The Truth About Jodie Sweetin's Past Drug Use

The following article includes mentions of drug and alcohol addiction and mental health issues.

Once upon a time, you could find the classic American '90s sitcom "Full House" — and its Netflix reboot, "Fuller House" — everywhere you looked. Alas, that's no longer the case. The latter released its fifth and final season on the streaming platform in June 2020, and while critics might not have been huge fans of the modern-day spin, Netflix audiences welcomed back former "Full House" actors Candace Cameron Bure and Andrea Barber, as well as Jodie Sweetin. All grown up, they assumed the parental roles once portrayed by series originals Bob Saget, Dave Coulier, and John Stamos. 

Sweetin's return was highly anticipated because her reprisal as Stephanie Tanner was a sort of redemption story — or at least, it was cast as such in the context of her nearly 15-year struggle with alcohol and substance addiction. Let's be honest: Everyone loves a comeback, and Sweetin overcame some serious challenges after the first iteration of the "Full House" franchise wrapped in 1995. So, what's the truth about Jodie Sweetin's past drug use and road to sobriety? Read on to find out.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Jodie Sweetin turned to drugs to cope with post-Full House life

Jodie Sweetin was only about 5 years old when the first season of "Full House" debuted in 1987, and she was barely old enough to be in high school when the popular series ended after eight seasons. Having spent the majority of her childhood growing up in front of millions of viewers, Sweetin found herself adrift, a large part of her identity gone without the role that had defined her career and her life.

"There is a certain sense of loss when a series ends," Sweetin said in an interview with ABC News in 2006, well after her addictions to various drugs, including methamphetamine and crack-cocaine, had become public knowledge. "It is kind of hard to figure out who you are when you've lost your job at age 13." In her 2009 memoir "unSweetined" (via Today), Sweetin said that her excessive substance use began at age 14. She graduated high school and earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Chapman University in California, but she kept her addictions a secret from many people for years. She married a Los Angeles police officer in 2002 and said even he didn't know she had a problem. They split by 2006.

So, what was Sweetin's watershed moment that spurred her journey toward sobriety?

One powerful moment led the star to a life of sobriety

According to Jodie Sweetin, the actor hit one of her lowest points after she found herself at a public speaking event at Marquette University in Wisconsin in 2008. She described coming down from a drug binge and sobbing in front of the audience gathered to see her. As she wrote in "unSweetined," such binges were par for the course for her at the time, despite the fact that her appearances were actually centered around her supposed sobriety.

"I talked about growing up on television and about how great my life was now that I was sober, and then midspeech I started to cry," Sweetin recounted. "The crowd probably thought that the memories of hitting rock bottom were too much for me to handle ... and they didn't think that I was lying to them with every sentence that came out of my mouth." That moment became a reckoning for Sweetin, who checked herself into rehab and proceeded to find work as a substance abuse counselor.

"Fuller House" might have finally played its swan song, but we're hoping it's not the last we see of Sweetin on screen, as she's inspired countless others through her frank honesty about the highs and lows of her recovery.

Jodie Sweetin started drinking at age 14

Jodie Sweetin was only 14 years old after she had her first real drink at "Full House" co-star Candace Cameron Bure's wedding. Sweetin revealed in her memoir "unSweetined" that once their waiter began serving everyone red wine without carding, she couldn't help but drink glass after glass until she felt sick. "I probably had two bottles of wine," she recalled, per E! News. Explaining why she couldn't stop, Sweetin admitted, "That first drink gave me the self-confidence I had been searching for my whole life."

Following that experience, Sweetin continued to drink throughout high school. Yet, according to The U.S. Sun, it was during that time that Sweetin also got into ecstasy, which helped shed her good girl image. "Going to school, everybody expected you to be Stephanie Tanner. ... I did everything I could in the beginning to be everything but Stephanie Tanner," she noted on the "Today" show. While Sweetin was already drinking heavily and using drugs in high school, things escalated in college when she began using cocaine, too. 

Yet, she still thought she had her partying under control since she went home on the weekends, with the star admitting during a 2017 talk at Chapman University (via E! News), "My brain was already so warped by alcoholism that what I told myself was, 'Great, now I can drink and party Monday through Thursday, and I can go home Friday, Saturday and Sunday, relax a little bit, sleep and come back and do it again.'"

