If it seems that Hollywood and drug use seem to go hand-in-hand, that would be because it is kind of true. It is no secret that in Tinsel Town, the drugs come cheap and easy, and there is loads of pressure to just let loose and have some fun. Wild parties, the stress of the job, and the desire to get away from it all lead many celebs to get trapped in the cycle of drug and alcohol addiction. So here is our list of 20 celebrity drug addicts: where are they now?
We are going to look at some of the famous figures who have delved into substance abuse, such as using alcohol, cocaine, and painkillers to escape their lives. Some of these celebs are still struggling, but a good majority of them have managed to turn things around. We have great success stories here, such as Elton John, Matthew Perry, and Drew Barrymore. Then again, there are people like Lindsay Lohan, Mischa Barton, and Charlie Sheen who continue to have their struggles.
Let’s take a closer look at the personal stories of these musicians, comedians, and actors. We will see how they treated their addiction, what methods they used to get help, and how they are doing now.
20. Martin Sheen
Martin Sheen was a regular on The West Wing, and he also appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man and The Departed. He was one of the many celebrities who fell into heavy substance abuse. He battled his addiction to alcohol (which is considered a drug) for years, and eventually ended up in an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. That was the start of his long journey to recovery from alcoholism. Today Martin is still working in television and film; his most recent projects include Anne of Green Gables and Grace and Frankie. Unfortunately, Charlie Sheen has been unsupportive in Martin’s recovery, calling AA an unsuccessful “cult.”
19. Lindsay Lohan
Lindsay Lohan was once the starlet to watch, but being a child star proved to be too much to handle. Lohan descended into the dark pits of drug and alcohol abuse. She was in and out of court trials, rehab, and personal distress. She has been arrested for driving under the influence and had 3 separate visits to rehabilitation centers. Lately, she has not been acting nor singing, and she continues to be estranged from her parents. Her most recent adventure involves dating a 22-year-old Russian real estate agent. Her interest in such an intellectual man is a far cry from her previous romantic history, so hopefully he can help keep her clean.
18. Gary Busey
The 71-year-old actor has lived quite a life. From his acting career to his stints in rehab to his endeavors later in life, Busey continues to be an interesting one-of-a-kind character. He is also one of the most prominent celebrity drug addicts out there. He appeared on the TV show Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew in 2008 and dealt with his addiction and notorious past with narcotics and cocaine. Back in 1995, Busey OD’d on cocaine. It was the lowest point of his life. Nowadays he is cleaned up, doing celebrity endorsements, and made a Dancing with the Stars appearance in 2015.
17. Angelina Jolie
The actress’ struggle with drug abuse was a dark and dangerous time in her life. She has expressed how fortunate she feels to still be alive and well after such a deadly encounter.
In the latter half of the 1990s, Jolie was involved in the drug world and it greatly took a toll on her body. She exhibited blood-rimmed eyes, a skeletal figure, and mental fogginess. In fact, a 1999 video shows Jolie in a drug-induced blur. The good news is that she got clean and is now working as a director and larger-than-life humanitarian both in the United States and abroad.
16. Robert Downey Jr.
This actor has done a full 180 in terms of his life and recovery. He was riddled with drug-related troubles in the mid-1990s before beginning the road to recovery and coming back stronger than ever in 2001. His struggles with cocaine and heroin got him a number of arrests. Most of his sobriety has been attributed to a strong support system, as well as martial arts, yoga, and the 12-step program. About 2 years ago, the actor and his wife started their own production company (Team Downey.) There are rumors circulating the Robert will reprise his role for yet another Iron Man film, but either way we have Civl War to look forward to. Fingers crossed that we see a lot more of Downey in the near future!
