We all know that Hollywood can provide so much access and excess to the rich and famous that damaging results can quickly follow. Too often, celebrities receive an unreal amount of criticism for addressing their personal problems and choosing to take measures to fix them. Those who recognize their demons and choose to battle them deserve praise, not hate, and that's especially true of those who handled it all themselves.
Here are 12 famous figures who risked their public images and made the conscious decision to enter rehab and put their health above habits.
1. Daniel Radcliffe
As Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe took on the moniker of "The Boy Who Lived," but what's most impressive is his real-life commitment to surviving. When he realized his alcohol habit had reached the point of substance abuse, he admitted that he had a problem and sought treatment of his own accord. More recently, the Harry Potter star checked himself into rehab to battle his smoking addiction.
2. Demi Lovato
Out of all the young pop stars in the spotlight today, Demi Lovato is probably the most open about her struggles with addiction and mental illness. Back in 2010 when the singer was only 18 years old, she checked herself into rehab to combat anorexia, bulimia, drug abuse, and a self-mutilation habit. She credits the three-month stay with saving her life and career, and she has since been a vocal advocate for mental health awareness and self-love.
3. Jon Hamm
The Mad Men star quietly entered a rehab facility by his own volition just before the show's last season premiered in March of this year. He's been private about his struggles with alcoholism, but he's remained ever-vigiliant and self-aware about his own addiction. With his friends and family by his side, he was able to complete a 30-day program, and he has since been clean and sober.
Kesha often gets a bad rap for supposedly only singing about partying and fun, but she's shown time and time again that she's way more thoughtful than people want to give her credit for. Case in point: the performer checked herself into rehab to combat an eating disorder, and she immediately reached out to fans on the importance of self-respect.
I'm a crusader for being yourself and loving yourself but I've found it hard to practice. I'll be unavailable for the next 30 days, seeking treatment for my eating disorder...to learn to love myself again. Exactly as I am.
5. Robin Williams
Once Robin Williams coped with the tragic death of friend John Belushi, he realized that he needed to change his hard-drinking and cocaine-snorting ways and fast. On Inside the Actor’s Studio, he opened up about how important it was to him to stay clean:
It was great to have full sentences once I cleaned up. It was also great to be aware of the experience of a child and watching him grow, which is another amazing experience.
He maintained that commitment to his health, choosing to enter rehab in 2014 for a continued sobriety effort. Tragically, Williams took his own life the following month, but his legacy continues to remind us of courage in the face of addiction.
6. Selena Gomez
Many were shocked when wholesome teen queen Selena Gomez made the decision to enter rehab in 2014, but the actress/singer has spoken out about what drove her to get to that point in an emotional speech to students:
Until recently, I had given into that pressure, I lost sight of who I was. I listened to opinions of people and I tried to change who I am because I thought others would accept me for it. And I realized I don’t know how to be anything but myself.
Speculation pinned the blame on Justin Bieber, but no clear reason has been given for Selena's two-week stint. One thing's for sure, though. She's clearly doing a lot better now.
7. Ben Affleck
No matter how you feel about Ben Affleck's casting as Batman, you must admit that there's something heroic about confronting your difficult vices and choosing to do something to change them. In 2001, Affleck chose to enter an alcohol rehab facility in an effort to combat his family's history of the disease.
My father was an alcoholic and there was a cycle of addiction in my family ... It colors who you are and becomes part of you. I had my issues and went to rehab.
8. Demi Moore
After splitting from Ashton Kutcher following rumors of his infidelity, Demi Moore started on a damaging downward spiral that landed her in the hospital with seizure-like episodes caused by inhaling nitrous oxide. She recognized the dire straits she was in, and checked herself into a rehab facility to combat a prescription pill addiction and anorexia in 2012.
Since then, she's encouraged her daughter Tallulah Willis to seek out treatment for her own battles with drug abuse and an eating disorder.
9. Zac Efron
When it was retroactively revealed that Zac Efron chose to enter a rehab facility for a serious cocaine addiction, many fans were surprised such a big star could fly so under the radar. Now, Efron has been enjoying a life free from the need for the drug as a "social lubricant," and it's directly coincided with his more recent success on the big screen.
It was getting to the point where I was caring less about the work and waiting more for the weekend. I couldn't wait to go out and sort of let loose and have fun, but then when Monday and Tuesday were difficult to get through, then I was like, 'This is bad.
10. Kirsten Dunst
Despite rampant speculation from the media that Kirsten Dunst sought treatment in rehab for drugs or alcohol, the true reason was depression brought on by the intense pressures of Hollywood. She felt like she needed to be everything to everyone all the time, until the point came where she lost sight of who she really was.
I had been living life on the surface, emotionally, and I was feeling really vulnerable, so I was prepared to do anything at that point.
Luckily, with treatment and some time away from the spotlight, Kirsten has been taking Hollywood by storm again with a renewed sense of self.
11. Joaquin Phoenix
Joaquin Phoenix had the tragic experience of witnessing his brother River fatally overdose on a mix of heroin and cocaine, and many attribute that to his own self-awareness about the dangers of addictive substances. In 2005, the Oscar-nominated actor chose to check himself into a rehab facility to combat alcohol abuse. He's remained famously private about his personal life, but his publicist did release a statement encouraging others to seek help if they need it.
He was uncomfortable with the way that he was living his life and found the courage to deal with his disease.
12. Robert Downey, Jr.
For a long time, Robert Downey Jr. seemed like the prototypical Hollywood tragedy, until he turned it all around to become one of the biggest stars of the day. Throughout the '90s, he struggled through arrests and visits to rehab, until he actively committed himself to his own recovery. Now, he's vocal about how much of a struggle that was and has even helped his son son through his own addiction struggles.
I don't pretend it didn't happen. More than anything I have this sense that I’m a veteran of a war that is difficult to discuss with people who haven’t been there.
In the end, these famous figures made a concerted effort to better themselves, and that's more admirable than pretty much anything else.