Demi Moore Gets Candid About Her Struggles in Getting Sober
In her new memoir, Inside Out, actress Demi Moore has revealed the candid truth about her past, which includes a history of addiction. At 56 years old, Moore has experienced her share of struggles in life, many of which have played out in the public eye.
Born in Hailey, Idaho, Moore was the daughter of Virginia Guynes. After Moore’s biological father left the family before Demi’s birth, Virginia was remarried to Dan Guynes.
In the Guynes home, Moore experienced significant trauma as she watched her mother’s growing dependence on drugs. Recalling one horrifying incident, Moore vividly recounted scraping drugs from her mother’s throat to prevent an overdose.
“The next thing I remember is using my fingers, the small fingers of a child, to dig the pills my mother had tried to swallow out of her mouth while my father held it open and told me what to do. Something very deep inside me shifted then, and it never shifted back. My childhood was over,” she told Harper’s Bazaar.
Leaving home at age 16, Moore headed for Hollywood, where she signed with the Elite Modeling Agency. At 17, she met her first husband, Freddy Moore, who was 29. Moore adopted her first husband’s last name, though the two divorced in 1985.
During her first marriage, Moore began to take on her first acting roles, which included a part on the soap opera General Hospital.
In her late teens, Moore began to abuse alcohol and drugs—which eventually resulted in a warning from her St. Elmo’s Firedirector Joel Schumacher. Moore subsequently attended a rehab program, though her battles with substance abuse were far from over.
After the success of St. Elmo’s Fire, Moore became an in-demand actress. As her film career progressed, she married actor Bruce Willis, with whom she has three daughters.
Finding Sobriety—Struggling to Maintain It
Years after Willis and divorced, Moore memorably made headlines by marrying actor Ashton Kutcher, 15 years her junior.
The public reaction to Kutcher and Moore’s relationship was overwhelmingly negative, and as Moore reveals in her memoir, the behind-the-scenes of their relationship was often fraught.
After maintaining her sobriety for 20-plus years, Moore wrote that her much-younger husband had his doubts about alcoholism and its limits, stating that he said, “I don’t know if alcoholism is a real thing — I think it’s all about moderation.”
Moore began to drink more heavily as time went on, and started to abuse Vicodin after an oral surgery. Choosing to stop the pain medication, Moore looked to Kutcher for support, which she claims she did not receive.
The two split up in 2011, and Moore experienced intense struggle during their break-up and its aftermath. In a 2012 incident, Moore smoked an unknown substance that caused her to have a seizure. Later hospitalized anorexia and substance abuse, Moore sought treatment for her substance abuse and co-occurring disorders, and has been sober ever since.
Moore’s mother Virginia Guynes continued to struggle with substance abuse throughout her life. The relationship between Moore and Guynes was tumultuous due to Guynes’ addiction, though the two reconciled before Guynes died of a brain tumor at 54. Moore’s father Dan committed suicide at age 37.
Emerging from an intensely difficult past, Moore is setting a new foundation for life in sobriety. She is currently filming for a TV adaptation of Brave New World.
In the interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Moore spoke openly of the journey ahead, stating that, “So part of being sober is, I don’t want to miss a moment of life, of that texture, even if that means being in […] some pain.”