Celebs and Addiction–Amy Winehouse, Stephen Tyler, Kristen Johnston, and Alex O’Loughlin
As I’ve said before, celebrities do a public service when they bring attention to addiction and recovery. And recently four have done that in different ways.
I first heard about Amy Winehouse who died in July of alcohol poisoning, when I listened to her song, “Rehab,” released in 2006. She was only 27. A couple of weeks ago I saw her singing with Tony Bennett on a TV program about singers with whom he has sung duets. Her family set up a foundation in her memory, and in March the foundation announced a scholarship for a student in financial need to be able to attend the Sylvia Young Theater School in London that Winehouse attended as a girl. What a nice gesture.
Rock star Stephen Tyler appears on TV every week since signing on as a judge for American Idol. In March Oprah interviewed him and showed a video in which he fell off a concert stage in 2009. He needed stitches, but he could have been much more seriously injured. The singer admitted he had been high when it happened and mentioned how hurt he was that his band members didn’t contact him for so long afterward. In turn, they mentioned how betrayed they felt that he had gone back to drugs. Tyler is clean once again and has thousands of fans wishing him well.
Kristen Johnston of “Third Rock from the Sun” fame has published a memoir called “Guts” in which she discusses her longtime addiction to drugs and alcohol. Johnston started on the road to recovery, according to the report I read, when her ulcer “exploded,” and she landed in the hospital. She’s also co-founder of an organization called SLAM, for Sobriety, Learning, and Motivation, which is planning to start a recovery high school in New York (I assume that’s New York City and not somewhere else in the state.) This site says she’s a co-founder. Another inspirational gesture.
Even a small entry I found in the news, about a star I’ve never heard of—Alex O’Loughlin, who plays a detective in the TV show Hawaii Five-O, provides fodder for discussion. O’Laughlin injured his shoulder, took pain meds, and become addicted, or at least that’s what I infer from the explanation: “Alex is taking a short break to receive supervised treatment” for problems related to prescription pain medication, the statement said. He’s not the first actor to present problems for a show’s – or a movie’s — producers and writers.
Joan added: The Amy Winehouse Foundation receives a donation for every copy ordered of the new album “Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures.”