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A collage of three celebrities with addiction

10 Celebrities With Addiction: Triumph Over the Condition

Addiction and fame seem to be somewhat intertwined. So, is it the pressure that pushes celebrities into addiction, or is it the money that attracts the vice? 

According to studies, certain personality traits are more prone to addiction. Impulsive, obsessive and novelty-seeking behaviour are often tied to addiction, qualities that many celebrities also possess, being the natural entertainers and high achievers that they are.  

On the other hand, the limelight can be a cause of stress. With no proper support and coping skills, they might opt to depend on instant “relief” so they can continue to perform despite their stressful job. To some, this relief may be in the form of alcohol, drugs or sex. A constant reliance on these can eventually lead to addiction.

Substance use disorder may be common in showbiz, but the inspiring stories of celebrities who overcame addiction are also plentiful. 

If you’re struggling to stay sober, get the motivation you need from these celebrities who triumphed over their addictions and started a new life.

1. Sir Elton John

Elton John

English singer, songwriter, pianist, and composer Sir Elton John is a living legend in the world of music. He is also open about his story as one of many celebrities with addiction. The artist spent nearly a decade misusing addictive substances like alcohol and cocaine to combat off-stage shyness. Eventually, Elton John sought treatment in 1990 to recover from his addiction. 

In an interview, he admitted that, like many celebrities with addiction, he was initially terrified for his future as an artist—but soon put these fears aside and exerted all the energy he had left towards recovery. Sir Elton John talks about coming out of treatment as an experience of being reborn and starting life over. He had learned the valuable lesson to live one day at a time.        

2. Michael Phelps 

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps is considered one of the most celebrated Olympic athletes in history and a hero to many. He is someone who has an unmistakable passion and love for his sport. However, in 2014, Phelps had to momentarily take a break from swimming after he was caught driving under the influence

Around this time, Phelps made a decision to seek treatment. The athlete was able to complete his treatment program and, to the joy of his fans, resumed competing at the 2016 Olympics.

3. Daniel Radcliffe 

Daniel Radcliff

English actor Daniel Radcliffe has brought magic to the lives of an entire generation with his unforgettable performance in the Harry Potter franchise. However, the challenges of sudden fame caught up with the talented actor. Later on, he developed a drinking problem that he could no longer control. Daniel Radcliffe eventually worked towards recovery and has been sober since 2010

4. Eric Clapton 

Eric Clapton on stage at a concert

Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Eric Clapton is considered a guitar legend. However, in the early 1970s, this talented artist struggled with heroin addiction and became one of the many celebrities with addiction. Though Clapton recovered from this condition, he misused other addictive substances like alcohol and cocaine later on. 

After going into rehab, Clapton achieved sobriety from these substances in 1987. His experience with addiction and nearly losing his life to it inspired Clapton to build the Crossroads Centre for alcohol and drug treatment in Antigua.

5. Keith Richards

Keith Richards on stage at a concert

The frontman of the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards, is iconic in the world of music. At certain points in this successful musician’s career, he found his name all over the headlines, among other celebrities with addiction.

He was detained in London after police found heroin, marijuana, and Mandrax tablets in his possession. Some years later, he was arrested in Toronto for possessing heroin and cocaine. After this incident, Richards was placed on probation and attended treatment for his addiction.

6. Macklemore 


Macklemore is well-loved for his catchy and socially aware music. The American rapper and songwriter is also open about his personal experience as one of many celebrities with addiction. However, one of the most inspiring things about his celebrity drug addiction story is how he now shows immense support for those in recovery. 

Macklemore struggled with addiction during his teen years and into his 20s. During this period of time, he misused substances like alcohol, painkillers, and opioids. He soon went into rehab and remained sober for three years. Unfortunately, the artist relapsed but quickly went back on track towards recovery once again. 

The “Can’t Hold Us” singer is now a champion of the recovery movement as he brings awareness to the struggles of addiction through his music and various other efforts.

7. Tim McGraw 

Tim McGraw

Another well-known name on our list of celebrities with addiction is country singer, guitarist, actor, and record producer Tim McGraw. He, too, had his own battle with drug and alcohol misuse. Upon recounting his story of celebrity drug addiction, he recognized the crucial role that his wife and family played in making him realize that he needed to recover. McGraw has since worked towards sobriety and focused on having even better health by working out. 

8. Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato

Singer, songwriter, and actor Demi Lovato started her career through Disney’s original film Camp Rock. It wasn’t long before Lovato rose to fame and soon became a hit-making musician. However, alongside her singing career, Lovato also developed problems with drug and alcohol misuse. 

She eventually went to rehab in 2010 to address these addictions and other co-occurring mental health issues. After suffering from an overdose in 2018, the singer went back into treatment—a reminder that addiction is a chronic disease but is manageable with continuous therapy and commitment to sobriety.

Demi’s journey, despite her being a celebrity, mirrors the experience of many addiction survivors. Relapse in chronic diseases isn’t uncommon, yet addiction relapse rates are still lower than the relapse rate for other chronic diseases (e.g., hypertension), and may be resolved by adjusting the patient’s current treatment plan.

9. Ben Affleck 

Ben Affleck

American actor, director, screenwriter, and producer Ben Affleck, is winner of both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award. His success in the industry is undeniable. 

He may have been to rehab centres several times and had a number of relapses along the way, but what’s truly inspiring is how he never gave up in his battle with alcohol addiction. Currently, Affleck states that he is healthy as ever and continues to work on his sobriety.

10. Robert Downey, Jr. 

Robert Downey Jr.

From fighting addiction to fighting crimes as Iron Man, Downey has made great achievements not only in his career but more importantly in overcoming drug abuse.

With the help of his wife, therapy, and medication, he was able to renounce drugs in 2003 and has been sober since.

According to Downey, getting help for his addiction was not the most difficult part of his recovery. It was deciding to quit, which proves to be the key to his continuous sobriety.

Safely Overcome Addiction With Research-Backed Treatment 

Each of these individuals went through an addiction journey that they had to face on a national scale. In many of these narratives, rehabilitation, getting therapy, and putting in the effort to stay on course (even in the face of relapse) were all critical elements to overcoming substance use disorder.

If these stories about celebrities with addiction inspired you to take action for yourself or your loved one, we’re here to help. 

Freedom From Addiction is a world-class drug and rehab centre in Ontario that serves the entire Greater Toronto Area. We have developed specialized treatment programs that are truly life-changing. Moreover, the ease of admission, the quality of the facilities and the supportive approach that we offer are sure to give you or your loved one a complete healing experience. 

Take the first step towards a new life. Contact us today!


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