At 59, Jamie Lee Curtis has a lot to be proud of. Her latest film, Halloween, is smashing records at the box office, she’s been happily married for more than 30 years, and she has two lovely adult children. But her biggest accomplishment has nothing to do with any of those things. In fact, Curtis says beating her hidden opioid addiction and staying sober these last 20 years is her greatest achievement.
Addiction is a common theme in the Curtis family. Her father, legendary actor Tony Curtis, abused drugs and alcohol, and her brother, Nicholas, died of a heroin overdose in 1994.
The Halloween actress was first prescribed painkillers after undergoing an operation in 1989 to correct her “hereditary puffy eyes.” After that, she became hooked on the drugs and eventually resorted to stealing them from friends and family members.
“I was ahead of the curve of the opiate epidemic. I had a 10-year run, stealing, conniving. No one knew. No one,” she told People.
In 1998, her older sister, Kelly, was the first person to notice Curtis’ condition. The next year, in February 1999, Curtis came clean to her husband, Christopher Guest, and their two children, Annie and Tom, about her addiction. She began attending recovery meetings, and she’s been sober ever since.
“I’m breaking the cycle that has basically destroyed the lives of generations in my family,” Curtis said. The actress still attends meetings, and has become a mentor for others who are struggling. “In recovery meetings, anyone who brings up opiates, the entire room will turn and look at me, because I’ll be like, ‘Oh here, talk to me. I’m the opiate girl.'”
“Getting sober remains my single greatest accomplishment… bigger than my husband, bigger than both of my children and bigger than any work, success, failure. Anything.”