Amber Valletta has opened up for the first time about her battle with drug and alcohol addiction.
The 40-year-old supermodel, who stars in TNT’s upcoming drama “Legends”, spoke about her struggles to MindBodyGreen.com.
She admits, “I had a multi-million dollar deal and I showed up the first day to shoot this campaign high and drunk. I didn’t care. And that’s to just show you addiction takes you to the worst places”.
Valletta’s addiction started at an early age, and it took her 17 years to seek help.
She recalls, “When I was about eight I would sniff markers, glue, and nail polish – anything that could give me a buzz. Then I found drugs. By age ten, I think I had been high… And by the time I was 18, I moved to Europe and found cocaine and alcohol.”
The model, who has starred in campaigns for Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klein and Versace, was born in Arizona, and grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with her single mother who worked at the post office and bought groceries with food stamps.
She explains, “It is genetic, I’m predisposed to it… I’m just an uncomfortable human being, I feel anxious and have a need to take the edge off.”
Amber did state that the modeling was a business “where drugs and alcohol were widely acceptable and given to me”.
She adds, “I didn’t have any tools to help myself. I was this socially awkward kid thrown into a world that was very sophisticated. I couldn’t manage my feelings, so I took things to cope.”
She reveals that she got sober at 25 because she “didn’t want to die”.
Valletta said, “There is a misconception about addiction. It doesn’t allow you to stop by using sheer willpower. I had to seek out support, learn how to meditate, and be humble. I had to find a spiritual compass. I had to lift the veil off the shame and say ‘I’m an addict, I can’t do this alone'”.
Amber hopes that breaking her silence on her struggle with addiction will help lift the taboo that surrounds the disease.
She concludes, “I’m not hiding in my shame. There’s a lot of shame in addiction, it’s how it thrives: darkness, secrets, lies, cheating. It’s demoralizing. We need celebrate sobriety, we need to bring it into the light”.
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