Where Are The Stars From Celebrity Rehab Now?

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From afar, it appears fame and fortune provide celebrities a glamorous life with few worries, but even Tinseltown's elite pay a handsome price when addiction comes knocking. With drugs so readily available in Hollywood, it doesn't take long for recreational use or self-medication to devolve into a star's full-blown addiction. Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, which aired on VH1 from 2008-2011, offered a glimpse into the not-so-glamorous side of life in the fast lane. VH1's former executive vice president of original programming and production, Jeff Olde, described Celebrity Rehab to the Daily Beast as portraying the story of a "devastating disease without making it prettier than what it is."

While the show has been criticized for exploiting vulnerable public figures who have hit rock bottom, it did help de-stigmatize the mental health issues that can lead to substance abuse. The show also highlighted the struggles all addicts face and added to the societal conversation about addiction and recovery. Viewers grew to care about the outcomes of these celebrities struggling for sobriety. Unfortunately for fans of the show, at the time of this writing, six Celebrity Rehab alums have tragically passed awayincluding The Real World: Hollywood star, Joey Kovar, and Grease actor, Jeff Conaway.

As for the rest of the celebs that graced our television screens during this controversial series, we have updates on cast members to share with you, and — brace yourself — it's a mixture of tragedy and celebration.

If you or someone you know is in need of help with addiction or another mental health issue, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357).

Dr. Drew Pinsky grew 'tired of taking all the heat'

Dr. Drew Pinsky is an addiction and recovery expert who rose to fame as one of the hosts of the syndicated radio talk show Loveline. Pinksy first appeared on Loveline in the 80s, as a fourth-year medical student. The show — which answered questions from callers about love, sex, and drugs — first aired locally in Los Angeles, only to grow into a pop-culture monster resulting in tours, a book, and even a television show. While Pinksy left the radio show in 2016, his early media presence might explain his instincts for what makes good infotainment (or exploitainment).

Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew aired for five seasons, with a sixth season featuring everyday people. Pinsky also worked with high-profile addicts in two Celebrity Rehab spin-offs. Sober House chronicled the post-rehab lives of prior Celebrity Rehab patients as they attempted to juggle freedom and sobriety. The other spin-off, Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew, showed Pinsky providing treatment for sex and/or love addiction. As he told Zach Sang and the Gang (via Today) in 2013, Pinsky ultimately stopped doing these shows because he was "tired of taking all of the heat" for negative outcomes of previous participants, including several overdose deaths.

Pinsky has also been in the news for being the eagle on The Masked Singer in 2019 and for making controversial comments in 2020 minimizing the severity of COVID-19 before stay-at-home orders were issued for most of the country.

This spiralling beauty queen came out on top

When Kari Ann Peniche was crowned Miss United States Teen in 2003, she was bright-eyed and going places. Sadly, she soon went astray. According to an E! special, Peniche posed for a Playboy spread scheduled for publication after her pageant reign ended, but a promotion let the cat out of the bag early. Peniche was stripped of her title and sought refuge in the guest house at the Playboy mansion. As she told The Fix, "I don't think [living at the Playboy Mansion] was too much for me, but it definitely opened my eyes to a world that I hadn't been exposed to before."

Peniche revealed to Steppin' Out (via The Fix) that she had been "raped twice" growing up and had an abusive relationship with a man who "introduced [her] to hard drugs," which Peniche's mother credits as the beginning of her downfall. An opportunity for redemption on Celebrity Rehab (and Sex Rehab and Sober House) backfired and only added to her bad-girl reputation thanks to erratic behavior.

According to NBCGawker published a tape of nude shenanigans between Peniche, Eric Dane, and his wife, Rebecca Gayheart, in 2009 (a potential reason for the couple splitting years later in 2018). Per TMZ, Peniche accused her Celebrity Rehab castmate, Mindy McCready, of releasing the tape. While Peniche was still using meth in 2012, she has since gotten sober, kept her family intact, and started a design business, DAF House.

