Daughters of “Perfect,” Famous Mothers Who Turn to Drugs
I’ve heard of men who have a hard time living up to the persona of their famous fathers, or their fathers’ expectations, for example. (Ken Pommerance is one such man. The YouTube video in the MBRC blog post about Men Giving Back says that he felt he was living in his police chief father’s shadow, not that that’s an excuse for drinking.) Daughters of famous, perfect mothers also have a hard time living up to their mother’s persona, and they, too, sometimes make the wrong choices.
You may remember when the story about the daughter of Ariana Huffington’s substance abuse hit the news last year. I found no less than three articles about it. In the September 2013 issue of Glamour magazine, Christina Huffington said that she did her first line of cocaine when she was 14. She blamed it on her parents divorcing and then running against each other for political office in CA. She also suffered from bulimia and anxiety. Eventually her mother found out about her drug use, Christina entered treatment, and she was scheduled to graduate from Yale.
In the hope of helping others, Ariana and Christina talked publicly about their experience. Here’s what Christina said on the Today show:
“It was ‘absolutely un-glamorous,” she told Savannah Guthrie in an exclusive interview on TODAY. “It was very much me by myself, in my apartment using drugs all day, from morning to night. There was nothing fun about it. I wasn’t at fun parties. I was really depressed, I was scared, I was anxious. I sort of felt isolated and alone and I thought I would never get out of there.”
Huffington said she is opening up about her ordeal to paint a realistic portrayal about drug addiction, and how it strikes people regardless of their economic and social background.
And here’s what Ariana said:
“Millions of young people in their teens and 20s struggle with alcohol and drug addiction,” she told Guthrie. “If Christina’s story can prevent one parent watching now from getting the call that I got, ‘Mommy, I can’t breathe,’ and help one young or young man come out, reach out for help and know you can turn your life around, then it will have been worth it.”
I found the Today show interview about Christina’s drug use harrowing, as so many of these stories.
Olivia Newton John’s daughter, Chloe Lattanzi, has a similar story, according to the daily U.K. Mail online. She, too, experienced anxiety, and she, too, had an eating disorder—in her case, anorexia. Like Christina, Chloe used cocaine, but unlike Christina, she abused pot and antidepressants. She finally got clean at age 27. The paper pulls no punches in saying that the pressure of growing up as the offspring of such a ‘perfect’ celebrity proved to be an unbearable strain for her.
Her story, and the extent of her drug use, is as scary as Christina Huffington’s. Fame can do that to you, she said. (Chloe got her own record deal at a young age.)
It’s not only the daughters of celebrities that may have these feelings, however. If this can happen to them, then it surely can happen to daughters of powerful women in industry. Or, for that matter, any young woman whose mother is accomplished and the young woman feels, wrongly, she has to live up to that image.