15 Sober Celebrities… How Many Did You Know Were AF?
Whether you like it or not people copy what the stars do, so we really need sober celebrities out there.
Getting on the road to recovery from addiction is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. If you try to do it on your own it takes a huge amount of discipline to stay sober.
Having role models and mentors is an important part of that. You should have mentors you know in person, but from time to time, all of us need a little star power.
Celebrities serve as inspirations and role models for many people in a wide variety of areas. And there are a lot of celebrities who have fought back against a substance abuse addiction and come out the other side sober, happy, and healthy.
Read on to discover some of the best sober celebrities who make good role models.
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Sober Celebrities #1: Brittany Spears
Brittany Spears’ 2007 breakdown is one of the more well-known social scandals of the 90s. We all remember the photos of her shaving her head, and shortly after, she went through several stints in rehab. This culminated in her attacking a paparazzo’s car with an umbrella and being put in mandatory rehab.
Today, the 35-year-old pop star has been sober for more than a decade. She has started opening up about her struggles with mental illness, which shaped much of her substance abuse. She now has custody of her children again, and she says she is at a better place in her life.
Robert Downey Junior
Robert Downey Junior is one of the most famous celebrity comeback stories out there. He was a hugely popular actor in the late 80s and 90s until drug and alcohol addiction tore his life apart.
He was arrested multiple times and served a year in a California rehab program and jail from 1999 to 2000.
But in 2001, RDJ decided to turn his life around; he entered rehab, and in the early 2000s, then began acting in movies again.
In 2008, he was cast in Iron Man and became a core part of the biggest film franchise in the world.
Today, RDJ has been sober for more than fifteen years, relying on therapy, meditation, yoga, and kung fu.
Oprah Winfrey is perhaps the largest media mogul in history, and her rags-to-riches story is as famous as she is. Winfrey was raised in poverty in Mississippi and was physically and sexually abused as a child. In her 20s, she started dating a man who introduced her to crack cocaine.
But Oprah triumphed over all the struggles and rose to become one of the most powerful women in the world. She has her celebrated talk show, which has hosted more than 3,700 shows with guests such as John F. Kennedy Jr and Sally Field. She also has a magazine, a book club, a television network, and a healthy relationship with her long-time partner Stedman Graham.
Matthew Perry, one of the stars of the meteoric show Friends has also struggled rather infamously with substance abuse over the years. He has been addicted to opioids, amphetamines, and alcohol. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, he went through multiple rehab programs trying to get clean.
But today, Perry is sober and working to help people facing the same struggles he did. He has lobbied as a spokesperson for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals and received a Champion of Recovery Award from the White House Office of National Drug Control House.
He currently runs the Perry House, a sober living home-based out of his own house in Malibu, California.
Sober Celebrities #5: Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore’s instant fame as a child actress led her down a dark path of substance abuse. By the time she was 11 years old, she was already using alcohol. By age 12, she was smoking marijuana, by 13, she was using cocaine, and by the time she was 14, she entered a drug rehab program for the first time.
But Barrymore got sober by her late teen years, and she has built a wonderful career for herself. She became emancipated by age 15, and since then she has surrounded herself with friends who she credits for keeping her sober.
Today, she is a producer, director, author, and cosmetics entrepreneur, as well as being a renowned actress.
Russell Brand is one of our favorite British comedians, but his addictions started when he was a child. For a long time, he abused drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with a lonely and unhappy childhood. He talks about his struggles with substance abuse and the ongoing recovery process in his book My Life Without Drugs.
Brand is open about the ongoing struggles he feels with addiction. He relies on a network of support and says he just focuses on staying sober one day at a time.
Russell serves as a sponsor for others in recovery, and he is vocal about the importance of recognizing drug addiction not as a crime, but as an illness.
Jamie Lee Curtis
Jamie Lee Curtis proves that sometimes addictions can arise from seemingly innocent sources. Following a cosmetic surgery when she was 35, the actress became addicted to prescription painkillers. Eventually, she began mixing the pills with alcohol and became dependent on that, too.
Curtis is sober now and says her substance abuse issues were an attempt to manage her depression. She sought out treatment after she saw how her drug abuse was affecting her daughter, and she has now been clean for years. She still works to help those struggling with the same problems she did.
Keith Urban, the beloved country singer, struggled with drug addiction starting in the early 90s. He started using cocaine in 1992 after he moved to Nashville, and he soon expanded to ecstasy and alcohol.
In 2006, his wife, Nicole Kidman, staged an intervention for him after his behavior began spiraling out of control.
