Celeb Rehab's Brigitte Nielsen Relapses, Very Publicly

By McCarton Ackerman 08/06/12

"I just hope she keeps fighting the fight," a Dr. Drew regular tells The Fix.

A disoriented Brigitte Nielsen in an LA park
Photo via

There's no two ways about it: recovery is hard. Now we can add another name to the tragic list of Celebrity Rehab alumni who haven't been able to stay sober. Season One cast member and '80s B-list movie star Brigitte Nielsen went on the show in 2007 to address her alcoholism. She appeared to be one of the success stories of her season—even declaring that she'd also kicked her tobacco addiction on an "update" special. However, photos taken yesterday show the 49-year-old actress/reality star appearing drunk, disheveled and disoriented in an LA park. Nielsen clutched a bottle of vodka and stumbled around smoking cigarettes, before falling asleep on the ground. Afterwards, she reportedly walked all the way back to her home in the Hollywood Hills.

Jennifer Gimenez, who appeared as a rehab technician on Celebrity Rehab and a sober living house manager for Dr. Drew's spinoff show Sober House, tells The Fix, "It's hard to stay sober in the public eye. It's hard to stay sober, period, I hope [Nielsen] does find help and get better." She adds, "It's consistency that matters. Just because you're enthusiastic in the beginning and have a little time, that doesn't mean sobriety suddenly gets easy. It's contrary to the way you've been living and you have to learn to live on a moment-by-moment basis." Giminez says of Nielsen, "I don't know how bad her relapse is. Sometimes going into treatment to detox is important but there's also a 12-step community that's free that's available at any time. I just hope she keeps fighting the fight. Her story is not done." 

Nielsen isn't the only Celebrity Rehab star to have recently relapsed since their time in the Pasadena Recovery Center. Kari Ann Peniche was accused last month by her ex-husband of exposing their baby to meth, while Joanie "Chyna" Laurer was rushed to the hospital after passing out at several public appearances last May while promoting her adult films. Of course, Grease star Jeff Conaway, former Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr and activist Rodney King have all passed away since the show.

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.