7 Sober Celebrities: Their Stories About Addiction

Last Updated: Mar 5th 2020

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

7 Sober Celebrities: Their Stories About Addiction

Addiction is far more common than some people are led to believe. It doesn’t exclusively take those who see themselves as ordinary. Those we often deify, in other words celebrities, struggle to maintain sobriety just as much as the rest of society.

Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck is one of the better-known names in the circle of entertainment. He’s been in the game for a considerably long time, and he’s had massive success. Affleck is no “has-been” as he is still making successful movies, but it is worth mentioning that he’s had to step away from a few projects because of his substance abuse problems. 

Affleck has stated in the past that he consumed what may be considered a normal amount of alcohol for a long time. Over this period of time, he began drinking more and more, especially when his marriage was falling apart. This caused even more marital problems to exist. 

Part of the reason he began drinking was because of his compulsive behavior. A lack of comfort drove him towards doing whatever it took to be comfortable. When people try to make themselves feel better with drinking, drugs, or anything else that brings them pleasure, it is referred to as a coping mechanism. Most often these coping mechanisms end up making someone’s life even worse. Once that happens, the person has to cope even more because their life has gotten worse, and that’s what Ben has described happening to him. 

What’s perhaps most interesting is the fact that he had a pretty big franchise in the docket to film, act, and write. When Warner Brothers and DC were looking to launch a massive cinematic universe, Affleck became the Batman. Many fans were eagerly anticipating Affleck’s portrayal as the caped crusader in his first Batman solo flick. 

After putting some ideas to paper and writing a script, Affleck shared his project with a friend of his. His friend responded, telling him it was great, but that if he tried doing this that he would end up drinking himself to death. This is around the time that he decided to step away from the project. 

Affleck spent a lot of time trying to find his way back, and interestingly enough, he’s doing his own movies with his own ideas called, “The Way Back”. The project is centered around a drunken and reluctant high-school basketball coach who destroys his marriage and goes to rehab. For anyone who knows anything about everything he’s gone through in recent years, this project couldn’t hit more close to home. 

In 2018, Affleck and his wife, Jennifer Garner got a divorce after a pretty long separation. There’s a certain amount of shame that comes with divorce. Not only that, but also with recovering from a substance use disorder. Affleck has said that this shame had a detrimental impact on his self-worth.

Affleck, however, did not let that shame stop him from pursuing a life of stability and sobriety. He actually picked himself back up and learned from his mistakes. He’s stated that he’s learned a lot from his time recovering. He’s even mentioned other celebrities such as Robert Downey, jr. and Bradley Cooper that have helped him feel a great deal of support and love. 

Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper is another notable A-list actor who has once suffered from substance abuse. What’s perhaps the most sad is that when he was drunk, he would repeatedly harm himself. According to him, it’s these incidents that drove him to stop drinking. There was a report with Entertainment Tonight in which he disclosed that one night, he’d deliberately bashed his head on the concrete floor. He did this repeatedly until he was admitted for an overnight stay at a hospital.

Cooper, nowadays, has quit drinking and doing drugs completely. His biggest fear was not living up to his full potential, and addiction has a way of impeding that desire. Substance abuse ruins careers, families, and the well-being of many. Luckily, his journey hasn’t gone to waste; in fact, Cooper has inspired others to get sober. 

Brad Pitt

One of the better known names in hollywood for his charm and charismatic demeanor, Brad Pitt is someone who most may not have expected to struggle with addiction. In direct contrast, what’s a little bit more pleasant of a surprise is that Bradley Cooper helped him get sober. In fact, in an acceptance speech for an Academy Award, Pitt referenced Cooper, who actually presented him with the award, and shared with the audience how Cooper helped him out of the rutt. 

Robert Downey, Jr. 

Robert Downey, jr. is no surprise when it comes to troubled entertainers. His career in acting began in the 80s, and matured well in the 90s, leading award nominations. He had a very promising future, but it all came crashing down soon after in the late 90s. Downey, a drug user since his childhood days, had a vast number of drug arrests and jail time. It seemed hopeless; not even rehab was helping.

Downey was heading down a slippery slope. It seemed as though it was one thing after the other. He was having a hard time maintaining sobriety, keeping his job, and keeping his marriage afloat. Eventually his wife left, taking their child with her. Robert had hit rock bottom, and he had little interest in his passion, at least for a time.

Eventually, Downey spent some time in drug rehab again after his separation. This time, it would make a lasting impact on him. Over time, he started getting cast for movies and tv shows. He became more and more reliable as the days progressed, and according to the New York Times, RDJ has been sober since 2003. Since then he has proven to be an A-list, critical success, becoming the focal point of the cultural phenomenon ‘The Avengers’. 

Demi Lavato

There have been many Disney stars who have struggled with falling off the rails once their tenure has expired. Whether it’s a coping mechanism, or they just want people to see them as more than just a Disney kid, they all have a hard time adapting following their stardom. Demi Lavato was no exception. 

Lavato struggled with sobriety around the age of 18, and for this reason abruptly left a tour with the Jonas Brothers in 2010 to be treated in rehab for substance abuse, depression, and eating disorders. In 2018 she did another 60 days in rehab. Today, she has gratitude for her sobriety. She has stated that she feels strength in her body and is staying healthy with every day that passes. 

Daniel Radcliffe

There aren’t many people who are unfamiliar with one of the biggest franchises in cinema and literature history – Harry Potter. Daniel Radcliffe portrayed the persevering young wizard from the years 2001-2011. Devoting ten years to a major franchise is tough work. Sometimes, as he has admitted, Radcliffe felt as though he was being watched; he wasn’t sure how else to cope with it.

Daniel has suggested that child stars have it difficult because there’s no blueprint to cope with the pressures that come with fame. The way he explains it is as a vicious cycle. With everyone watching your every move, or at least when it seems that way, it becomes easier to forget about it when intoxicated; however, after being intoxicated even more people are watching because of the attention that is being drawn. Radcliffe has been sober since 2010. He found that the biggest help to him was from his friends. 

Ewan McGregor

There are many actors who have only a few big accomplishments on their resumes, but there are others who will go down as legends in cinema. One of these people is Ewan McGregor. Ewan is most notably recognized for his roles in the Star Wars prequels. Filling in the shoes of Sir Alec Guiness was not a task met with ease, but fans everywhere loved him to death. 

Not only that, but McGregor has also starred in films such as the antagonist of the recent Harley Quinn flick, Men Who Stare at Goats, and the sequel to The Shining, Doctor Sleep. Acting, however, is not the only thing he is famous for – Mcgregor has been known to struggle with addiction. 

Often times, he would show up on set smelling like alcohol. He even drank on his breaks. Things were not very good for McGregor in this regard, but he found some inspiration to pursue sobriety in his family. Drinking heavily had caused him a deficit of joy and connection with those who loved him the most. 

Eventually, Ewan would have a very difficult decision to make. He would have to choose between the thing that has helped him cope in times of difficulty, or he could choose to get help. Eventually, McGregor began attending therapy, and contributes his sobriety to the help he has received. 

There Is Hope for Those From Any Walk of Life

There are many who suffer from substance abuse; some people, namely celebrities, who humanity so quickly deifies, struggle with addiction. This disease is far more common than many are led to believe. If you would like to recieve help but don’t know how to take the first step, you can contact us here.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.