The Full House star's life 'revolved' around drugs

It appears that once Jodie Sweetin started using meth at age 22, her whole life became about drugs. The "Finding Santa" star recalled to People in 2006, "It took six months from the first time I tried it to doing it all the time." Sweetin admitted that since she had been around drugs since high school, she never thought it would actually become an issue for her. Yet, she revealed, "Everything revolved around my addiction. On a typical day I'd wake up and feel terrible because I hadn't done any." It seemingly made it impossible for Sweetin to do much else, as she said, "You're either trying to get it, doing it or worrying about when you're going to get it next."

Things got so bad for Sweetin that she couldn't even attend one of her former "Full House" co-stars Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen's daytime movie premiere without being high. She dished in her "unSweetined" memoir (via Redbook) that despite being accompanied by her TV family to see 2004's "New York Minute," she had secretly snorted meth in the bathroom, writing, "I was pulling off the deceit. ... I didn't even look strung out!"

Sweetin apparently got used to hiding her drug use, especially from her husband at the time, police officer Shaun Holguin. "The amount of lying and covering up was insane. I would be doing drugs in the bathroom ... and I would just lie to him," she told People, adding, "I lied about why I wasn't sleeping, why I'd lost 30 lbs."

Jodie Sweetin went to rehab

Jodie Sweetin evidently went through a lot to get clean and sober, going in and out of treatment over the years. It seems she first realized that she needed help when a night of binging landed her in the hospital in 2005. Not only was the experience terrifying, but confessing to her loved ones may have been even worse. "Going to my parents' house and telling them what I had been doing was hard," Sweetin recalled to People in 2008, adding that she'd told them, "This is the big secret I've been keeping from you ... and I need help."

Sweetin went on to check into the celebrity-friendly rehab, Promises in Malibu, for a six-week inpatient treatment program, per E! News. During this time, she was pretty optimistic about her recovery, telling People, "I think I'm going to make it. ... Each day that you put together, you get yourself distance." She even later moved into a sober-house for six months after rehab.

While Sweetin had seemingly hoped rehab would kick the habit for good, she unfortunately relapsed in 2008. That time, she took another approach to treatment, explaining in "unSweetined" (via E! News), "I threw myself into going to AA and avoided people who do blow off their coffee tables." After another relapse in 2013, however, Sweetin decided to use her experience with addiction and rehab to help others by becoming a drug and alcohol counselor, explaining during a 2016 talk at Slippery Rock University, per The Rocket, "I completely threw myself wholeheartedly into my recovery."

She's relapsed a few times

You could say that Jodie Sweetin has been honest about her relapses over the years, as previously mentioned — even if she admitted to initially lying about it. Back in 2008, Sweetin not only told an entire audience at Marquette University about her sober life while secretly still using drugs, but according to Us Weekly, she did the same in interviews with "Good Morning America" and People magazine. Sweetin apparently did so because she wasn't ready to own up to using again, explaining in "unSweetined" (via Us Weekly), "I covered up my problems by pretending to be happy and saying that everything was fine."

It appears that, for Sweetin, faking recovery was paying off more than facing her real problems. "It landed me the speaking jobs I needed to keep my career going and the drug money rolling in," she wrote (via Today). Yet, it also contributed to her addiction cycle, with Sweetin recalling on the "Today" show in 2009, "I felt like a fraud, and a lot of shame went with that. And with all that, came more using."

The "Merry and Bright" star finally came to terms that she needed help again when she put her daughter in danger by driving under the influence in 2008, which she admitted "was the big rock bottom" in her memoir, per E! News. Unfortunately, that wasn't Sweetin's last relapse: In 2013, she found herself using again after a car accident led to a painkiller prescription, but eventually got back on track with her recovery. Sweetin has been sober ever since.

Medication was crucial for Jodie Sweetin's recovery

Jodie Sweetin has been very open with how medication has helped her stay sober, noting that it's allowed her to finally treat her mental health issues. The "Redefining Love" actor revealed on the "Allison Interviews" podcast that she used to turn to drugs and alcohol in order to deal with her anxiety and depression. 

"There can just be a raging, screaming voice in your head all the time [and] you just ... want it to be quiet up there," she explained, adding, "Having that wiring in your brain ... something switches on when you're an alcoholic, where it's like, 'There's never enough. I can't ever fill this hole, 'cause there's a bottom ... missing in the cup.'" Yet, getting sober, going to therapy, learning coping skills, and finding the right prescription drugs helped, with Sweetin revealing, "For me, medication has been key."

