10 Super Famous Celebrities Who Went to Rehab and Got Clean and Sober

By The Fix staff 08/19/19

"It will be the greatest achievement of my life if I can stay sober until I die." - Jamie Lee Curtis

Image: 
Elton John with arms open wide
Even these larger-than-life celebs needed some help kicking their addictions. Photo 38604665 © Blurf - Dreamstime.com

Celebrities…. they’re just like us, but with bigger bank accounts. And just like normal people, celebrities cope with substance abuse and mental health disorders. Although many celebrity deaths have been caused by drug and alcohol abuse, some icons manage to get into rehab, get clean, and live a thriving life in recovery. Here are 10 super famous celebrities who decided to make recovery a way of life. 

1. Elton John

The Rocketman himself struggled with alcohol and cocaine addiction throughout his early career. When Elton John met AIDS patient Ryan White, who eventually died from the disease, he was inspired to get clean and found a charity that would help fund HIV/AIDS research and treatment. John has said, “I lost my own humanity in an excess of drugs, alcoholism, and eating disorders.” However, today he has been sober for more than 29 years. In June, he posted a picture of a 12-step coin with a simple message: “I am eternally grateful.”

2. Eminem

Iconic rapper Eminem started abusing prescription medication including Valium, Vicodin, and Xanax to help him power through long days in the studio and later on set, filming the autobiographical film 8 Mile. When he found himself taking up to 60 pills a day he turned to medication-assisted treatment with methadone, but soon began abusing that as well. Finally, back-to-back hospital trips made him realize he needed to make a change. A trip to rehab and major support from Elton John helped set Eminem on the right track, and today he has been sober for 11 years. 

3. Demi Lovato

Anyone who has worked to get clean knows that recovery is not a straightforward track. Singer Demi Lovato — who has been open about her struggles with addiction and mental health — is proof. Lovato was sober for years before a 2018 relapse nearly killed her. After going through rehab and sober living she is again on the wagon, posting in January 2019 that she was “So grateful for the lessons I’ve learned this year.”

4. Steven Tyler

One of the greatest rockstars of the 20th century lived the full rock n’ roll lifestyle, complete with plenty of drugs and alcohol. In fact, the Aerosmith frontman said last year that he estimates he has spent $2 million on cocaine. Eventually Tyler’s drug use started interfering with his music. “Suddenly it starts influencing your greatness,” he said. Today, Tyler has been sober and celebrating it for nine years. 

5. Charlie Sheen

Most people who have dealt with addiction don’t have to witness their rock bottom displayed in graphic detail on televisions and newspapers around the world. Sheen’s epic public meltdown became fodder for gossip columnists and daytime television hosts. All the public scrutiny did little to deter Sheen, but a private conversation with his daughter helped him see he needed to make changes. In December 2018 he celebrated one year of sobriety. 

6. Kat Von D

The LA Ink star was also in the limelight when her addiction came to a head. Viewers saw Kat Von D drinking too much, and she’s said that she’s glad for that, because it can show people that change is always possible. “If anybody out there feels that they relate to me in any capacity and happen to be struggling, perhaps I can lead by example by showing that if I can do it, you can do it too,” she said in 2016. Kat Von D has now been sober for 11 years, and still gets excited for each sober anniversary. “Every year I look forward to posting about my sober anniversary, in the hopes that someone out there in need of a way out from addiction might see this, and realize that you’re not alone,” she wrote on Twitter last year. 

7. Boy George

When Boy George appeared on The New Celebrity Apprentice in 2017, he made it clear that his sobriety would be a priority. He argued with fellow contestant Mötley Crüe singer Vince Neil, who sipped wine in front of George. “I’m a recovering addict. I do not need to be in the room with someone drinking alcohol. It’s just not a good look for me. I’m not happy about it at all,” said Boy George at the time. Taking his sobriety so seriously has paid off — Boy George is now 11 years sober. 

8. Tim McGraw

Sometimes it seems country music is all about the booze, but legendary singer Tim McGraw has now been producing country hits stone cold sober for 11 years. Instead of having a few drinks to prepare for a show, McGraw runs with some of his band members. He says that exercise is a much healthier way of getting himself in the right headspace before a concert. 

9. Dennis Quaid

Dennis Quaid was ten years into his film career when he realized that his cocaine use was holding him back and negatively impacting his life. He checked into rehab in 1990, and has been sober since, even through his bitter divorce with actress Meg Ryan. “I’m not the guy that’s living an enlightened experience all the time; I blow my top many times,” he said last year. “In life we’re either forced, kicking and screaming, into change—or we learn to cope with it. But I really am at peace now.” 

10. Jamie Lee Curtis

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis has a host of movie titles to her name, but she says that the greatest achievement of her life is something much more personal: her sobriety. Lee Curtis has revealed that she was addicted to prescription opioids, well before the opioid epidemic was in headlines. Now, she has been sober for more than 18 years, and hopes to inspire other people to do the same. "It will be the greatest achievement of my life if I can stay sober until I die,” she said.

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