There are countless sizable offenses for this celeb

Tom Sizemore was Hollywood's quintessential tough guy, but his career was stunted by addiction. As the actor told Daily Mail, the turning point came right before filming Natural Born Killers, where his addiction took hold within two weeks of trying cocaine for the first time. "It really felt like Christmas and my birthday and the first time I got a piece of a** all rolled up into one." He soon added heroin and methamphetamine into the mix. Sizemore told The Daily Beast that Stephen Spielberg was so concerned about his drug use he tested him daily on the set of Saving Private Ryan. "He would fire me on the spot and shoot all 58 days that I'd worked over again with someone else," the actor recalled. 

Casting Sizemore on season three of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew was controversial because of his history of domestic violence, particularly against former Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss, which resulted in serving a six-month jail sentence, per CNN. Shockingly enough, Fleiss also appeared on Sizemore's season of Celebrity Rehab.

Sizemore was accused of molesting an 11-year-old girl on a movie set in 2003, which was not revealed until 2017. Per AP, at the time"prosecutors didn't file charges" due to "witness and evidence problems." Sizemore ran into problems yet again in January 2019 when TMZ reported on the celeb's bust for possession of heroin and meth and his January 2020 arrest for DUI and drug possession.

Heidi Fleiss 'fell in love' with birds

Former Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss told The Fix that Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew was "one of the best experiences of [her] life," adding, "I wish they would start doing that show again." When pressed for a reason, she answered, "You learn when you watch other people that you're not alone [in] whatever you're going through and that there might be a way out."

Fleiss entered season three of Celebrity Rehab addicted to methamphetamine and prescription medications. The sketchy decision from Dr. Drew's team to simultaneously cast Tom Sizemore didn't seem to plague her psyche. Fleiss continues to struggle with addiction to crystal meth. In a 2017 interview for The Naughty Nineties, a book by David Friend, she revealed her battle with methamphetamine had only recently ended. And in 2019, she admitted a recent relapse to The Fix, confessing, "Sometimes I cannot accept the mistakes that I've made. Dealing with a relapse seems easier than continuing to deal with the pain."

Fleiss has no regrets about her call-girl heyday other than the loose lips that sunk her ship. She now lives in Pahrump, Nevada, and spends most of her time rescuing and caring for scores of exotic birds, mainly macaws, a pastime that began when an elderly neighbor asked Fleiss to take care of her birds when she died. As Fleiss told Friend, "I fell in love with these birds, and I lost interest in the sex business." She's now a macaw girl.

Mike Starr battled multiple demons

Tragically, Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr was the first Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew alumnus to die. His addictions to heroin, cocaine, meth, and methadone were chronicled on season three of Celebrity Rehab and, later, on season two of Sober House. Starr died of a prescription drug overdose in March 2011.

Starr says the 2002 overdose death of his bandmate and dear friend, Layne Staley, was a turning point in his life. He carried immense guilt over Staley's death because he knew Staley was sick, and Starr wanted to call 911, but Staley refused. Starr was also high, and the two quarreled over Starr's benzodiazepine use before Starr left Staley's home in anger. Starr said on Celebrity Rehab that Staley's last words to him were an attempt to squelch the argument, saying, "Not like this," as Starr stormed off. That was the last time anyone saw Staley alive, and Starr blamed himself for leaving and not calling 911 despite Staley's protest.

Staley's mom visited Starr during treatment and spoke at Starr's Celebrity Rehab graduation in hopes her support of Starr would somehow turn her son's death into something positive. A year later, Starr was dead.

Mindy McCready's personal tragedy was devastating

Troubled country singer Mindy McCready struggled with addiction to alcohol and prescription painkillers and battled a personality disorder. She sadly died by suicide in 2013. The circumstances of her death are especially heartbreaking because her boyfriend and father of her 10-month-old son, Zayne, David Wilson, had recently died in the same place, in the same manner. McCready was overwhelmed by this loss, which likely exacerbated her mental health struggle. She was ordered to inpatient treatment following Wilson's death. Her rep told People, "While taking appropriate and much needed time to grieve, her sons have been placed in foster homes where they are comfortable and cared for." McCready left treatment early, in part due to the "stigma of mental illness," Dr. Drew revealed on CNN.

McCready stayed with fellow Celebrity Rehab season three castmate, Kari Ann Peniche, following their rehab stint, where Peniche alleged that McCready stole a personal video from her hard drive, featuring Peniche interacting with a married couple in the nude, and leaked it to Gawker. McCready denied the accusation.

