News Anchor Elizabeth Vargas Opens Up About Alcoholism

By Shawn Dwyer 01/24/14

The 20/20 anchor admitted to her struggle with alcohol and subsequent recovery in an interview with George Stephanopoulos.


Former World News co-anchor and current anchor for ABC’s 20/20 Elizabeth Vargas recently sat down with colleague George Stephanopoulos to discuss her battle with alcoholism on Good Morning America.

“I am an alcoholic,” Vargas said to Stephanopoulos. “It took me a long time to admit that to myself. It took me a long time to admit it to my family, but I am."

Back in November 2013, it was reported that Vargas had checked into an undisclosed treatment facility. “Like so many people, I am dealing with addiction,” she said at the time. “I realized I was becoming increasingly dependent on alcohol. And feel fortunate to have recognized it for the problem it was becoming. I am in treatment and am so thankful for the love and support of my family, friends and colleagues at ABC News.”

Vargas was first confronted by her husband, Grammy-winning songwriter Marc Cohn, who told her that she had a problem with alcohol. At first, Vargas was unable to accept the truth, but eventually realized that it was time to get help when she showed up to work “in no shape to do [an] interview,” she said. “I got out of the car I realized what am I doing? And that’s when I knew I needed to get help.”

The 51-year-old anchor told Stephanopoulos that her alcoholism stemmed from a lifelong battle with anxiety that started with panic attacks as a child. “I dealt with that anxiety, and with the stress that the anxiety brought by starting to drink. And it slowly escalated and got worse and worse,” she said.

Now sober, Vargas regularly attends AA meetings and plans on returning to 20/20 when ready.

Check out this clip of Vargas from the interview:

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Shawn Dwyer is a writer, editor and content producer living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Linkedin.