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Celebrities in Recovery: Famous People Affected by Alcohol 


Author: Thomas Roth

Last Updated: 2/14/2022

Alcoholism is a condition that develops when someone becomes dependent on alcohol. The condition creates urges to drink and causes people to binge drink, drink in secret, and drink alcohol every day. Alcoholism is dangerous because frequent alcohol consumption leads to health problems like liver failure, certain types of cancers, and even death.

1. Daniel Radcliffe 

Daniel Radcliffe became famous when the Harry Potter movies were being produced; Radcliffe is Harry Potter and maintained that role for 8 movies. While Radcliffe was a good actor he struggled with alcohol during filming because of the high-stress environment. Alcohol was causing him to have mood changes, attitude problems, depression, and other mental health issues that started to impact his career.

In 2010, Daniel Radcliffe decided that enough is enough and quit drinking alcohol. This improved his life and helped him become a better person, actor, and friend. Daniel Radcliffe was able to quit drinking thanks to supporting from his peers who held him accountable during his journey.

2. Natalie Portman 

Natalie Portman is someone who doesn’t enjoy drugs or alcohol. While she dabbled with drugs like marijuana in college, she was never interested in high school parties or college parties. That said, she did drink alcohol throughout her college career. When Portman became an actress she realized that alcohol was bad for her body, her mind, and even her image. 

These factors are what helped her stop drinking alcohol. She didn’t go through any treatment because she never struggled with alcoholism. Instead, she chooses to not drink it because of what can happen if she gets addicted. For Portman, it’s all about prevention.

3. Bradley Cooper 

Bradley Cooper is an American actor who has starred in popular movies like the Hangover. The actor used to drink alcohol during his 20s and was successful during this period. That said, Cooper no longer consumes alcohol and hasn’t since he was 29. This is because Cooper felt that alcohol was ruining his life and could lead him to disaster if he kept going down the route he was going down.

At age 29 Cooper quit alcohol and has remained sober since. Cooper spoke with GQ about the issue and how he overcame his alcoholism. For Cooper, he overcame the condition by passing and realizing it was starting. That moment of clarity allowed him to stop drinking with the help and support of his peers.

4. Billy Joel 

Billy Joel is a professional singer and songwriter known for songs like Piano Man. The Long Island native has been successful for decades and his songs have become popular. That said, Joel struggled with alcoholism during his career and it interfered with his career, love life, and friendships. One example is how fellow singer and songwriter Elton John urged Joel to seek treatment for alcohol abuse because he saw what it was doing to him.

Joel was also in denial about his drinking habits. He never considered himself an alcoholic because he drank during low periods of his life in bouts of binge drinking. Joel got treatment for his condition after 9/11 when he went to rehab for the second time.

5. Demi Lovato 

Demi Lovato comes from a family with a history of alcoholism and alcohol abuse. Her father was an alcoholic who abused Lovato’s mother, which caused trauma for Demi Lovato. Her trauma led to mental health conditions and coping with drugs and alcohol. The documentary Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil focuses on these issues and how they impacted her life. Lovato had fallen victim to drug addiction several times and had to check into rehab several times before maintaining sobriety.

For Lovato, alcoholism and other drugs were a coping mechanism. The things her father did to her mother caused trauma that caused Lovato to seek drugs as treatment. Her addictive tendencies made it challenging for her to quit and she even suffered from an overdose. Lovato has been in and out of rehab and believes in the 12-Step program to achieve long-lasting success.

6. Zac Efron 

Zac Efron is an American actor who has been famous since his teenage years. The movie star has played roles in many movies and continues to be active in Hollywood. During his younger years, Efron struggled with alcoholism and heavy drinking. Efron used alcohol as a “social lubricant” to help him deal with his fame and the pressure that was placed on him and his family.

Efron opened up about his addiction to alcohol and decided to get treatment. Efron is unique because he shows how challenging it is to stay sober. While he attended Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, they weren’t enough and he relapsed. It wasn’t until Efron checked himself into rehab that he got clean and sober.

7. Kristin Davis 

Kristin Davis is an American actress who has been in several movies. Davis is also a producer but is most well-known for her lead role in Sex and the City. Davis has had a successful career but has struggled like many other famous actors and actresses. Davis’ biggest struggle was alcohol and alcohol abuse. Davis began drinking at a young age to help her cope with the divorce of her parents and her insecurities.

Davis considers herself to be a recovering alcoholic, which is a good sign. She’s tried things like 12-Step meetings and rehab to recover from alcoholism and the treatment methods have worked for her. While she admits that she’s not perfect, she’s doing much better than she was a decade ago.

