Pop Culture

11 Celebrities Who Have Battled Drug Addiction

Oprah? You too?

With the Oscars coming up this Sunday, it's easy to forget that underneath the glitz and glam, celebrities suffer too. These 11 surprising celebrities have battled drug addictions.

1. Flava Flav

It’s no secret that rapper Flava Flav is eccentric--but did you know that he admits to spending “$2,600 a day, for six years, every single day” on drugs? He also claims that he lost his virginity at the age of 6, plus he wears wall art around his neck. He went to jail for 90 days in 1993 for shooting his neighbor on a crack-cocaine bender and now insists that he has been clean and sober for years. 

2. Mary-Kate Olsen

Mary-Kate checked into rehab the week of her 18th birthday due to a combination of an eating disorder and drug addiction. She has since designed a $55,000 handbag that is a combination of crocodile skin and prescription pills. When life gives you lemons… 

3. Oprah

Perhaps the most compelling crack-cocaine-user-to-riches story of all time, Oprah has admitted to using the substance while dating a man who also happened to be addicted to it. She kicked the habit well before she became famous, and considered it her “greatest secret” until spontaneously admitting it to a fellow addict on her popular daytime talk show. 

4. David Hasselhoff

Blame it on too much time in the sun. Hasselhoff began struggling with alcohol addiction in the early 70’s, which may explain some of his notorious off-screen drama. He checked into rehab in 2002 shirtless and in sweatpants. He became internet fodder when a video of him eating a cheeseburger went viral, and now stays relatively silent on the status of his sobriety (minus his adamant denial that he ever has or will use Viagra). But he talks a lot about having sex with his (35 years younger) wife in interviews. 

5. Samuel L. Jackson

Mr. L. Jackson got his big break playing a crack addict in Jungle Fever just two weeks after checking out of rehab for a cocaine addiction. Before that he was part of The Negro Ensemble Company where he rehearsed and performed under the influence.

6. Edie Falco

Known for her roles on HBO’s The Sopranos and Showtime’s Nurse Jackie, Falco says her role as a prescription pill addict on Jackie was somewhat based on her own battles with alcohol. The show’s co-creator, Linda Wallem, also has a history of alcohol abuse, which may be in part why the show’s portrayal of Jackie Peyton as an addict is so ruthlessly honest. 

7. Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp speaks openly about his experimentation with drugs, especially during his early years of fame. The star told Huffington Post in 2013 that he made the decision to go alcohol free because, in his words, “I just decided that I pretty much got everything I could get out of it," he said. Still, rumors of his benders persist, including that Pirates of the Caribbean #5 was delayed while he had surgery on his hand after an alleged weekend-bender motorcycle accident. Either that or he really is Edward Scissorhands and has just been hiding it really well for all these years.

8. Zac Efron

Efron may be a chiseled portrait of a flawless human male, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t real. Like, really real. Efron has had an ongoing struggle with drugs and alcohol, which he links to his early rise to fame and the pressures of all things Hollywood. He had a public encounter with a homeless man in Los Angeles while under the influence in 2014 and speaks eloquently of what it’s like to have the world at your fingertips for the small price of trying to appear perfect all the time: “When you have success young, and you accept the good things, you have to accept all of it. You have to accept the moments of glory but also a great responsibility. And that responsibility, to some degree, involves being a role model. At the same time, I'm a human being, and I've made a lot of mistakes. I've learned from each one.”

9. Demi Lovato

On top of an eating disorder, this Disney star relied heavily on drugs and alcohol to help her deal with her early rise to fame. In her words, there was a time when she “couldn’t go thirty minutes or an hour without cocaine, and I would bring it on airplanes." She said she bottomed out at 19 when she filled a soda bottle with vodka to drink at 9am. She now talks openly both about her drug addictions as well as her battle with bipolar disorder in the hopes of inspiring others to continue their fight. They probably won't make a Disney show about that. 

10. Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga claimed to have a marijuana addiction, at one point smoking 15-20 joints a day. She had a major hip injury that cancelled part of her “Born This Way” tour, and one form of self-medicating led to another. While it is extremely rare for someone to become physically addicted to marijuana, it is also extremely rare for someone to wear an evening gown made of meat, so stranger things have happened. 

11. Selena Gomez

Disney star #2 on the list, Selena Gomez, went to rehab in 2014 supposedly for "partying" and "emotional issues," and now she speaks openly about her struggle in the hope of inspiring others. She chalks the abuse up to the pressures of early fame, and according to every tabloid in the world, her on-again-off-again relationship with Justin Bieber, who almost made this list himself.

Read more about: Scout DurwoodPop Culture Demi Lovato Justin Bieber Lady Gaga Selena Gomez

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