Calvin Klein Opens Up About His Addictions

By Will Godfrey 10/21/11

The fashion legend speaks frankly about addictions in a rare interview.

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Sober pals: Calvin Klein and friend Photo via

Calvin Klein, the 68-year-old fashion legend, is usually as tight-lipped about his demons as he used to be about his sexuality. But he opened up on his well-known "meltdowns" this week when he was interviewed on stage by New York Fashion Week organizer Fern Mallis: "I’ve had a couple," he admitted. Referring to a famous incident in 2003—when he drunkenly interrupted play during a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden, leaping from his courtside seat to take Latrell Sprewell by the arm—he recalled: "I’ll never forget, Kelly [his former wife] said, 'You have to do it at a game before the playoffs when everyone is watching?'" Klein announced he was seeking professional help for substance abuse soon after that. "I struggled with addiction and lots of people do," he said. "That was really a shameful, horrible moment." He also speculated on the causes of his problems: "It had nothing to do with work. I’ve done enough therapy and enough work on myself. Addiction is not caused by stress on the job, even though lots of people in the fashion industry have suffered from the same problem... It has more to do with your childhood and lots of other things." And happily for basketball fans everywhere, Calvin Klein displays plenty of vigilance when it comes to his ongoing recovery: "You’re always in recovery. You’re always aware that this is something you don’t want to do, whether it’s drugs, sex, food." The designer reports that he is now happily dating a young man he describes as a "total athlete. We went paragliding over Aspen Mountain four weeks ago. That was quite a trip, lemme tell you!"

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Will Godfrey is the former editor-in-chief of TheFix. He was also the founding editor-in-chief of Substance.com, and previously co-founded a magazine for prisoners in London. His work has appeared in Salon, Pacific Standard, AlterNet and The Nation among others. He is currently the Executive Director at FILTER. You can find Will on Linkedin and Twitter.

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