McCready had many struggles in life. During rehab, she suffered a seizure, purportedly from a head injury inflicted by an abusive ex-boyfriend. While the end of McCready's life was a tragedy, we wish nothing but happiness and love for her children.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Seth Shifty Shellshock Binzer isn't giving up

Cocaine (crack and powder) were Seth "Shifty Shellshock" Binzer's poisons. The Crazy Town lead singer appeared on season one of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, then again on season two after a relapse. He also appeared on the first and second seasons of Sober House, where he caused quite a stir.

Binzer seriously struggled to get and remain sober, and he had frequent legal trouble. Binzer relapsed while living in the Sober House after having been called a "has been" by fellow cast member Mary Carey's boyfriend, David Weintraub. Binzer left the facility, posting cryptic MySpace messages that led his Sober House housemates on a wild goose chase looking for him at hot spots around town. He wound up in the hospital, eventually returning to the house with crack in his pockets.

After his VH1 appearances, the Butterfly singer relapsed and ended up in a coma after an apparent overdose in 2012. He eventually awakened and never gave up on his quest for sobriety. Binzer rejoined Crazy Town in 2013, is purportedly sober, and continues to tour with the band.

Brigitte Nielsen welcomed a bundle of joy into her life

Actress Brigitte Nielsen was a success story following Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. She felt she had beaten her battle with alcohol and was enjoying sober living. But a few years later in 2012, Daily Mail reported she was seen drinking vodka from a bottle in a Los Angeles park, staggering around the park before lying down in the grass to take a nap.

They say relapse is part of recovery, and it must be difficult to have the world watching as you navigate personal struggles, but sometimes public shaming lights a fire in addicts to hop right back on the wagon. Nielsen talked to Drew Pinsky on Dr. Drew's Life Changers, following the incident and explained she was not going to dwell on the public relapse, saying, "You have to pick yourself up because life goes on."

In 2018, Nielsen had a baby at the age of 54! This was her fifth child and the first child for her husband, Mattia Dessi. Nielsen is an excellent reminder of the power of self-forgiveness and stick-to-itiveness. It is never too late to live your dreams.

Mackenzie Phillips had long-lasting traumas to battle

As the daughter of John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas, Mackenzie Phillips had access to entertainment-industry opportunities not normally available to aspiring performers. However, she also experienced trauma throughout her formative years. In her 2009 memoir, High on Arrival, she spoke about her childhood, and during a promotional visit at NBC's Today show (via CNN), the starlet revealed that "her father taught her to roll a joint when she was 10, [and] she tried cocaine" when she was 11.

If that's not all, in 2017's Hopeful Healingshe recounts that when she was cast in American Graffiti at the age of 12, her parents put her on a plane alone to go to the set. Producer Gary Kurtz ended up being her legal guardian during production because no one else was there to care for her.

One of Phillips' most startling public revelations appeared when she visited The Oprah Winfrey Show and read an excerpt from her first memoir, revealing her father had raped her when she was between the ages of 17 and 18. That pain is what led her to Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, who told Access, "There is just no doubt in my mind that Mackenzie had severe trauma growing up."

Phillips has been a substance abuse counselor at Breathe Life Healing Centers in West Hollywood since 2013. She also has a busy acting career, including a reboot of One Day at a Time.

Dr. Drew gave up on Celebrity Rehab because of Rodney King's tragedy

Rodney King was a well-known victim of police brutality in Los Angeles before appearing on season two of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew and the first season of Sober House.

King drowned in his pool in 2012 after mixing alcohol, PCP, and marijuana. The autopsy report (via CNN) said King was "in a state of drug and alcohol-induced delirium" and that "the effects of the drugs and alcohol, combined with the subject's heart condition, probably precipitated a cardiac arrhythmia and the subject, thus incapacitated, was unable to save himself and drowned."

King's death was the straw that broke the camel's back for Dr. Drew Pinsky that caused him to cancel the show. In a radio interview with Zach Sang and the Gang (via Today), Pinsky said, "To have people questioning my motives and taking aim at me because people get sick and die because they have a life-threatening disease, and I take the blame? Rodney King has a heart attack and I take blame for that?"

And just like that, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew was no more.