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Hollywood celebs who overcame their difficult pasts

Did you know Drew Barrymore was treated for drug and alcohol addiction at the age of 13? As she turns a year older, we recap stories of Hollywood celebrities who have overcome a not-so-rosy past

Drew Barrymore
She began acting in advertisements when she was just 11 months old, and by the time she turned seven, she was a household name--thanks to her stint in Steven Spielberg’s ET. In her book, Wildflower, she describes herself as being ‘out of control’ after working in the film industry from a young age.

Drew Barrymore

She got introduced to drugs very early on in life and by the time she was 13, her parents had to send her to an institution where she was treated for drug and alcohol addiction. However, the actress insists that the experience was necessary. “It was like serious recruitment training and boot camp, it was horrible and dark and very long-lived, a year and a half, but I needed that,” confesses Barrymore.

Demi Lovato
The actress has never shied away from talking about her ‘darkest’ days. Over the years, Lovato has gone on record to talk about her struggles with bipolar disorder, drug addiction, eating disorder and depression. During an interview, she revealed that at a certain point others’ lifestyle would make her jealous but that didn’t make her bitter.

Demi Lovato

She elaborated, “There was a time when I was jealous of people who were able to party. For instance, Miley — in her music video Can’t Stop, her whole thing was partying and not giving a f**k. Part of me was super jealous that I couldn’t be like that. But then I thought about it and was like, ‘Okay, that’s just not what you can do. There’s no need to be bitter about it.’” The actress opened up about her complicated relationship with her father, Patrick Lovato, who died of cancer in 2013. The 23-year-old admitted that she didn’t have a good equation with her late dad whom she termed as ‘abusive’.

Zac Efron
In April 2014, the High School Musical actor created a stir when he admitted to being in rehab for alleged cocaine addiction. Reportedly, the actor also underwent two rehab stints in 2013 and was involved in a brawl in LA’s drugs mecca Skid Row. While the actor refused to divulge details, he did acknowledge his addiction and said, “I was drinking a lot, way too much. It’s (the reason) never one specific thing.

Zac Efron

I mean you’re in your 20s, single, going through life in Hollywood, you know? Everything is thrown at you.” Despite getting past a number of crests and troughs in his life during his 20s, the actor confessed that he wouldn’t take back a thing. “I wouldn’t take anything back. I needed to learn everything I did. But it was an interesting journey, to say the least.”

Nicole Richie
During an interview in 2008, the actress, who was adopted by musician Lionel Richie, accepted that it was the privilege she was born with which led her into drugs as a teenager. By the time, she reached her mid 20s, Richie realised that she needed to ‘deal’ with heroin addiction. So she did and today is a proud parent to two kids.

Nicole Richie

Speaking about her tumultuous journey, she asserted that she is responsible for the way her life has turned out. “One thing about me is that I’ve always taken responsibility for my own actions whether they’re good or bad. Even when I was going through my tough time, that was a situation that I created,” Richie reveals. “People ask me, do I blame Hollywood or my parents? No, I don’t blame my parents. It had nothing to do with them. I created it and manifested it and I got myself through it with the help of a lot of great people,” she adds.

Robert Downey Jr
The Iron Man actor not only battled drug addiction from an early age, he also confessed that he has unknowingly passed on his addiction issues to his son Indio Downey. The 21-year-old musician was charged with felony drug possession. However, Downey Jr claimed that it is perfectly normal for people to become obsessessd with something and then get over it.

Robert Downey Jr

Talking about his own upbringing in New York, the actor said, “I have heard of people that had impossible-to-defend childhoods, and I say, ‘You had an interesting childhood.’ And occasionally it’s the folks who have had the most quote-unquote interesting childhoods and the most here-come-the-sirens idiosyncratic dispositions who push (the boundaries). It’s amazing how many world leaders and icons were psychotic, or had breakdowns or whatever.”

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