Her secret addiction to Vicodin came into the light after her friend caught her swallowing the pills in 1998. That was her wake up call.
Actress Jamie Lee Curtis has been open about her addiction struggle since the beginning. Recently she took to her Instagram to look back at her sobriety journey. Sharing a picture of her holding a drink, the 62-year-old penned, "A LONG time ago… In a galaxy far, far away… I was a young STAR at WAR with herself. I didn't know it then. I chased everything. I kept it hidden. I was as sick as my secrets."
Curtis comes from a family that has a history of addiction. Her father, Tony Curtis was an alcoholic. He was also a cocaine and heroin addict. Their family suffered the tragic loss of her half-brother Nicholas Curtis in 1994 because of a heroin overdose. The Halloween star spoke to People in 2018 about her secret opiate addiction in the late 1980s. “I was ahead of the curve of the opiate epidemic. I had a 10-year run, stealing, conniving. No one knew. No one.”
However, after hiding for a long time, the actress was caught. Talking about it in the 2019 Variety interview, the Knives Out actress revealed, she was 40 years old, married to director Christopher Guest for 14 years, and a mother to two young children, when her friend caught her swallowing five Vicodins with a swig of wine. The year was 1998.
“I heard this voice, ‘You know, Jamie, I see you. I see you with your little pills, and you think you’re so fabulous and so great, but the truth is you’re dead. You’re a dead woman,’” Curtis said. “The jig was up. Now I knew someone knew. I had been nursing a secret Vicodin addiction for a very long time — over 10 years.”
Just a few weeks after this incident, Curtis' sister, actress Kelly Curtis was prescribed Vicodin for some injury she suffered during a shoot. When Kelly didn't like the effects of the pills, she tossed them away, but Curtis started stealing them from her. “But then when she was moving out, I knew she was going to find the empty bottle,” Curtis recalled.
“So I wrote her a letter and I said, ‘I’ve done a terrible thing, and I’ve stolen your pills from you, and I’m sorry.’ When I came home that night, I was terrified that she was going to be so angry at me, but she just looked at me and put her arms out and hugged me and said, ‘You are an addict and I love you, but I am not going to watch you die.’ That’s it. She didn’t wag her finger at me. She didn’t tell me anything else.”
Two months later, in February 1999, Curtis came across an article titled Vicodin, My Vicodin by writer Tom Chiarella. Reading his story made the actress feel that she wasn't alone, and that marked the beginning of her sobriety journey. The same month she attended her first recovery meeting and told her husband about her secret addiction.
"I'm breaking the cycle that has basically destroyed the lives of generations in my family. Getting sober remains my single greatest accomplishment… bigger than my husband, bigger than both of my children, and bigger than any work, success, failure. Anything," Curtis told People. It's been 22 years since her journey began.
Acknowledging the ones who helped her in her journey, the Freaky Friday actress continued on her post, "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."
Referring to her charity, My Hand in Yours, the actress added, "To all those struggling and those who are on the path…MY HAND IN YOURS."