Ben Affleck checks himself into rehab to clean up his drinking
It's the same clinic where Paula Poundstone recently checked in to be
treated for alcoholism following an arrest for lewd conduct involving a
minor. Mariah Carey suffers from extreme exhaustion/nervous breakdown
and enters a hospital specializing in mental illness and addiction. The
Backstreet Boys halt their tour so that A.J. McLean can get treatment
for anxiety, depression and alcoholism. Rosie O'Donnell announces she's
The media have connected the dots and noticed that the picture is very
clear: It seems the lifestyles of many of the rich and famous involve a
common denominator - treatment in rehabilitation clinics. There
certainly has been no shortage of celebrity burnouts in recent months.
The Hollywood reporter at UPI (August 13) wrote, "The rash of cases in
the entertainment world this year in which high-profile performers were
laid low by personal problems, including substance abuse, makes you
wonder what's going on here."
One noted doctor told CNN Live at Daybreak (August 10), "There's a lot
of stuff that goes on with being a celebrity that can make you burn
A lot of that has to do with drugs and alcohol. It's also a very
insecure business. You can be very successful, and you have one flop of
a movie or one flop of a record and you don't have a career anymore. And
I think people are very aware of that."
In addition, the media have noted that celebrities have their weaknesses
too, just like everyone else. The only difference is that the media
scrutiny makes it harder to hide any problems.
Celebrities live under a microscope, with all of their problems
magnified for public consumption.
On ABC's Good Morning America (August 8), another doctor pointed out the
difficulties in treating celebrities. "The problem with someone who
deals with addicts and deals with celebrities is there's a temptation to
treat them as special. But as soon as you give them special
consideration, you really are sabotaging their care and you're almost
guaranteeing a relapse."
Media reports also suggested that the entertainment world's lifestyle is
not the most supportive environment for someone who needs to walk the
straight and narrow path. NBC Nightly News (August 5) reported, "For
entertainers, getting work doesn't always depend on whether they're
sober, and the people who surround them are often a bit too eager to
However, there was a bright side that was noted, even if the New York
Daily News (August 12) did report it with a bit of cynicism. "Since the
'70s, more and more celebrities have been divulging their problems with
drinking, drugs and infidelity - possibly to inoculate themselves
against potential scorn for their antics."
Entertainment Weekly (August 17) seemed to agree that celebrities are
now more up-front with the media as they seek help for personal
The magazine wrote, "Now, however, it seems that for celebrities,
12-step programs include a 13th: acknowledging your problem in a press
While it's all fun and games to issue a press release, celebrities' PR
agents will need to make sure that their clients are truly cleaning up
their acts. As coverage has pointed out, there's always some
up-and-coming star who will rise to the forefront if the stars of today
let addictions interfere with their work.
Evaluation and analysis by CARMA International. Media Watch can be found