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The world knows Tim Allen for his classic performances in films like The Santa Clause, Jungle 2 Jungle, and the Toy Story franchise. Of course, many of us also know him best as Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor, from the ‘90s sitcom Home Improvement.
Now 66 years old, Tim Allen has been in the film and television industry for decades, and has amassed dozens of awards and accolades for his performances. His sense of humor and natural comedic talent led him to pursue a career in stand-up comedy as a young man.
It was during his stand-up comedy career that Allen found trouble with the law, as a result of drug possession. In 1978, he was arrested for cocaine possession, and pled guilty felony drug trafficking charges. He ultimately served over two years in federal prison, though he returned to comedy soon after his release.
Although Allen was released and began to build his resume in Hollywood, his troubles were far from over. Later on, in 1997, Tim was arrested for driving under the influence, after driving his Ferrari over 70 miles per hour in a 40 mile per hour zone.
It was then that Allen entered rehab for alcohol abuse, which he completed during a hiatus from Home Improvement.
In an article published by E!, it was revealed that Allen’s own father had been killed by a drunk driver. Allen released a statement at the time, noting that, “I have been treated fairly by the authorities in my home town…My inexcusable lapse in judgment is a mistake that is embarrassing to myself, my family and my associates. I have learned from this experience, and I am fortunate that my family and associates have forgiven me.”
For most of us, it is difficult to imagine the troubling details of Allen’s past, knowing him more so as “America’s dad” on Home Improvement. His sitcom, which aired in a popular block of comedies on ABC, even explored themes of drug use, in an episode called “What a Drag,” where one of Tim’s three sons was caught with marijuana.
Although his past seems far behind him, Allen has not been afraid to acknowledge and share his story of recovery.
On a recent appearance on the Kelly Clarkson Show, Allen spoke out about his sobriety, commemorating the occasion of his 22nd year in recovery. He stated that he’s been drug and alcohol free since the late 1990s, though that the journey had not been easy, due to his life in the spotlight.
“Because I had money and I was a star, people help, they enable you to get by. The program I practice, it’s all about as soon as you get it, you gotta give it away. A kid can’t hold on to all these toys, and every time he sees a new toy, and he goes, ‘Mine,’ you gotta drop one of those before you can grab another one,” he said in the TV interview.
Allen told Clarkson that the hard work of recovery continues on a daily basis, and that the transformation doesn’t occur overnight.
Now starring on another sitcom, Last Man Standing, Allen is grateful for his sobriety, referring to it in a Parade interview as “his biggest blessing.” As a role model to others who are struggling, his long-term sobriety is a testament to the possibilities and renewed faith that come from hard work, commitment, and proper treatment of the body and mind.
Overcoming a difficult past, Allen has risen above his challenges and re-established himself as a comedian, though also as a husband and father of two.
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