Jamie Lee Curtis has made a name for herself by being one of the few celebrities in Hollywood to really pull back the curtain on their private life to help others. In 2002, the actor posed at age 43 without makeup or styling to help dismay the myth of perfection promoted by magazine covers. At age 50, she was photographed topless in order to encourage women to feel beautiful at every age. Now the Golden Globe winner is opening up yet again, this time sharing her own painful battle with addiction.
Appearing on the cover of People, Curtis revealed that she hid an addiction to opiates for 10 years. Starting in the late 1980s, Curtis said she spent a decade leading a double life. “I was ahead of the curve of the opiate epidemic,” said Curtis, who was first prescribed opiates in 1989 after undergoing plastic surgery to reduce the puffiness around her eyes. “I had a 10-year run, stealing, conniving. No one knew. No one.”
In a tearful revelation, Jamie said that she got caught after stealing pills from her sister Kelly Curtis while she was visiting Jamie’s home in the summer of 1998 after suffering a rib injury
“I knew she had them in her suitcase in our guest room closet,” Curtis said. “I basically took all her opiates. When she was leaving I knew she would pack her suitcase and find her pills missing. I knew I had to acknowledge to her what I had done, and so I wrote her a note and left it on her suitcase. I came home that day, and she put her arms around me and told me she loved me and she was concerned about me and she was unwilling to watch me kill myself.”
Addiction was nothing new for Curtis. Her father, actor Tony Curtis, struggled with alcohol and drug addiction. Her half-brother Nicholas Curtis died from a heroin overdose in 1994. In February 1999, Curtis attended her first recovering meeting and told her husband Christopher Guest about her addiction.
Celebrating 20 years of sobriety, Curtis says she’s now speaking out to help others like her who grew up around addiction and are struggling themselves. “I’m breaking the cycle that has basically destroyed the lives of generations in my family,” said Curtis. “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.”
Speaking about her addiction, Curtis says she understands why people are resistant to treatment. “The shame involved with it is tremendous. I have worked very hard to remove the shame of it and just acknowledge I’m human. What makes recovery so special is that it’s one addict or alcoholic talking to another. It’s really about letting go of the secret in a safe way and then finding treatment programs that work for you.”
This month marks Curtis’ return to the Halloween franchise, which launched her career back in 1978. Reprising her role as Laurie Strode, Halloween has already earned more than $103 million and boasts the highest grossing opening weekend ever for a film starring a woman over 55. It’s pretty awesome that Curtis, who now has the number one film in North America, is using this period of an elevated platform to share her own struggles in an effort to help people struggling with addiction. But really, do we expect any less from Curtis than being a badass proponent for others at this point? Nope.