John Goodman On Depression, Addiction

By Lindsey Weedston 09/27/19

The prolific actor, who's been sober for 12 years, has been candid about his past struggles with alcoholism and depression.

John Goodman
ID 88153056 © Starstock |

John Goodman of Roseanne and now The Conners has struggled with depression since gaining widespread fame in the late 1980s, according to a report by Amo Mama. He also battled alcohol addiction for decades, avoiding treatment until the problem got out of control and his wife got him into treatment in 2007.

Heavy Drinking Affected His Job

He spoke on this in a 2018 interview with Willie Geist of Today, revealing that he missed a rehearsal because he was still drunk from a weekend out with friends.

"I was shaking, I was still drinking, but I was still shaking," he said. "I had the clarity of thought that I needed to be hospitalized."

Now 12 years sober, Goodman is starring in the second season of The Conners, which premiered on Tuesday.

Goodman’s mental health and substance use issues began after the success of Roseanne launched him into tabloid-worthy status.

Dealing With Fame

The actor had a difficult time adjusting to the new level of fame and scrutiny, calling it “very unnatural.” He had such a distaste for it that after the show ended, he moved his family from Los Angeles to New Orleans in an effort to escape the unwanted attention.

“I’d had it with show business, publicity, tabloid stuff—I’d just had it,” he told The Guardian in 2015. “I kind of wanted to get her, my daughter, away from that.”

Unfortunately, by that time, Goodman was already in the grips of alcohol addiction. Though he never suffered an overdose, he admitted that “there’s many times I could have gone under” in terms of some type of “misadventure.”

Now, however, Goodman says he only drinks in his dreams.

Roseanne's Cancellation 

Though he’s doing well with his sobriety, Goodman still struggles with depression from time to time. He revealed in 2018 that he went through a depressed period that lasted about a month after the Roseanne reboot was canceled following racist comments from the show’s namesake, Roseanne Barr, about former senior advisor to former President Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett.

"I was brokenhearted, but I thought, ‘OK, it’s just show business, I’m going to let it go,'" said Goodman. "But I went through a period, about a month, where I was very depressed. I’m a depressive anyway, so any excuse that I can get to lower myself, I will. But that had a great deal to do with it, more than I wanted to admit.”

The reboot was quickly re-crafted into a spinoff, The Conners, in which Roseanne dies suddenly of an opioid overdose following a hidden addiction and the family has to move forward without her—something many Americans could identify with at the peak of the opioid crisis.

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Lindsey Weedston is a Seattle area writer focused on mental health and addiction, politics, human rights, and various social issues. Her work has appeared in The Establishment, Ravishly, ThinkProgress, Little Things, Yes! Magazine, and others. You can find her daily writings at Twitter: