Melanie Griffith’s Life-Long Battle with Addiction

Melanie Griffith’s Life-Long Battle with Addiction

Child of a beautiful Hollywood starlet, married to men whose faces grace the covers of grocery store magazines and a movie star in her own right – the life of the rich and famous is full of privilege and advantages. Sometimes those lives are also full of sadness and struggles common to the rest of us. Movie star Melanie Griffith, at least, says that summarizes a large part of her life.

Melanie Griffith, daughter of the Hollywood beauty Tippi Hedren, says that her entrance into a life of addiction started at a young age. The 54-year-old actress says that she never felt fully loved as a child and so began to erase difficult emotions with alcohol as early as age 10. Drinking wine as though it were soda pop led her down a dangerous path.

By the time she was 18, she says that she was living a wild lifestyle that included alcohol, cocaine and sex. She married actor Don Johnson (twice) and the two lived in addiction until they were finally divorced. Next, Ms. Griffith married and divorced actor Steven Bauer. When that marriage ended, she turned again to alcohol to blunt the pain.

In 1989, she entered a drug rehab facility for the first time (which would be followed by two other drug rehab attempts) after the director on a movie set pulled her aside for showing up to work drunk. It was in drug rehab that former husband Don Johnson, himself now clean of drugs, offered to support Griffith’s efforts to change her life.

Ms. Griffith eventually married her current husband Antonio Banderas and the couple has remained together for over 15 years. He stood beside her when she entered drug rehab in 2000 for addiction to painkillers and again in 2009 when she succumbed once again to the abuse of prescription drugs. Mr. Banderas described his wife as a lion in her fight against addictive behavior.

The couple has been open about other fights, too. Hollywood couples have marriage issues just like the rest of us. But their determination to fight for health and family seems to have won the day. During her last visit to drug rehab, Ms. Griffith says that the entire family went with her to therapy and spent at least two weeks together actively supporting her efforts to change.

As often happens in lives marked by substance abuse, Ms. Griffith tried for years to muffle the pain of emptiness in her life with a temporary “buzz.” It doesn’t work, even for the beautiful, talented and famous. Thankfully, she has been as open about the value of her support network in battling addiction as she has been about the battle itself.

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