15. Nicole Richie
34-year-old Nicole Richie used to be known as the sidekick to Paris Hilton. The two would engage in all sorts of shenanigans in the TV show The Simple Life. Nicole then became a huge gossip magnet for her extreme weight loss, erratic behavior, and her hypoglycemia diagnosis. She was also arrested several times for driving under the influence and disorderly conduct. In the mid-2000s, people were seriously worried about her but she was able to move past her demons. She now works as an occasional actress and music-video guest, as well as a fashion and fragrance designer.
14. Jamie Lee Curtis
Jamie Lee Curtis has been a mainstay actress in Hollywood for decades now. Still, she has a lengthy history with personal struggle and development. Jamie has been open and honest about her bout with alcoholism and painkiller addiction. She began using the meds after an operation, and developed an addiction to them. She sought recovery and was able to get clean in 1999 (she has since stayed clean). We may know her now as the “Activia lady,” but she is also an advocate for addiction awareness. She wants everyone to change their mindset about addiction and realize that this is a mental condition, not a lifestyle that people randomly choose.
13. Drew Barrymore
Now that she is a 40-something-year-old woman (and clean and sober!) Drew Barrymore is a role model that we can all look up to. She became famous when she was just 5 years old, and then got addicted to drugs and alcohol in early adolescence. Marijuana, cocaine, and alcohol just became a way of life for her. Finally, in 1995, we started to see an upswing. Through the early 2000s, Barrymore continued to blossom, and now she is a distinguished actress, model, producer, and director. She is even a mother of two and does charity work for the United Nations.
12. Macaulay Culkin
If you have seen the hilarious film series Home Alone, then you know about Macaulay Culkin. The child actor shot to stardom at a very young age and was even likened to Shirley Temple’s caliber. He was not able to achieve the same power after Home Alone, and took a brief hiatus. In the early 2000s, he began acting again in edgier productions. In 2013, he formed The Pizza Underground, a cult music group that continued to baffle the public into wondering what the heck was up with Culkin. Culkin has also been arrested for marijuana possession, and was involved in selling prescription drugs which landed him in jail.
11. Tim Allen
Most of us now know Tim Allen as one of the most successful comedic actors (think: Home Improvement and Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story). Yet way back in the late 1970s, Allen was nabbed by police at an airport when he was in possession of cocaine. He served time in jail for over two years, but then in the late 1990s, he was charged with driving under the influence. He ended up going to a rehab facility and has been clean ever since. Now the 62-year-old continues to act, with his latest gig is on Last Man Standing, winning a TV Guide Award in 2012.
10. Russell Brand
Russell Brand sure is an eccentric dude in Hollywood. He was also Katy Perry’s hubby for a time, but they split. Katy even wrote some songs about Russell’s erratic lifestyle. The comedian-actor-radio host has dealt with substance abuse, which often led to bad behavior both in his public and private life. He has been charged with drug-related offenses a whopping twelve times. The good news is that he has been sober and drug-free for over a decade! He claims that he uses meditation to help him, and he now does activist work for drug rehabilitation and treatment. Right now he’s working on Army of One and Trolls.
9. Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder is one of those celebs that we just have always loved. In fact, many people marvel at just how timeless she is. The 44-year-old actress has been in the industry since the mid 1980s, and she has been praised with awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Even so, she dealt with anxiety, depression, disorderly conduct, and substance abuse, which led to a break from acting. After drug rehab and counseling (she was reportedly abusing multiple painkillers) she rebounded and is now working on Stranger Things. Her Miniseries, Show Me a Hero, was even nominated for a Critics’ Choice Award.
8. Kelly Osbourne
The public is no stranger to the woes of Kelly Osbourne. The daughter of Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, Kelly has dealt with some pretty heavy stuff. That includes her multiple visits to rehab centers, where she received repeated treatment for her addiction to painkillers. By the end of 2009, it appeared as though Kelly was on the road to a much better life. Now she looks great: healthy, happy, and pursuing her career. She is currently working as a judge on Project Runway Junior and Australia’s Got Talent. She is also a frequent guest star on talk shows. Nowadays, people talk more about Kelly’s fashion sense than her drug problems which is a great thing to see.
