Stories of Celeb Rehab Success

When celebrities like Lindsay Lohan wind up in rehab, emerge and announce they’re getting back to work, we tend to roll our eyes. Some celebs don’t have a good track record and we’ve grown used to their self-indulgent cycle of abstinence and then relapse. It just seems like they don’t really want to get better and they like the attention (the saying “all press is good press” comes to mind).

There are, however, a handful of sober celebs who have battled their addictions in substance abuse rehabilitation centers and come out on top, both in terms of sobriety and their careers. Their struggle is often forgotten in the heady excitement of a new movie release or a triumphant album drop, but those of us who have struggled – and still struggle – to remain sober know that underneath the jet-setting lifestyles, the glamorous clothes and the weighty paychecks, recovered addict celebs are just like you and me: taking every day as it comes and never forgetting where they’ve been and how far they’ve come.

Robert Downey, Jr.

This 47-year-old’s promising start in films in the 1980s and his Oscar nomination in 1992 for the title role in “Chaplin” paved the way toward a more and more troubled lifestyle between 1996 and 2001, when he was arrested numerous times for drug-related charges including cocaine, heroin and marijuana. After a year in a California prison, the newly-released Downey joined the cast of the super-hot “Ally McBeal” show, garnering huge critical acclaim, only to relapse in what he called his “lowest point in terms of addictions.”

He was sent to rehab once more and when he emerged, he began the long road toward getting his career back on track. Clauses which withhold part of his salary for films on condition of his sobriety became commonplace, but he worked steadily through the 2000s, until in 2008 he took on the coveted role of Tony Stark, eccentric billionaire and man of iron. This, and the 2012 summer hit “The Avengers” have put Downey right on top, where an actor of his charisma and talent should be. He’s been sober for about six years now and we can all hope that his hard-won superstardom keeps this beloved actor off drugs and in hit movies.

Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore was born into a family of prestigious actors, but her early start in the entertainment business gave way to troubled teenage years. A star in such films as “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” and “Irreconcilable Differences,” she was smoking cigarettes by age nine, smoking marijuana by 11 and snorting cocaine at just 13, a fact that did not go unnoted in the press. After she attempted suicide at the tender age of 14, Barrymore was committed to a rehab facility; when she emerged, she continued to cultivate a wild persona, with nude photos, a Playboy spread and her infamous flashing on the “Late Show with David Letterman.” Yet age and sobriety mellowed Barrymore. Her popularity in romantic films flourished with roles in “Never Been Kissed” and “Ever After,” and she showed her acting chops in “50 First Dates.” Today, the once-troubled adolescent is a model of svelte grace and poise.


Marshall Mathers, better known as the rapper Eminem, shocked audiences and spoke to a generation of angry, angst-ridden teens with his powerful lyrics. While his ongoing drama with now-wife, now-ex-wife Kim Scott grabbed major press attention, he also made headlines for his eventual rehab stay in 2005 after he canceled the European dates for his “Anger Management” tour because of an addiction to prescription pills such as Vicodin, Ambien, Valium and Methadone.

He was released but relapsed, almost dying of an overdose after he took a handful of unidentified blue pills. Yet his commitment to recovery became real and along with seriously sobering up, Mathers released his 2010 album “Recovery,” his seventh studio album, which debuted at number one on the Billboard charts. It would go on to become his best-selling album to date and features the dedication: “2 anyone who’s in a dark place tryin’ 2 get out. Keep your head up… It does get better!” [sic]. The album was then nominated for 10 Grammy Awards, winning one and further establishing his place among the most influential music artists of our time.

Remember:  if you are struggling with addiction, these celebrities can serve as role models for you. Also be sure to check out sites like to see what options are available to you, so you, too, one day can celebrate rehab success.

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Discussion 2 Comments

  1. elijah says:

    These are great rehab success stories, but even these celebs struggled afterwards, but the fact that they eventually rose above their demons is what matters most. I wish some other celebs would take their examples. Fame is fleeting oftentimes and the money can run out quick.

  2. Sibyl says:

    These celebs are in and out of rehab, it’s all too commonplace that they would be there, they have so much money and pressures and are given these drugs oftentimes. It’s good to hear a success story or two.

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