9 times celebrities were brutally honest about the ups and downs of addiction and recovery

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Gabbi Shaw
·11 min read
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Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato sang about her journey at the Grammys. Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images

Editor's Note: A warning that this article contains language describing suicide and descriptive language that could be triggering for anyone struggling with or recovering from substance abuse.

In April 2021, Kelly Osbourne revealed she relapsed after almost four years. "I'm sober today and I'm gonna be sober tomorrow, but it truly is just one day at a time," she said.

kelly osbourne

By the time Osbourne was 24 years old, she had attended rehab three times for an addiction to painkillers.

She first attended the Promises Treatment Center in Malibu, California, in 2004 after being caught with prescription drugs, but Osbourne called it "too comfortable" and likened it to "vacation without a bar."

Osbourne was back in rehab again by 2005, but she was unable to stay clean — when she moved to Los Angeles in 2009, it triggered a relapse.

"I couldn't see into tomorrow. I was using anything to make me sleep through the day. I got really into smoking pot," she told People in 2009. "It's so embarrassing, the number of times I've thrown myself down the stairs to try and hurt myself to get pills."

In August 2018 she said she was celebrating one year of sobriety. She wrote on social media that "things got really dark" and that she "gave up on everything in my life but most of all I gave up on myself."

Almost four years later, in April 2021, Osbourne shared on Instagram she had relapsed, but said she was currently sober.

"I relapsed. Not proud of it," the reality star said. "But I am back on track, and I will be doing a podcast this week where I tell everybody about what's going on and what happened."

She added that she's "sober today and I'm gonna be sober tomorrow, but it truly is just one day at a time."

Kelly Osbourne's famous father, Ozzy Osbourne, has also dealt with addiction and relapsing, sharing on Facebook in 2013 that he was "44 days sober."

kelly osbourne ozzy
Kelly and Ozzy Osbourne. Frazer Harrison/Getty

In 2013, the rock star revealed on Facebook that he had begun drinking and using drugs again after an unspecified stretch of sobriety.

He wrote, "For the last year and a half I have been drinking and taking drugs. I was in a very dark place and was an a--hole to the people I love most, my family. However, I am happy to say that I am now 44 days sober."

Eight years later, Osbourne is still clean and sober, though he has been open about the daily struggle. He told Goldmine Magazine, "I am not really happy being sober, but I don't want to get drunk."

After releasing a song in June 2018 implying she had relapsed, Demi Lovato was hospitalized a month later for an overdose. Now, she calls herself "California sober."

demi lovato
Demi Lovato. Getty Images

Lovato tweeted in March 2018 that she was celebrating six years of sobriety. But in June 2018, Lovato released a new song called "Sober" that discusses a relapse. When she released the song, she wrote "My truth" on Twitter, leading some fans to believe she was referring to a recent relapse.

The ballad stated she had begun drinking again, with lyrics like, "Mama, I'm so sorry I'm not sober anymore / And daddy please forgive me for the drinks spilled on the floor," and "I'm sorry for the fans I lost who watched me fall again / I wanna be a role model, but I'm only human."

Even though she proclaimed on stage she was "a new person with a new life," just a few weeks later Lovato was rushed to the hospital after an apparent overdose. After two weeks of silence, the singer confirmed she was on the road to recovery, writing on Instagram that she's "learned is that this illness is not something that disappears or fades with time. It is something I must continue to overcome and have not done yet," and that she needs "time to heal and focus on my sobriety and road to recovery."

In January 2020, Lovato sang a new song at the Grammys, "Anyone," the lyrics of which deal with addiction. It was her first performance since the overdose, and she was visibly emotional.

One year later, Lovato opened up about her relapse and overdose in her new documentary, "Dancing with the Devil. She has said that she now identifies as "California sober" — she smokes marijuana and drinks alcohol in moderation.

Dax Shepard had been sober for 16 years before a motorcycle accident led to him relapse in 2020.

dax shepard
Dax Shepard. Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images

He explained on his podcast that he began using the painkiller Vicodin, which he was prescribed after the accident in August 2020, and for eight weeks he was on it "all day."

"I know that's an amount that's going to result in a pretty bad withdrawal," he said during an episode of "Armchair Expert." "And I start getting really scared, and I'm starting to feel really lonely. And I just have this enormous secret."

Shepard even admitted that he was high while celebrating his 16-year sober anniversary.

"I was high at the meeting having people tell me they admire my sobriety," he said. "It was the worst thing in the world."

By the time the podcast aired, he revealed he had sought help and was on day 11 of sobriety.

Macklemore said the pressure of fame contributed to his relapse - he "just wanted to escape." He told Dax Shepard he relapsed again in 2020.

Macklemore
Macklemore. Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

In a 2015 interview with Complex, the "Same Love" rapper admitted he stopped going to his 12-step meetings because he was "burnt out" and "stressed," while he was trying to deal with his newfound fame, and all the pressure that comes along with it.

He admitted to hiding his backslide, and even hiding sleeping pills in his shoes. He also called himself "sneaky" and "deceitful."

"I'm rolling around like a 15-year-old trying not to get caught smoking weed in my car," he said, "Straight up, driving all around here, like I was 15 years ago. Same s---. I felt so dumb. I felt like I'm just wasting time. What am I escaping here?"

Macklemore decided to truly commit to recovery again once he found out his girlfriend was pregnant with their first child, saying, "Since I heard that Tricia was pregnant, I was like, I need to grow up right now."

In April 2021, the rapper told Dax Shepard that, like Shepard, he had relapsed in 2020. He said that he had listened to the episode where Shepard detailed his relapse, and it made him cry — and feel less alone.

"It was within two months of my COVID relapse, and the disease of addiction is crazy," he said. "It made me feel, as someone that had relapsed again, like a month or two before, that I'm not alone," he added.

Macklemore also said that speaking about it "lets other people feel that they're not alone."

Jamie Lee Curtis revealed in October 2018 that she struggled with opioid addiction for 10 years.

Jamie Lee Curtis
Jamie Lee Curtis. Getty

Curtis told People that she "had a 10-year run, stealing, conniving. No one knew. No one."

Both her father and half-brother struggled with addiction as well — her half-brother passed away due to a heroin overdose in 1994.

After getting prescribed painkillers after an operation in 1989, she said she was addicted for the next decade, and that she stole drugs from her family and friends. The "Halloween" star attended her first recovery meeting in 1999, and she has been working at sobriety ever since.

"I'm breaking the cycle that has basically destroyed the lives of generations in my family," Curtis said. "Getting sober remains my single greatest accomplishment ... bigger than my husband, bigger than both of my children, and bigger than any work, success, failure. Anything."

"The Hills" and "Laguna Beach" star Jason Wahler admitted to relapsing in February 2020 after previously being open about a relapse in April 2018.

jason wahler the hills
Jason Wahler. Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Star Magazine

Wahler has been very open with the public about his struggles with substance abuse — much of it was recorded on "The Hills" during his relationship with Lauren Conrad. The reality star even founded his own sober-living facility, Widespread Recovery.

He admitted in April 2018 on Instagram that he had relapsed, writing, "My name is Jason and I'm an alcoholic-addict. I have 39 days of sobriety after being active in my addiction for the past three + years; before that, I had four years of sobriety."

"However, I became complacent and I was blindsided," he continued. "I am beyond embarrassed. At first, I was full of shame and guilt, but I am learning to forgive and move forward."

Just under two years later, in February 2020, Wahler said that he "had another slip," but was currently "doing phenomenal." He said his relapses start from issues with his body image.

"It goes back to the body stuff and the insecurities. A lot of that is really where it stems from. At the age of 33, metabolism slows down and not being able to get back in shape and if I take this it will instantly cut off pounds and stuff like that," he said in 2019.

Keith Urban credits his wife, Nicole Kidman, with helping him maintain sobriety after two previous stints in rehab.

keith urban
Keith Urban. Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images

In a 2016 interview with Rolling Stone, the country star called his wife his salvation. Before she staged an intervention for him in 2006, Urban had been in rehab twice before only to relapse.

But before he met his wife, Urban went through rough times and struggled with dark thoughts.

He told Rolling Stone, "I remember thinking, 'I'm probably not going to make it until tomorrow.' And then I thought, 'F--- it. I really don't care. It'll be a relief to not have to. I'll take an Ambien and at some point I'll pass.'"

"I caused the implosion of my fresh marriage," he said. "It survived, but it's a miracle it did. I was spiritually awoken with her. I use the expression 'I was born into her,' and that's how I feel. And for the first time in my life, I could shake off the shackles of addiction."

Eminem has named two of his albums "Relapse" and "Recovery," symbolizing his own journey with addiction.

eminem
The real Slim Shady. Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Eminem has been extremely frank about his battles with drug abuse, naming two of his albums after terms associated with addiction: "Relapse" and "Recovery."

He told GQ in 2011 that rehab wasn't really for him, because everyone there was focused on him, rather than themselves.

Post-rehab, he ended up in the hospital after an overdose, and he was clean for two weeks before relapsing again. After a near-brush with overdosing again, he committed to getting clean, and now is able to reflect on addiction and his own addictive tendencies.

"I wish I was wired like a regular person and could go have a f----n' drink. But that's the biggest thing about addiction: When you realize that you cannot — for f---'s sake, you can not — f--- around with nothing ever again," he told GQ. "I never understood when people would say it's a disease. Like, 'Stop it, d---head. It's not a disease!' But I finally realized, F---, man — it really is."

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use, call SAMHSA's National Helpline (1-800-662-4357) to get confidential, free, 24/7 support for individuals and family members facing substance use disorders. The service offers referrals to treatment facilities, support groups, and more.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress, as well as best practices for professionals and resources to aid in prevention and crisis situations.

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