8. Robert Downey Jr. 

Robert Downey Jr. is one of the most notable sober celebrities. Downey Jr. suffered from alcoholism and many other drug addictions during the start of his acting career. In fact, one of his first addictions dates back to when he was only 6 years old. Downey Jr. was able to treat his addiction before landing the role of Iron Man.

Downey Jr. had a vicious cycle that he was stuck in. He would enter into a rehab program, get help, and then binge drink with his friends. The actor nearly overdosed several times and speaks frequently about how it ruined his career. Downey Jr.’s lesson to people who struggle with alcoholism and addiction is to speak with loved ones, find a support group, and go to rehab.

9. Naomi Campbell 

Naomi Campbell is a British model who is known for her beauty and good health at over 50 years old. The model has been sober for years and attributes her sobriety to her good health. In her eyes, Campbell would look and feel a lot worse if she was an alcoholic. Campbell struggled with alcoholism and drugs early in her career.

Naomi Campbell suffered from many addictions. While alcoholism was a prominent one, she also had a cocaine addiction. Naomi got treatment for her cocaine addiction through inpatient rehab, which worked out for her. Then, a few years later, Campbell got treatment for alcoholism with support groups and rehab.

10. Lana Del Ray 

Lana Del Ray is an American singer and songwriter. Her music can be found on popular platforms like YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, and more. Lana Del Ray has had a successful music career but she admits that she’s not perfect. According to Del Ray, she struggled with alcoholism throughout her career and it negatively impacted her music.

Lana Del Ray suffered from alcoholism at a young age. The condition developed when she was 15 and throughout her teenage years, she would drink alcohol every day. She’s been sober since 2004 and spoke with GQ about her addiction in 2012. With GQ she mentioned how rehab and support groups helped her get sober and stay sober.

11. Lucy Hale 

Lucy Hale is an American actress. She’s well-known for her role in Pretty Little Liars and has been in several TV shows and movies. Hale is someone who is full of energy and is loving and caring, according to her friends and family. For Hale, that changed when she developed alcoholism and began abusing alcohol.

While Hale struggled with alcohol she’s been sober for many years. The actress has given the substance up and claims that friends and family helped her through her recovery. For Hale, it came down to surrounding herself with better people. She was able to latch on to their energy and recover from her addiction.

12. Calvin Harris 

Calvin Harris is an American music producer known for electric dance music (EDM). Calvin Harris was not open about his alcohol addiction until he held a Q&A with fans on the social media platform Twitter. On Twitter, Harris wrote that he suffered from alcoholism during his first few years as a DJ. The condition reached a point where he was drinking two bottles of Jack Daniel’s Whiskey each night.

For Harris, alcoholism contributed to the problems he was having instead of treating them. Harris explains that alcohol made his depression and anxiety worse and caused him to perform worse and lose friends. Harris had treatment through a combination of friends and support groups.

13. Eva Mendes 

Eva Mendes is an actress known for her roles in romantic comedies and action movies. The actress has had a lot of success and has been an actress for several decades. While Mendes is successful she checked herself into rehab in 2008 at Utah’s Cirque Lodge. The lodge is known for treating celebrities who struggle with alcoholism and addiction.

Eva Mendes’ story is a reflection of how everyone is vulnerable to alcoholism. While her addiction didn’t directly impact her career, it caused several problems that forced her to change. Her story is a representation of the fact that alcoholism can happen to anyone, even someone like Eva Mendes.

14. Macklemore 

Macklemore (Ben Haggerty) is a famous American singer and songwriter. He became popular when he wrote and produced the song Thrift Shop. The song topped charts in 2012 and helped him rise to fame. While the song was a hit and life was good for Macklemore, he was suffering from alcoholism in secret with only close friends and family members understanding his condition.

Macklemore started to struggle with addiction when he was only 15. The actor began to abuse alcohol until he was forced to enter rehab in 2008. While he has focused on remaining sober ever since, he’s admitted to relapsing with marijuana and sleeping pills. Macklemore’s story represents the dangers of relapse and how urges can persist for years after addiction treatment.

15. Ben Affleck 

Ben Affleck is an American actor known for his roles in comedies and action films. One of his recent films, The Accountant, became quite popular and maintains good reviews. While Affleck has been successful throughout his acting career, he’s struggled with alcoholism and substance abuse for many years. In fact, Affleck has been in and out of rehab 3 times.

That said, Affleck is doing much better than he was a few years ago. Affleck attributes his recent successes with addiction to support from fans, friends, and family. While rehab was great for helping him reach sobriety, Affleck spoke out about how supportive group meetings can help someone stay sober after treatment concludes.