Urban has been sober since then, and now he’s one of country music’s biggest stars. He has released more than a dozen number-one hit songs, and he’s a celebrity judge on American Idol. He also has two daughters now, one born in 2008 and the other in 2010.
Demi Lovato has opened up in recent years for her struggles with bipolar disorder, bulimia, self-harm, and substance abuse. She first entered treatment in 2010 when she dropped out of the Jonas Brothers World tour, but she went on a two-month bender when she got out of rehab.
She got clean seemingly for good in 2012.
In 2018, Lovato was hospitalized for an unspecified overdose, breaking a six-year sober streak. She has since recovered and admits that addiction is something she must continue to overcome. She says she has focused again on her sobriety and the road to recovery.
Sober Celebrities #10: Dax Shepard
We all know Dax Shepard as the cute blond who’s married to Kristen Bell, making up one of Hollywood’s favorite couples. But from the ages of 18 to 29, Sheppard was a heavy drug user. He said in one interview that he used “cocaine, opiates, marijuana, diet pills, pain pills, everything” though his favorite combination was cocaine and Jack Daniels.
But in 2004, Shepard went into recovery, and he has been clean ever since. He is open now about his struggles, saying he hopes it might inspire someone else to be a better version of themselves. He has been sober for fifteen years now, and he has two daughters with Kristen Bell.
Zac Efron is perhaps best known for his meteoric rise to fame with the hit film High School Musical. But the teen heartthrob had his share of substance abuse struggles as well. In 2013, he went into rehab for alcohol and drug addictions.
Today, Efron is reemerging in more adult roles in the film industry; his most recent project is a historical drama chronicling the life of notorious serial killer Ted Bundy. He is a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, and he works out daily and goes to bed by 9 p.m.
Efron admits that he has made mistakes in the past, but says that he has learned from each one.
Lana Del Ray
Most of us know Lana Del Ray for her amazingly emotional songs, but her early teen years weren’t so zen. In her early teenage years, the singer became addicted to alcohol, drinking every day, often alone. In 2009, she decided to get sober, and she has remained so ever since.
These days, Del Ray enjoys fame as the inventor of “Hollywood sadcore” and a whole Instagram aesthetic. She announced her sixth album, Norman F***ing Rockwell, which will be released sometime in 2019. And she also announced plans to self-publish a book of poetry.
Elton John is one of the most well-known and colorful sober celebrities in the music world. But in the 1980s, he battled with drug abuse, alcoholism, and eating disorders while at the pinnacle of his music career. The singer says he lost his humanity in those addictions.
But the realities of the AIDs crisis of the 90s set in for John when he met a patient who was fighting the disease. John decided he needed to put himself on the front line in the fight against AIDS.
Elton got clean almost thirty years ago, and since then he has won the Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award in recognition of his work with the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
Angelina Jolie has had a difficult and well-publicized life; she has struggled with mental illness, eating disorders, and more all in the watchful gaze of the paparazzi. But she has also battled with substance abuse, saying in one video, “I’ve done coke, heroin, ecstasy, everything.”
But Jolie also says she left those problems behind long ago.
Today, Jolie is a philanthropist and a mother to six, as well as one of the most influential actresses in Hollywood. She travels all over the world giving aid to those in need, and she has been a keynote speaker at the U.N. Most recently, she accepted a position as a contributing editor at Time magazine.
A real leading light in the growing world of sober celebrities making a stance.
Sober Celebrities #15: Gerard Butler
Gerard Butler is one of our favorite scruffy Hollywood heartthrobs, but he has had a difficult road. In his early 20s, the actor – then a lawyer in Edinburgh – heavily abused alcohol. He later checked himself into rehab after he began abusing prescription painkillers after a series of injuries on set.
But these days, Butler keeps a close handle on what he calls his addictive personality. He hasn’t had a drink in more than two decades, and he checked himself into rehab for the painkillers before the addiction could get out of control.
He is involved with the Hollywood social scene, but he says he no longer feels the pressure to drink.
Follow the Lead of Your Favorite Sober Celebrities
Sober celebrities shouldn’t be your only role models on your journey to sobriety, but they can be a big help. We idolize these people, and a lot of us would do anything to look, dress, or live like them.
Knowing that these celebrities have suffered through a substance abuse recovery program and made it out the other side can be a huge motivation to keep going.
If you’d like to stop drinking and start on your journey to sobriety, check out the rest of our site at Stop Drinking Expert. We have a revolutionary new theory that will help you start your life over. Check out our free quit drinking webinar and free e-book today for more information.