'Wonder Woman' Lynda Carter Opens Up On 18 Years Of Sobriety

By McCarton Ackerman 03/17/15

The former '70s star revealed her long battle with alcohol.

Lynda Carter

Lynda Carter, best known as Wonder Woman in the hit '70s show, is opening about her battle with alcoholism and recently celebrating 18 years of sobriety.

The actress, singer, and former Miss USA didn’t even start drinking until her mid-20s, well after her stint as Wonder Woman ended, but said her “gradual” drinking problem slowly begin to take over her life. After her first marriage ended in 1982, her drinking escalated after marrying second husband Robert Altman in 1984 and moving from Hollywood to Washington, D.C.

“Alcoholism is an abyss [and] you are terrified of the addiction. You just can’t stop. The disease has taken over [and] it is not a matter of having willpower,” she told British publication Express. “It happened over a period of time. It’s not like methamphetamine or heroin, where you get hooked and that’s it. But ... over a period of time you begin to crave it.”

She admitted using alcohol as a way of avoiding her “emotional difficulties” during her first marriage, but believes a genetic predisposition to alcoholism exacerbated the problem. She acknowledged alienating loved ones as a result of her drinking and admitted not knowing if she’d ever be able to stop.

“I wasn’t really present for my two children, though my kids never saw me out of control,” admitted Carter. “When I had a drink, I couldn’t stop. My liver doesn’t process alcohol until I’ve had three drinks. Then I’d fall off the cliff or under the table. It’s just devastating.”

At the urging of her husband, who asked her to stop drinking “for the children and for me,” Carter entered rehab and sobered up. She told People magazine in 2008 that rehab taught her the best measure of a human being is “how we treat the people who love us and the people that we love.” She’s been sober ever since her time in treatment and appears to consider herself fully recovered, but is now hoping to serve as an inspiration for others to beat their own addictions.

“Now I’m focused on health, not perfection. I don’t want to be a weak, sick 90-year-old,” she said. “I try to help others and I’d like to take the stigma out of alcoholism, but I don’t struggle with it.”

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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.