Celebrity

Jamie Lee Curtis Opens Up About The Secret Addiction She Fought For A Decade

Gage Skidmore - Flickr

When we think of celebrities with addictions, the picture we usually imagine is a young star with a hard-partying lifestyle.

But that's not the case. Just like the rest of us, Hollywood stars fall into the painful trap of addiction in so many ways.

And, as Halloween star Jamie Lee Curtis revealed in a new interview, sometimes these very public figures battle private demons.

"I felt misshapen, just not natural anymore... I’d anesthetize myself on a daily basis."

Jamie Lee Curtis Virus
Curtis says she spent most of the 1990s battling a secret addiction.Universal Pictures

Curtis, now 59, was already 35 when she developed an addiction to prescription painkillers.

The actress says she was recovering from cosmetic surgery to alter her "hereditary puffy eyes" when a doctor first prescribed opiates.

Soon, Curtis was abusing the pills and eagerly awaiting her next prescription, beginning a painful cycle that would last for almost a decade.

"I was ahead of the curve of the opiate epidemic," the actress told People in a new cover story. "I had a 10-year run, stealing, conniving. No one knew. No one."

Painkillers
Prescription painkillers were Curtis' drug of choice.USMC - Wikimedia

Curtis even insists that her husband, director Christopher Guest, had "no clue" she was an addict until she finally confessed to him on her first day of recovery.

The actress said her addiction was also compounded by painful years of "loneliness," and anxiety about getting older in Hollywood.

"I attempted various types of plastic surgery, minutely but enough to stave off this encroaching middle-aged body," she admitted to More magazine.

Jamie Lee Curtis
Curtis has admitted she regrets getting plastic surgery.Gage Skidmore - Flickr

"And everytime I did, something went wrong. I felt misshapen, just not natural anymore ... I’d anesthetize myself on a daily basis."

Meanwhile, Curtis felt herself being drawn deeper and deeper into an addiction no one else knew about.

"Once you've had a taste of that feeling," she explained to Larry King in 2001, "that great relief and feeling that that drug gives you, it just made me want to have that feeling again and again."

"You're wrong, and I'm wrong and we're in complete denial that this is going to kill us."

The history of drug abuse in Curtis' family didn't make her recovery any easier.

Janet Leigh Tony Curtis
Curtis is the daughter of Hollywood stars Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis.Photoplay - Wikimedia

Her half-brother, Nicholas, died from a heroin overdose in the midst of her own addiction, while her father, actor Tony Curtis, was both an alcoholic and a drug user.

For Curtis, rock bottom came when she stole painkillers from her sister, Kelly. She remembered being heartbroken by the theft, but unable to admit what she had done.

Instead, Curtis wrote an emotional letter to her sister, which she kept to herself instead of mailing:

I’ve been harboring a bad secret. I have found and taken many of your painkillers," she wrote. "I’ve betrayed you, and I know that you’re angry, and you have every right to be. I am lonely. I take them at night to ease the pain. I was so afraid to tell you.

When she decided to get sober for the last time, Curtis credits her young daughter, Anne, for inspiring her to stay clean.

But the actress also admitted she was haunted by visions of what might've happened, if she didn't change her ways.

Jamie Lee Curtis
Curtis only admitted her addiction to her family once she was already in counseling.Gage Skidmore - Flickr

She remembered thinking of a close friend who was also an addict, and "that either she would be dead or that I would be dead and that either one of our children would be standing at a funeral."

"And that if I saw her kids at the funeral, that I would know that I didn't have the courage to say to her, 'You're wrong, and I'm wrong and we're in complete denial that this is going to kill us.'"

"I’m breaking the cycle that has basically destroyed the lives of generations in my family."

In February, Curtis will be 20 years sober, and the actress tells People she's still attending counseling meetings and volunteering as an adviser for people struggling with addiction.

She even jokes that she is "the opiate girl," and the person fellow addicts trust for advice.

While Curtis is celebrating an impressive $77 million opening weekend for her new horror movie, Halloween, she says staying sober is the highlight of her career.

"I’m breaking the cycle that has basically destroyed the lives of generations in my family," she said.

"Getting sober remains my single greatest accomplishment… bigger than my husband, bigger than both of my children and bigger than any work, success, failure. Anything."

[H/T: People]

Congratulations to Curtis on 20 years sober! Has someone in your family battled addiction?

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com