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5 Famous People You Didn’t Know Were in Recovery

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Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

November 17, 2023

Table of Contents

The entertainment industry has undergone some dramatic changes since the cocaine-fueled eighties when rampant substance abuse and heavy drinking seemed to be the norm rather than the exception.

Today, rock stars and movie icons are more likely to be teetotal and in recovery than abusing drink and drugs.

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While many celebrities, from Robert Downey Jr. to Eminem have very publicly battled with substance abuse issues, others are not so vocal about their recovery.

We’ll highlight five famous people you may not know are in active recovery from addiction.

5 Celebs You May Not Know Are in Recovery

1. Ben Affleck

2. Daniel Radcliffe

3. Macklemore

4. Jack Osbourne

5. Brad Pitt

1) Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck, perhaps best known for playing Batman, has struggled with alcohol and substance abuse throughout his life.

Affleck has a family history of alcoholism. His father has been in recovery for over thirty years, and two of his grandparents were also alcoholics, with his paternal grandmother committing suicide aged 46. An uncle also killed himself. He has an aunt who was addicted to heroin. His brother Casey, also an actor, has grappled with his own addiction issues, and is now also in recovery. Affleck describes this legacy of addiction as “quite powerful and sometimes hard to shake.” He also says that he now feels that his father “did the best he could”.

Despite two early stints in rehab in 2001 and 2017, Affleck had been fairly tight-lipped about his addiction issues until a third stint in rehab in 2018.

Being filmed intoxicated at a 2019 party and starring as an alcoholic construction worker in The Way Back, prompted Affleck to become more outspoken about his addiction and his recovery.

The actor and producer states that alcohol addiction is “the most ordinary thing” in Hollywood. Now “sober for a while”, Affleck claims he feels healthier and better than ever before, despite some slip-ups along the way.

While Affleck admits he finds this relapse, especially its very public nature embarrassing, he also wanted to honestly address it and then move on.

Through Ben Affleck’s experience, you can see that addiction has a strong genetic component, and you can also see the relapsing nature of addiction. More importantly, though, you can take inspiration from how Affleck, even when shamed on a global stage, doubled down and renewed his recovery rather than viewing relapse as the end.

2) Daniel Radcliffe

Actor Daniel Radcliffe sprang to fame playing Harry Potter in the billion-dollar franchise that sold out theaters the world over.

Over the past year or so, Radcliffe has started speaking about his alcohol use disorder and subsequent recovery.

In an interview with The Telegraph, the actor admitted to changing when drunk: “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.”

First drinking heavily to cope with the sudden fame that turned his life upside down at a young age, Radcliffe was soon blacking out nightly, despite at that stage not realizing he had a problem with alcohol. An unfortunate New York City bar fight – before which Radcliffe was seen drinking heavily – ended his first two year stint of sobriety.

Since that public relapse – an unfortunate reality for most famous people with addictions – Radcliffe remains sober, staying fit and healthy through improving both his diet and exercise, both crucial components of sustained recovery.

Daniel Radcliffe serves as a cautionary tale for anyone who feels alcohol is a benign and socially acceptable substance rather than something with the capacity to unravel even extraordinary lives.

3) Macklemore

Macklemore writes and performs music that’s acutely socially-aware, but that’s not all he is known for. The artist is also a strong supporter of those in recovery after grappling with substance abuse since his teens.

Describing his first attempt at drinking in an MTV interview, Macklemore outlines drinking a dozen shots alone in his kitchen after raiding his parent’s liquor cabinet.

Drinking heavily throughout his teens and into his early twenties, Macklemore also developed a severe opioid use disorder. Addicted to prescription painkillers rather than heroin, the artist is yet another victim of the opioid epidemic that’s pummeled the United States for the past two decades.

After his first stint in rehab back in 2008, Macklemore stayed sober for three years until, just like Ben Affleck, he had a high-profile relapse. Recommitting to sobriety, Macklemore remains substance-free, and he continues to champion the recovery movement.

Releasing songs like Drug Dealer and Starting Over, Macklemore’s lyrics detail his own struggles with substance abuse and addiction.

The artist headlined the 2018 Recovery Fest, a substance-free festival in support of charities fighting the opioid epidemic, and he is also the recipient of the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award, underscoring his recognition for addiction recovery advocacy.

 4) Jack Osbourne

Jack Osbourne, son of rock icon Ozzy Osbourne and star of the MTV reality TV show, comes from a family with addiction issues.

When he started using drink and drugs at a young age, Osbourne found the party lifestyle glamorous and alluring. He said he looked for “the excitement of crazy adventures inebriated” rather than focusing on the downside of addiction.

Starring on The Osbournes provided Jack with more money and even more independence from already-liberal parents. Struggling to adjust to being in the spotlight as well as coping with his mother’s cancer diagnosis, Jack found himself addicted to prescription painkillers, yet another high-profile victim of the opioid epidemic.

Trying to recover in the public eye was something Osbourne found challenging as well as “incredibly invasive.”   

Now almost two decades sober, Jack Osbourne is a powerful motivator for anyone grappling with prescription painkillers. Even with his diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, Osbourne remains substance-free and an inspiration for anyone in recovery or aspiring to recovery.

5) Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt has been a Hollywood star for three decades, famed for his pretty boy looks.

After a twelve year relationship with actress Angelina Jolie imploded, Pitt began opening up more about his substance abuse issues. He  said he couldn’t recall a day since college when he hadn’t consumed some substance or other, to the extent he claimed to be “tired of myself.”

Alcohol addiction was Pitt’s core problem, even if he was the poster boy for functional alcoholics. Swapping his alcoholic drinks for cranberry juice and fizzy water, Pitt remains sober as he adds producing to his acting credentials.

Recently, Pitt credited actor Bradley Cooper with helping him sober up.

Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder or Substance Use Disorder at Renaissance Recovery Center

Addiction doesn’t discriminate and can strike a Hollywood star just as easily as a regular civilian. If you are struggling with alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder, you don’t need to do it alone.

Here at Renaissance Recovery we have a variety of highly personalized treatment programs, both inpatient and outpatient. We integrate psychotherapy like CBT and DBT with medication-assisted treatment as appropriate.

If you are suffering from a co-occurring addiction and mental health disorder, we’ll address both your issues simultaneously with our dual diagnosis treatment program.

Whatever the scope and severity of your addiction, and whether or not you have a co-occurring disorder, we’ll help you reclaim your life. All you need to do is call the friendly admissions team at 866.330.9449.



At Renaissance Recovery our goal is to provide evidence-based treatment to as many individuals as possible. Give us a call today to verify your insurance coverage or to learn more about paying for addiction treatment.

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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