Five Celebrities in Recovery

These five celebrities in recovery beat addiction, stayed clean and delivered some of their best work while sober.

Looking for inspiration to get into recovery and make it stick? Just check out this sober celebrities list to learn who not only completely took control of their lives after battling with serious addiction issues, but were able to move on to the heights of their careers. Take a look at our favorite five celebrities in recovery:

1) Robert Downey, Jr.

In his role as Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr. has cemented himself as the center of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and pulls down a cool $75 million per year for his efforts). Success this huge would have been unthinkable for the actor in the mid-1990s, when a traffic stop led to the discovery of a stash of illegal drugs in his car and an eventual year in prison for it. Downey Jr. has been sober since 2003 and credits his success to his wife, who insisted he truly take control of his addiction before she would marry him.

2) Elton John

Elton John’s troubles with drug addiction began in a way very common for musicians. As he was hitting the heights of his success in the 1970s, he began partying and using cocaine simply because it was happening all around him. Casual use quickly developed into a habit that consumed all of his time outside of writing music and performing. John’s moment of clarity came in the 1990s when he met AIDS patient Ryan White and came to the realization he had spent the entire previous decade partying with no thought of the AIDS crisis. He created the Elton John AIDS Foundation and committed to staying sober, and was knighted at Buckingham Palace in 1998 for both this work and his contributions to music.

3) Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher’s battle with addiction is long and well-documented, mostly by the actress herself. She wrote a series of best-selling autobiographies and novels, one of which (Wishful Drinking) was converted to an extremely successful one-woman show. Her battles with alcohol and opioids started early in life, primarily as a way of self-medicating her bipolar disorder. Getting professional psychological help as well as discovering writing as an outlet helped her to turn the corner. She returned for one last “swan song” role as her most famous character, Princess Leia, before she passed away in 2017. Fisher’s battle with substances continued until the end of her life, but she also showed that it is possible to get the better of them and to succeed after hitting rock bottom.

4) Rob Lowe

Rob Lowe was the poster child for “bad boys” in the 1980s. Early success as an actor led to a hard-partying lifestyle that in turn led to alcoholism and a series of high-profile scandals. Lowe made the commitment to get sober in 1990 in the wake of his infamous sex tape. He made it stick, and with sobriety came renewed success and a reputation as a serious actor with roles in shows like the West Wing and Parks and Rec. Lowe credits his recovery to making a complete commitment to the rehab process and doing everything that he was told.

5) Samuel L. Jackson

In an interview during the filming of the 2016 movie Legend of Tarzan, Samuel L. Jackson described himself as a functioning addict. As a New York stage actor in the 1970s and 80s, Jackson struggled first with alcohol, then later with crack cocaine, hitting rock bottom when he passed out in his home and was discovered by his young daughter. His commitment to getting clean coincided with his rise to cinematic stardom in the early 1990s, so many people aren’t aware that he ever had addiction problems. Jackson credits both his recovery and his success in the movies to the support and honest criticism of his wife.

The one common theme in all of these success stories of clean and sober celebrities? Commitment to a medically certified rehab program. You don’t have to be a celebrity or have elite insurance to afford a good treatment program; many options for financing and financial assistance are available to those in need.

If you’d like to speak to professional about your addiction problem, call us at 1-800-429-7690 to be put in touch with a qualified counselor with experience in treatment for addiction.