5 Celebrities Who Struggled with Addiction and Overcame it

Sober Celebrity Signing an Autograph

Struggling against alcohol or drug addiction is a very rough position to be in. For so many people battling addiction, there’s a sense of helplessness to overcome it and sustain recovery long-term without relapsing. But, even super-stars are at risk of being overwhelmed by drug addiction. Millions of people, including celebrities, have done the work to overcome their drug or alcohol dependency, and now live much happier and more meaningful lives.

Consider just the few examples below, of people who have appeared to have everything going ideally in their lives, yet found themselves faced with addiction. But, they each made the choice to get appropriate drug and alcohol rehab, and went on with their lives, free from drug abuse.

Angelina Jolie

Angelina said she did virtually every kind of drug that exists, “Those were really dark times for me.” It’s hard to imagine such a beautiful, rich, famous woman struggling against depression and drug addiction. Yet, her biography is filled with accounts of disturbing experiences, including battling anorexia. But, she made her way out of a life of substance abuse. Then, clean and sober, she got the lead part in the first Lara Croft movie, which launched her into super-stardom. She went on to adopt children with Brad Pitt and built a rewarding life with her family.

Daniel Radcliffe

There was no such thing as living a normal life, like other young people had, as the Harry Potter film series launched Daniel into mega-stardom. As glamorous as that all may seem, the personal experience of it all proved to be very different from the image of it to the outside world, as so many other celebrities have discovered. Daniel became depressed. In the later filming sessions of the final Potter movie, he frequently was drunk on the set. Finally, In 2015, he acknowledged his alcohol addiction, “When I was drunk, I became a different person.” One day, he discovered taking long walks, and found a new habit in getting some exercise and fresh air. He quit drinking and still walks every day.


In the early period of her singing career, Adele lacked confidence about her looks, and that caused her a lot of anxiety about performing in front of an audience. To boost her courage, she began drinking before going out on stage. The habit developed into an alcohol addiction. She recalls a devastating incident in which she once was so drunk that during the performance she forgot the words to her own songs, “It was the worst night of my life.” In 2009, she was plagued with severe hangovers that were impacting her voice and causing her to oversleep on days of concerts. Adele quit drinking and has since been living a healthy lifestyle.


Samuel L. Jackson

Inspired to pursue an acting career, young Samuel attended a performing arts college. But, he had developed alcohol and drug abuse problems, and despite all his talent, he could not get work in the acting field after graduation. In the later 1980s, Samuel found himself in a rehab center. He said the worst moment of his life was in rehab, facing his wife and daughter and admitting that he was addicted. Since finishing treatment, he has starred in over 100 films, received numerous coveted awards, and has been an excellent father and husband.

Sir Elton John

As a very shy young boy in England, Elton began abusing drugs to help him feel more relaxed around other people. But, instead, as he became addicted, family and friends began staying away from him. By 1975, he had overdosed and nearly died. Finally, in the 1990s, Elton accepted that he had an addiction and underwent full rehab treatment. Looking back now on all the years of substance abuse he lived through, Elton says he wasted a huge part of his life on his addiction, “I was constantly immersed in myself.” Since he overcame his addiction, he has enjoyed fulfilling family life with his adopted children and domestic partner.

Winning The Personal Fight Against Drug Addiction

The list of other famous people who have overcome drug addiction and gone on to a better way of living includes actors, musicians, comedians, and other entertainers, authors, painters, politicians, and others. So many experienced the typical increasing health consequences of substance abuse, damage to their important relationships, and devastating impacts to their goals and professional success.

The celebrities mentioned above, like so many other people struggling with addiction, came to recognize that their years were being wasted on drug or alcohol abuse and that their lives were worth more. They chose to do the work to leave substance abuse behind and give themselves an opportunity for happiness instead, through completing appropriate rehab treatment.

Renaissance Recovery Center, Gilbert, Arizona

We are an outpatient drug and alcohol treatment center in Arizona. Our therapists help our clients overcome the pain, and the sense of shame and isolation that are so common among people who struggle with substance abuse. Renaissance counselors help people discover the new, more meaningful life waiting for them beyond addiction.

Our individually tailored addiction treatment programs focus on cultivating mindfulness, proactively solving problems, social support, and relapse prevention, in a comfortable outpatient setting. We can accept most types of health insurance, and we can confirm for you that your benefits will cover your treatment program.

For information about our outpatient addiction treatment programs, or to schedule a free consultation, call Renaissance Recovery Center, Gilbert, AZ at (480) 725-8560, or contact us online anytime.

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