7. Mary-Kate Olsen
Clearly, Mary-Kate Olsen has downgraded in terms of looks and star-power. She started as the adorable Michelle Tanner on Full House, followed by TV series, movies, and fashion design gigs with her twin sis, Ashley. Then in 2004, Mary-Kate was diagnosed with anorexia, suffered kidney failure, and was linked to a wild-child partying lifestyle. She was rumored to have experimented with drugs (and she was also a close friend of actor Heath Ledger, who died of an accidental drug overdose). Even so, Mary-Kate continues working with Ashley on her fashion career, and she married Oliver Sarkozy (who is much older).
6. Kate Moss
Of course model Kate Moss is on our list. After all, she is the woman who helped to create the icon “heroin chic” look. Thanks to Kate, women everywhere were trying to achieve that strung-out waif look that was so popular in the 1990s. In the early 2000s, Kate was nabbed for abusing cocaine (which many attributed to her very stick-like figure). Fortunately, Kate was able to recover from the controversy, and she continued to get modeling gigs. She also delved into fashion designing herself, and has launched two clothing lines for Topshop. Besides that, she is a mother and a humanitarian. In 2015 she was kicked off an airplane for being “disruptive.”
5. Steven Tyler
Steven Tyler is one weird-looking dude. He rose to prominence as the front man for the rock band Aerosmith, and now at nearly 70 years of age, he is still working his musical chops. He also served as a judge on American Idol for a brief time. Throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, Tyler and his band mate Joe Perry were idolized and recognized as drugged-up rockers. They were even nicknamed the “Toxic Twins” for their heroin and drug use. In 1986, he entered rehab and was cleaned up a few years later. Now he is pursuing his own solo album (country style).
4. Matthew Perry
American-Canadian actor Matthew Perry is best known as Chandler from the Friends sitcom. In the late 1990s, he entered a rehab facility to get over his addiction to the painkiller Vicodin. A few years later though, he had to go back to treatment; this time for his addiction to opioids (including Vicodin) and alcohol. It was not until around 2011 that Perry was totally cleaned up, and he even endorsed the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. In 2013 he earned a Champion of Recovery award, and he is still acting. Right now his plays Oscar on The Odd Couple.
3. Elton John
Sir Elton John is one of the most successful musicians of all time. With hits like “Rocket Man” and “Candle in the Wind,” he is forever memorialized in the music world and beyond. Heck, he is even a “sir!” Yet in the 1970s, the singer suffered from a dangerous drug overdose, as well as his sexual identity and poor body image (he had bulimia). He spent years getting better, and now he is back on top. In fact, he was featured on GQ’s list of best-dressed Brits. Elton John also founded the Elton John AIDS Foundation, won a Society of Singers Lifetime Achievement Award, and is an inspiration to many.
2. Mischa Barton
Perhaps best-known for her stint on the hit TV series The O.C., Mischa Barton’s career and life has taken a bit of a nosedive. She has been cited for driving under the influence, refusing to pay rent, driving without a valid license, and received a 5150 psychiatric confinement in 2009. While she is still acting, her latest endeavors have been flops, and she even sued her own mom! Recently, her car was repossessed after she failed to make payments on it (she owes about $25,000). The woman is just 30 years old, so we hope that she can turn things around.
1. Charlie Sheen
Oh yes, Charlie Sheen. The one with the “tiger blood.” He was flying high from the 1980s to the 2000s, but then he got mixed up with reports of domestic violence, substance abuse, and severely erratic behavior. At the end of 2015, he revealed that he had been suffering from HIV for the past 4 years. Back in 1998, he suffered from a cocaine-induced stroke, and in 2010 he took anger management classes. Currently, he is in Mexico undergoing treatment for HIV, and in 2015 he made a cameo appearance in The Goldbergs. At the end of February 2016, he claimed he was HIV-negative, but the public is unsure.