For Sweetin, finally being able to be open about her anxiety and depression has help aid in her recovery, too, as she expressed gratitude for discussions surrounding mental health becoming more destigmatized in recent years. The star has even taken to Instagram to share moments when she's struggled to bring more awareness to the issue. Alongside a 2019 photo of her and her daughters, Sweetin wrote in part, "This is a picture of a mom who had a full panic attack in the bathroom that day. ... Remember that mental illness and pain doesn't always look like what it should. ... Be kind. Be a safe space."

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

The Hallmark actor was investigated by child services

Jodie Sweetin's struggle with addiction led her to being investigated by child services. The "Defending Santa" star is a mother to two daughters: Zoie, whom she shares with second husband Cody Herpin, and Beatrix, whom she had with her third husband, Morty Coyle. According to E! News, it was right after Zoie was born in 2008 that Sweetin had relapsed and drove with her in the car after drinking some wine. Per Us Weekly, she later confessed in "unSweetined," "I not only put myself in danger, but also my daughter, who I loved more than anything. I felt terrible."

Because of this incident, there was an emergency custody investigation, with Sweetin even admitting that she had been drunk off of alcohol mixed with Nyquil when she was told. The "Just Swipe" actor reflected on that time to "Today," saying, "I made some really poor choices. ... I hope that [Zoie] will never have to see some of the things I did before." However, Sweetin — who was adopted when she was a baby — also revealed in her memoir that her own struggles made her more sympathetic toward her birth mother's addiction. "I would hear stories about my mom leaving me to go off and party," she recalled (via Redbook). "And for years I was like, '... How could somebody do that to their kid?'" Yet, Sweetin added, "When I started seeing my own addiction getting in the way of being a mom, I finally understood."

She helped John Stamos with his alcoholism

Having been in recovery for several years now, Jodie Sweetin has used her experience with drug and alcohol addiction to help others facing similar issues — including her "Full House" co-star, John Stamos. According to the Daily Mail, Stamos had struggled with excessive alcohol use over the years, but things got worse following his mother's 2014 death. By 2015, he had been arrested for driving under the influence. "I was just dipping into that dark place," he later told Howard Stern (via Us Weekly), adding, "I had a horrific DUI, which I am so embarrassed by. I could have hurt somebody."

In 2019, Stamos brought up his DUI in a speech while presenting Sweetin with ​​the Writers in Treatment's Experience, Strength and Hope Award, explaining how it was her who had been there for him when he was at his lowest. He dished, per Variety, "I hit rock bottom. Jodie lovingly allowed me to walk my own path." Stamos continued, "I realized that the perky little blabbermouth had become the master of wisdom and was right by my side during some of the most difficult days of my life."

Sweetin was not only supportive of Stamos' sobriety, but also helped him maintain it, setting up 12-step meetings on the set of "Fuller House" and at his home. The "Grandfathered" star appeared to be very grateful, writing in part in an Instagram post about Sweetin, "Who knew this little blonde scene-stealer in a side pony-tale would grow up and change so many lives. (Mine included)."

Jodie Sweetin's addiction impacted her relationships

It appears that Jodie Sweetin's struggles with drug use may have led her to make some questionable decisions with her relationships. When it came to her behavior while high, the "Walt Before Mickey" actor had once joked, per The Rocket, "I don't get tattoos, I get husbands." Sweetin had apparently not only jumped into marriages quickly, but her addiction had also contributed to her breakups. When it came to her divorce from police officer Shaun Golguin, for example, Sweetin admitted to People, "My husband and I went through some definite trust issues because of all the lying."

After Golguin, Sweetin went on to marry transportation coordinator Cody Herpin in 2007, only to file for separation a year later, per E! News. It was during their 2008 split that Sweetin also relapsed. By 2012, Sweetin moved on to her third husband, a DJ named Morty Coyle. However, the two separated in 2013, the same year that Sweetin relapsed again with painkillers. While Sweetin got engaged in 2016 to Justin Hodak, they — perhaps thankfully — never made it down the aisle. Hodak was arrested several times after their split, and she was, at one point, forced to get a restraining order. 

These days, though, Sweetin has seemingly found the one with fiancé Mescal Wasilewski, telling ET in February 2022, "I'm just at peace finally." Despite her past struggles with drug and alcohol addiction, Sweetin said she was in a really good place, and even gushed, "You can make it through the bad times 'cause there's something good on the other side."

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).