16. Kim Kardashian West 

Kim Kardashian West is an American actress and media personality who is one of the most successful women in the United States. Her massive net worth and beauty help her stand out from others and she has a cult following on social media. While Kim Kardashian West is successful that doesn’t mean she’s perfect.

Kim Kardashian West doesn’t enjoy the taste of alcohol and has struggled with addiction in the past. While she’s clean now, Kardashian West hasn’t quit alcohol. Instead, she handles the substance with care and moderation. She’ll have an occasional drink for a celebration but doesn’t drink often.

17. Brad Pitt 

Brad Pitt is an American actor who’s famous for his roles in comedy and action films. One movie he starred in, World War Z, was among the best movies in its genre the year it was released. Over the years Brad Pitt has been in dozens of movies and has become a household name. That said, he’s not perfect and has struggled with alcoholism and addiction in the past.

Brad Pitt had a 2-year marriage and 12-year with Angelina Jolie that ended with divorce. Pitt had spent a lot of time getting drunk and doing drugs, which is what led to the relationship’s downfall. It’s one of Pitt’s greatest regrets. Pitt was able to rebound from addiction with the help of rehab and support from friends and family.

18. Jennifer Lopez 

Jennifer Lopez is a singer and songwriter known for her beauty and musical performances. She has been producing music for decades and continues to provide great songs for people to listen to. While Jennifer Lopez is good with music, she’s not good with alcohol and chooses not to drink it. 

Unlike other famous celebrities who quit drinking, Lopez doesn’t drink alcohol for other reasons. While she struggled with addictions in the past, her reasoning is that she wants to have and maintain healthy skin. Alcohol consumption damages the body and is one of the reasons alcoholics look like they age faster.

19. Pharrell Williams 

Pharrell Williams is an American producer who creates records, music, companies, and helps other artists gain fame. Williams has been famous for decades and gas spoke publicly about his struggles with addiction, drugs, social pressure, and even alcoholism. While Williams used to party more often in the past, he doesn’t participate in it anymore.

Williams is a unique celebrity because he didn’t go through addiction therapy or attend AA meetings to not drink alcohol. In fact, he just never liked it. This is why he’s said that he’s only been drunk about 9 times in his life and has only taken other drugs occasionally. Williams doesn’t like the way that alcohol or drugs make him feel, which is what helps him maintain sobriety.

20. Matthew Perry 

Matthew Perry is an American actor and voice actor who starred on the show Friends for the entire length of the show. He had close relationships with co-stars but went down a different path that involved addiction, binge drinking, and mental health issues. The issues began after a jet ski accident that happened in 1997. He became addicted to the pain medication Vicodin and abused it with alcohol.

Perry was always up and down with alcoholism and drug abuse. While he’s sober now, Perry struggled to get clean and stay clean. He was in and out of support groups, friends had interventions, and it began to impact his life. That said, Perry was able to overcome his addiction thanks to helping from traditional treatment methods, friends, and family.

How Celebrities Get Treatment for Alcoholism 

Celebrities get treatment for alcoholism in the same ways that other people get alcoholism treatment. The difference between celebrities and other people is that they often seek treatment in secret and have more resources to afford high-end treatment centers like inpatient programs. That said, celebrities still get treatment through the traditional treatment methods of alcoholism. These include inpatient rehab centers, outpatient therapy programs, Alcoholics Anonymous groups, and sober living homes.

Who are the Biggest Alcoholics of All Time? 

Throughout history, there have been several notable alcoholics. The biggest  alcoholics of all time are:

  • Stephen King

  • Winston Churchill 

  • Alexander the Great 

  • Amy Winehouse

  • Vincent Van Gogh

  • Betty Ford

  • Boring Yeltsin 

  • George Best 

  • Ulysses S. Grant 

  • Ernest Hemmingway 

These alcoholics are known for their fame and alcohol addiction.

How did Alcohol Affect Celebrities? 

Alcohol affects celebrities in many ways. Alcohol has caused celebrities to drift away from loved ones, lose careers, and lose credibility in the public eye. While alcoholism has led to a lot of loss, many celebrities were able to recover from alcoholism and regain public standing. That said, alcoholism has left many lasting consequences for all types of celebrities. 

Are There any Celebrities that Die from Alcoholism?

Celebrities around the world have died from alcoholism. Alcoholism causes the body to break down after years of abuse, so it’s not surprising to see celebrities pass away from the condition. One example is Mickey Mantle, who was a famous baseball player. His story is important because he was the recipient of a new liver (he failed from alcohol abuse) but he chose to continue abusing alcohol. After several years this led to his death.