Jason Wahler: Lauren Conrad Had Nothing To Do With My Addiction

By Paul Fuhr 10/23/17

The "Laguna Beach" star took to Instagram to clarify a situation that had been misconstrued. 

Jason Wahler

Former MTV heartthrob Jason Wahler spent last week explaining that his co-star and ex-girlfriend, Lauren Conrad, had nothing to do with his alcohol use disorder and addiction.

According to People, the drama unwittingly started when Sober Movement’s Instagram account posted a photo timeline of Wahler’s progress in recovery. Sober Movement captioned the collage: “Here is @jasonwahler, star of MTV’s Laguna Beach and The Hills, with over 7 years and 3 months clean and sober! He now dedicates his life to raising awareness towards addiction. We are all in this together!”

The first photo featured Wahler with Conrad, which apparently suggested that she’d somehow played a key factor in his troubles. (The collage also included photos of Wahler sticking out his tongue with “DRUNK” written on it, as well as a black-and-white photo from his 2013 wedding.)

Wahler immediately took to his own Instagram account to set the record straight.

“I can now see how some of you are viewing this photo,” he said, captioning a screenshot of the Sober Movement’s original post.

He continued by apologizing if he “offended anyone” and elaborated that “Lauren had nothing to do with my alcoholism or addiction.” The red carpet photo of him and Conrad had apparently only been included because his addiction had first gone public while starring on The Hills.

A day after his apology, though, Wahler went a step further and posted an updated collage that omitted Conrad. “Since a few people took offense to the last post maybe this is more appropriate,” he captioned with a smiley-face emoji.

Just a few months ago, Wahler posted a similar photo collage to celebrate his sobriety—though with far less controversy. With the caption “Before and After!” the collage included three photos: a mugshot, a current photo, and the inspirational phrase: “You will never know how good it all is until you get sober.”

The now-deleted post quickly snagged over 3,000 likes and a near-bottomless chain of positive comments. Wahler’s struggles with cocaine and alcohol were featured on the MTV series Celebrity Rehab after he’d first gotten sober.

“I think [Rehab host] Dr. Drew kind of nailed it on the head. It’s something I really respect him for,” he told The Fix in 2011. “I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says, but I’ve been to a lot of rehabs and seen a lot of doctors, and he’s definitely up there with the best. He said that being young, and being on the TV and the limelight and stuff kind of ignited [my alcohol use disorder]. It’s going to come up at some point if you have it, but this lifestyle kind of set fire to it and made it come up a hundred times faster.” 

Since then, Wahler has defied the odds to become a rare Hollywood sobriety success story. In the People story, Wahler admits that his substance use issues were “100%” to blame for ending his relationship with Conrad.

“I became a totally different person active in my addiction versus when I’m sober and living life in recovery,” he said. “It’s a totally different mentality and thought process—the way my brain operates, it’s completely different.”

He’s also since carved out a new role for himself in the recovery community, helping to run an aftercare facility in Laguna Beach where he teaches others how to live sober lives of their own.

“I just want to show RECOVERY is possible,” Wahler emphasized on Instagram. While he’s no longer in the spotlight, it’s clear that he knows his sobriety is center stage.

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Paul Fuhr lives in Columbus, Ohio with his family and two cats, Vesper and Dr. No. He's written for AfterParty MagazineThe Literary Review and The Live Oak Review, among others. He's also the host of "Drop the Needle," a podcast about music and addiction recovery. More at paulfuhr.com. You can also find Paul on Linkedin and Twitter.