As a celebrity, Hollywood stars are used to spending a lot of time in the spotlight, both on screen and in their personal lives. What people often forget is that actors and musicians are human as well and share much of the same struggles many of us do, including dealing with addiction.
Whether they come forward to help raise awareness about these struggle or it's made public by a a legal mishap their substance abuse often stands front and center.
For some, their stories begin when they're really young and they spend a lot of their lives trying to fight their addictions.
Robert Downey Jr: 8-Years-Old
From addict to Avenger, Robert Downey Jr. is a success story that gives hope to anyone who has struggled with addiction.
Born into a Hollywood family, his father Robert Downey Sr. introduced his 8-year-old son to marijuana. The drug use between father and son would continue for some time.
"There was always a lot of pot and coke around. When my dad and I would do drugs together," Downey said in the 1988 book The New Breed, "it was like him trying to express his love for me in the only way he knew how."
At 17, Downey Jr. dropped out of school, left LA and headed for New York, where his drug use continued when he got his breakout role in Less Than Zero.
"Until that movie," Downey said, "I took my drugs after work and on the weekends. That changed on Less Than Zero. The role was like the ghost of Christmas Future. I became an exaggeration of the character."
By 1988, he went into rehab for the first time. In spite of his success in the coming years, his personal life continued to unravel because of his substance abuse problem.
In 1996, he was pulled over for being high, and having a car full of heroin, crack, cocaine and a gun.
It wasn't until 1999, when he was sentenced to 36 months in prison that his road to redemption began.
Mark Wahlberg: 13-Years-Old
Mark Wahlberg's parents divorced when he was 11, and his mother blamed her own emotional neglect on her youngest son's downward spiral.
At 14, Mark dropped out of school and began making his living on the streets by stealing and selling drugs. He claims that during this time he became addicted to cocaine. Two years later, he was jailed for beating a man with a metal hook in the street, leaving him blind. After spending 45-days in prison as a 16-year-old, Mark claimed that it was turning point in his life.
He began to focus his energy on body building and with the help of his older brother, Donnie, who was now a member of New Kids On The Block, he adopted his rap name Marky Mark and he began making music.
Source: Today I Found Out / Biography
Drew Barrymore: 9-Years-Old
The Charlie's Angel star didn't always have a glamorous life. Her father John Drew Barrymore was an alcoholic while Drew was growing up.
Her quick rise to fame started with appearance in ET when she was only 7-years-old, and the instability in her life became obvious when she asked director Steven Spielberg to be her godfather. He did accept.
Drew was 9 when her parents divorced and her mother began taking her to nightclubs up to 5 times a week. This was where the young girl was introduced to drugs, and started to earn her reputation as a 'party girl'.
At around 10 she had her first experience with drugs.
Barrymore went to rehab when she was just 13-years-old.
"(It was) no Hollywood rehab, 30-day, Malibu beachside bulls--t," she said. "I swear to God it's what I needed. I had nothing but freedom up until that point, partying it up, doing whatever I wanted..."
At the age of 14, she legally separated from her parents and moved into her own place.
She is now married to her third husband and has two children Olive and Frankie.
Source: Good To Know
Aaron Carter: 10-Years-Old
Aaron Carter first tried alcohol when he was just 10-years-old. He also claimed that Michael Jackon gave him cocaine when Carter was 15. In 2011, at 23-years-old he checked himself into the Betty Ford Center to get help.
Unfortunately that wasn't a success. The now 29-year-old continues to get in trouble for substance abuse, including a recent arrest on charges of DUI refusal, possession of marijuana and other drug-related objects.
"I don't need help," he said. "What I need is for people to understand that I'm human and that I make mistakes just like every other human in this world, but I would never risk my life or my girlfriend's life."
The younger brother of Backstreet Boy, Nick Carter, claims that he has never smoked meth, crack cocaine, or taken heroin, but has admitted to taking ecstasy "a couple of times" when he was 16-years-old.
