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Actress Jamie Lee Curtis is a Hollywood veteran who has seen the entertainment business grow and change over the last 40 years. Behind the scenes of her success, Curtis has fought personal battles—and she is now celebrating 22 years of sobriety.
Now 62 years old, Curtis got her start in acting in 1978, when she starred in the cult classic horror film Halloween. As a young starlet, she was exposed to plenty of drugs and alcohol, though she had also experienced addiction in her own family. Her father, actor Tony Curtis, was addicted to alcohol, cocaine, and heroin; she also lost a half-brother, Nicholas, to a heroin overdose in the early 90s.
In 1989, Curtis underwent eye surgery, and was prescribed opiates during her recovery. Throughout the 1990s, Curtis sought out more prescriptions, and became addicted to opioids—all while maintaining a successful career in show business.
After a decade of suffering from opioid addiction, Curtis realized that she needed help. In an interview with PEOPLE, she stated that her battle was entirely private, saying, “I was ahead of the curve of the opiate epidemic. I had a 10-year run, stealing, conniving. No one knew. No one.”
In 1998, Curtis made the decision to start attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings, and she began to forge her path in recovery. At the time, she was the mother to a 12-year-old and a 2-year-old, whom she shares with her husband, director Christopher Guest. Her secret had been kept hidden from her family completely, and she stated that she would never take the drugs when working or on set.
Reflecting on the situation to Variety, Curtis remembered an incident where she stole painkillers from her sister Kelly. Later, she confessed to stealing the pills, leading her sister to discover her secret addiction. At that time, she stated that Kelly hugged her and said, “‘You are an addict and I love you, but I am not going to watch you die.’”
Just months later, Curtis read an article in Esquire where the writer reflected on his addiction to Vicodin. It was then that she felt compelled to attend NA.
Now, with over 20 years of sobriety behind her, Curtis has served as an inspiration to millions of fans who have watched her star in everything from Scream Queens to Freaky Friday. After going public with her addiction struggles, support poured in from all over the country—and all over the entertainment world. Now an advocate for sobriety, Curtis is celebrating how her chosen path has transformed her life and career.
In a commemorative Instagram post to mark her 22nd sober birthday, she posted a throwback image of herself drinking wine, with the caption, “A LONG time ago… In a galaxy far, far away… I was a young STAR at WAR with herself.”
Across the social media universe, well-wishers chimed in to share their support or their own stories of sobriety. With over three million followers, Curtis has an enormous platform to share her experiences in sobriety, and with candid posts such as these, she is doing just that.
In the post, Curtis is quick to note that she did not make it to this point alone, and that the journey continues, every day.
“With God’s grace and the support of MANY people who could relate to all the ‘feelings’ and a couple of sober angels…I’ve been able to stay sober, one day at a time, for 22 years. I was a high bottom, pun kind of intended, so the rare photo of me proudly drinking in a photo op is very useful to help me remember,” she wrote.
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