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Jamie Lee Curtis: I 'Freebased' With Dad Tony Curtis

Actress, 20 years sober, opens up for Variety's 'recovery issue'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 6, 2019 12:31 PM CST
Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh are shown with their daughters Kelly, 2 1/2, and newborn Jamie Lee in Hollywood, Ca., in this Jan. 16, 1959 file photo. Curtis died Wednesday Sept. 29, 2010 at his Las Vegas...   (AP Photo, File)
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(Newser) – Jamie Lee Curtis has been open about her struggle with addiction and her recovery journey; she's been sober 20 years. She gets even more open in a new interview with Variety for its "recovery issue," revealing that dad Tony Curtis, whose addiction struggles were also well-known, "shared drugs" with her. "I did cocaine and freebased once with my dad," she says. "But that was the only time I did that, and I did that with him. He did end up getting sober for a short period of time and was very active in recovery for about three years. It didn’t last that long. But he found recovery for a minute." Tony Curtis died in 2010.

Curtis, whose painkiller addiction started after she was given Vicodin following plastic surgery, also reveals in the interview the moment when things started to turn around for her: It was 1988, and she swallowed five Vicodin with a gulp of wine—unaware that her friend was watching her. "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 recalls. "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." She wasn't yet ready to go into recovery, stealing painkillers from her sister shortly after that incident, but after her sister told her she wouldn't watch her die and Curtis read an article by Tom Chiarella about his own addiction to painkillers, she attended her first recovery meeting. (Read the full interview here.)

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