Cory Monteith: 12-Years-Old
"Glee" star Cory Monteith's problems with drugs and alcohol began when he was just 12-years-old.
He attended 16 different schools, including alternative programs for "kids that are problematic", before dropping out at the age of 16.
At this point in his life, his drug use became a serious problem where he admitted that he was using "anything and everything, as much as possible."
At 19, his mom and friends staged an intervention, and he went to rehab.
"I did the stint but then went back to doing exactly what I left off doing," he said.
The turning point in his life came when was caught stealing from a family member and was given the choice to get help or go to jail.
"I changed my whole life," he admitted. "I moved to another city to live with a friend of my mother's who was recovering from addictions and I decided I was going to start trying to learn how to act."
He stayed clean for a while, but in March 2013, he check himself back into rehab again.
July of the same year he died at the age of 31 of an accidental overdose of alcohol and heroin.
In what could have been a long successful career for the Stand By Me actor, his life was tragically cut short because of his addictions. The talented Hollywood star fatally overdosed on heroine and cocaine at the age of 23.
There had been many interventions by River's friends about his drinking and drug abuse, but none of it had any effect.
According to Gavin Edwards's, brother of Joaquin Phoenix, Corey Feldman met River Phoenix on the set of Stand By Me and tried marijuana together for the first time. River would have been 16 at the time.
Corey also said that River was obsessed with talking about sex, admitting to having intercourse at the age of 15.
Source: Vanity Fair / Hollywood Life
Daniel Radcliffe: 20-years-old
Admitting that sometimes he turned up to shoot Harry Potter films still drunk from the night before, he says he used alcohol to cope with the pressure of fame and the looming potential failure.
"I was living in constant fear of who I'd meet, what I might have said to them, what I might have done with them, so I'd stay in my apartment for days and drink alone. I was a recluse at 20. It was pathetic "“ it wasn't me. I'm a fun, polite person, and it turned me into a rude bore," he said.
He admits that he drank a lot while filming Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
He gave up drinking in August 2010 after the filming of the final Harry Potter movie, because he was taking big risks, and getting blackout-drunk in public places.
"It's lovely. I barely think about it [alcohol]," he said, but admits he's had a relapse since.
"I can't tell you what kind of drunk I am because I don't remember what kind of drunk I am. I think I'm probably great "“ while I'm conscious. But then I have to be looked after and ultimately I don't want to wake up to 20 text messages along the lines of, "˜Where are you? Dude, are you OK?'"
"˜I change when I'm drunk. I'm one of those people who changes.' He goes on, "˜There is something in any person who drinks in a way that's clearly not good for them, something that is attracted to that chaos.'
Corey Haim: 15-Years-Old
Getting his breakout role at the age of 12 alongside Sarah Jessica Parker and Robert Downy Jr. Corey moved to Los Angeles with his mother after his parents divorced. That's when he admitted he lost himself.
A friend says that he was introduced to drugs while he was shooting The Lost Boys.
"That to him was one of the best times of his life "“ but it was also the last time he was truly himself," says the friend.
He was only 16-years-old when he made his first public admission that he struggled with drug abuse. This relationship with addiction lasted for 20 or more years.
This substance abuse may have been a result of trauma of sexual abuse that began when he was 14 or 15 years old. His abuser was in his 40s.
"Stuff happens when you are a kid," he said. "It scars you inside for life. That is just how I look at it."
And things didn't get better for him in later life. Ballooning to over 300 pounds, it seems like he couldn't catch a break.
"I didn't like looking in the mirror anymore. I couldn't do it. And tying my shoe was impossible anyway, because I couldn't honestly rest my arms. I think I have an addiction to pretty much everything. I mean, I have to be very careful with myself as far as that goes... I'll probably be a chronic relapser for the rest of my life," he said.
Corey Haim collapsed at his mother's apartment in March 2010 and was later pronounced dead. He was 38-years-old.
Source: Movie Pilot / People
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