he dealt with heavy alcohol addiction throughout his early adulthood. Columbia Pictures, the studio behind the Spiderman series, believes his behavior was so bad that they were planning on replacing him with another actor, Jake Gyllenhaal, in the Spiderman series.
He began going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in the early 2000s, and speaks highly of the experience, proclaiming that it completely changed his life. He has since turned his life around and continued his long-time career in the entertainment industry. Recently, he has since brought his career behind the camera and has produced multiple full-length films. In his last acting role, he voiced the narrator in Dreamworks Animation’s film The Boss Baby.
Alcoholism is a powerful disease that affects millions of people around the world from celebrities to the average Joes. Even though each of the previously mentioned celebrities may look like they are living a glamorous life from the outside, they each dealt with addiction and came out the other side as a stronger person, sober person. If you are dealing with alcoholism, you have the power to beat your addiction as well. Understanding that you have a problem is half the battle, you are a warrior for making it this far. Do not be afraid to reach out to the people around you for help, and you will reach the land of sobriety before you know it.