Addictions have a tendency to ruin homes, families, and careers. And while you may have heard the stories of Robert Downey Jr, Ben Affleck, or Drew Barrymore, who fought their addictions and won, little is known about people whose lives (and careers) were ruined. 


While it’s true that those people who couldn’t win with their problems have an absolute right to be protected from gossip, their stories can influence people all over the world more than any leaflets or lessons about the consequences of drug and alcohol use. 

These people had everything – and then something tragic happened and turned their careers into ashes. And it’s not their fault – because, no matter what, it’s extremely difficult to beat addiction, even if it might not seem so. After all, everybody has access to professional help, and there’s a drug and alcohol rehab centre in almost every big city. But even with all that aid, drugs and alcohol are still one of society’s biggest problems.

Here are stories of several famous, talented people whose careers were ruined by addiction.

David Hasselhoff

Officially the most-watched man on TV of all times, once the most popular TV stars, David Hasselhoff, had it all – until the alcohol came in. In 2007, a notorious video of the drunken actor went viral on the internet. Hoff lost his visitation rights with his daughters and had to seek professional help. He fought, completely changing his lifestyle and his diet, adding exercises, visiting AA meetings. 

Nevertheless, his career never got back on track. As the actor described it himself to the Mirror, “I went from box-office gold to box-office poison.”

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston was one of the most popular singers of all time, but most of her adult life was spent in the rehab centers. Her story was similar to many others – she worked hard, got noticed, hit her career. She got married, starred in several movies, and then the personal struggles started – it was only a question of time until the drugs came into the picture.

Unfortunately, the rehab centers never worked for her. Cocaine was the reason for Whitney’s sudden death in 2012 – she drowned in the bathroom, aged 48. 

Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson had a breathtaking career as a professional boxer and was the undisputed world heavyweight champion from 1987 to 1990. He had everything: talent, fame, money. But then, personal problems emerged. Tyson got on the heavy drugs, became violent, and in 1992, was sent to jail for rape. After being released, he tried to get back on track, but his career seemed to have ended – in 2003, the boxer declared bankruptcy and retired in 2006.

Although it looked like his lifestyle had improved, in 2013, Tyson admitted to being “on the verge of dying” because of drugs and alcohol. Nevertheless, he was still hopeful to change his life for the better.

Lindsay Lohan

The Parent Trap (1998) was a breakthrough in the starlet’s career – a career that didn’t end well. She moved to California by herself at 18, and that’s when her problems started. She had legal and financial issues, was in a series of car accidents, and suffered from bulimia. And then, her drug and alcohol addiction tendencies showed themselves. 

Lohan started going to AA meetings at the age of 21, and she was admitted into rehab several times. Her career couldn’t bear it – and was ruined. 

Britney Spears

Britney is often described as the best-selling teenage artist of all time. Who hasn’t heard at least one of her songs? Everyone heard of Britney – and when drug and alcohol scandals in her life erupted, it just couldn’t be left unnoticed. Spears’ addiction led to multiple court struggles, psychiatric evaluations, and, eventually, conservatorship. Her career lasted but was not as grandiose as before.

Singer’s father, Jamie Spears, now is in charge of her physical and mental health – as well as her finances. This led to the #FreeBritney movement, as the fans were sure that Jamie used the complete control he has over his daughter’s state and career to serve his private interests. 

Alcohol and/or drug addiction is always a tragedy – and an extreme challenge. Even today, when you can find all the possible help you may need in the area, it’s not easy to overcome the addiction. And the consequences are scary: you can lose everything, including your family, your health, and your career. 

Nevertheless, substance abuse and addiction shouldn’t be hidden– there are always people who want to help you. And even if your career shifts and your life changes rapidly – just like it happened for those celebrities – life still goes on. You just need to look for something worth fighting for.

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