Kristin Davis is a health activist and recovering alcoholic

Kristin Davis plays the prim, Elizabeth Taylor-obsessed Charlotte in “Sex and the City.” But in real life, Davis seems like a down-to-earth woman who cares about others. In a recent interview with Health magazine, the actress spoke about her work with Oxfam, a group of non-governmental agencies fighting to end poverty in third world countries. Davis met an Oxfam representative at one of George Clooney’s Save Darfur parties, and has been an ambassador for the organization ever since.

Q. How did you go from donor to ambassador?

A: I was at a party George Clooney was throwing to help with the crisis in Darfur, and I started chatting with two women who work for Oxfam. One said, “You should go on a trip with us.”

I said, “I’d love to. Where do you need me to go?” And she said, “Literally, if you name a place, we need you to go there.”

Q. How did you settle on Mozambique, South Africa, and Uganda?

A: Oxfam identifies areas where people are living in extreme poverty, which means they earn less than $2 a month—a lot of people we met live on less than $1 a month. My main focus is women’s issues. In a war-torn area like Uganda, the women are putting things back together. And in South Africa, there’s a lot of violence against women, and, of all the countries in the world, it has the most people with AIDS.

Q. You visited Soweto in South Africa. What was your impression of the AIDS crisis there?

A: During that first trip, I kept asking, “Why aren’t these people on ARVs?” (Antiretroviral drugs, the standard medications used to manage HIV and AIDS.) But that was two-and-a-half years ago, and, at that time, those types of drugs were too expensive.

Q. They’re more affordable now, right?

A: Yes, they are. But part of the problem is getting people to want to take ARVs. If they don’t have hot meals to eat, taking ARVs is not going to matter. These people don’t have food. They don’t have doctors. I met women taking care of people with AIDS, and they didn’t even have gloves. On my first trip I felt just shocked, the whole time.

Q. You’re tearing up as you talk about this. Did you cry while you were there?

A: Sometimes, in my hotel room. But when I’m there I feel like the people there have the right to cry. I don’t. I’m the most blessed human being in the world because I have the chance to visit. When you’re there, it doesn’t feel as hopeless as it does back here, reading the depressing statistics in the newspaper.

Later in the interview, Davis revealed that she has been a recovering alcoholic for many years- dating back to before she became famous on “Sex.” It was kind of a surprise, especially given that she was once linked to notorious angry drinker Alec Baldwin.

Q. You’re 43, and you look 30. What’s your secret?

A: Thank you. I don’t know. My mom looks great for her age, so I think genetics has a lot to do with it. Also, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, and I love my Ahava sunscreen.

Q. You don’t drink at all?

A: No, I’m a recovering alcoholic. I’ve never hid it, but I’ve been sober the whole time I’ve been famous, so it wasn’t like I had to go to rehab publicly.

Q. So you pretend to sip Cosmos.

A: It’s caused a lot of confusion out in the world. I get sent many a Cosmo! I never drink them. I believe [alcoholism] is a disease. I don’t think you can mess with it. There was a time when people who didn’t know me well would say, “Couldn’t you just have one glass of champagne?” And I would say, “No.” I’m doing well. I still have occasional bad days. Why risk it?

[From Health magazine]

Kristin offhandedly mentioned her battle with alcohol in an interview back in 2002, when a reporter asked her why she wouldn’t join her in a glass of wine. She said, “I just realized that drinking was counterproductive to what I was trying to do. Acting is very difficult in weird ways. You’d have to get to class by 8am, work all day, rehearse all night, and it’s not really good to do when you’re hung over. I’d wanted to be an actress my whole life, that was my goal, that was all I cared about. Something had to go, so I chose drinking to go.” That’s a pretty smart way of looking at it. Maybe Kristen should give Lindsay Lohan a call and tell her that exact same thing!

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17 Responses to “Kristin Davis is a health activist and recovering alcoholic”

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  1. KateNonymous says:

    She sounds very grounded. Good for her for dealing with her problems, and talking about them in a matter-of-fact, constructive way!

  2. kate says:

    awww….now i love her even more!

  3. Blondie says:

    A really positive role model…I agree, honest and grounded in Lala land – fantastic!

  4. Because I say So says:

    I think it’s shameful that we as a society have drinking so much a part of socializing. It’s little wonder Hollyweird’s youngsters don’t know how to behave. If only Ms. Davis would give her much needed wisdom to the younger generations!

  5. Scott F. says:

    “I think it’s shameful that we as a society have drinking so much a part of socializing.”

    Sorry, it’s that attitude that’s the reason we have so many alcoholics in this country. We’re positively puritanical here in the US when it comes to alcohol. We have one of the highest drinking ages in the western world, we’re one of the few western nations to still have dry counties, ect.

    What has all this gotten us? A much higher percentage of alcoholics than nations with much less stringent regulations. Making something taboo, and scandalizing it, is the fastest way to get kids to flock to it in droves. Not to mention how loosely we throw around the term alcoholic these days. Seriously, read a pamphlet about alcoholism some time – if you drink more than once a year or have EVER gotten drunk, you’re probably an alcoholic.

    Nations like France and Spain where drinking alcohol isn’t thought of as anything special, and is generally started in small amounts in childhood, actually have some of the lowest percentages of abuse on the planet.

    Our whole ‘all or nothing’ attitude towards alcohol is very unhealthy from a psychological standpoint. If your entire life revolves around avoiding something you like, it still controls you. Both my parents were alcoholics, and I was told by everyone that drinking AT ALL would turn me into an alcoholic, but it’s just not true.

    Drinking alcohol is like driving a car – if you understand the potential dangers involved and act responsibly, it can be a lot of fun. If you screw around with it though, it can kill you.

  6. KateNonymous says:

    “Our whole ‘all or nothing’ attitude towards alcohol is very unhealthy from a psychological standpoint.”

    I think it’s actually bigger than that. We’re an “all or nothing” society in a lot of ways, when moderation is much more likely to be more successful and less stressful.

    However, given the binge drinking in some European countries, I wonder if their system works as well as they think it does.

    I grew up in a house in which alcohol was always present and rarely consumed–not because of any particular belief, but because my parents just preferred non-alcoholic beverages. The result was that it had very little allure. Yes, I went through a party phase in college, but that’s long past. Now I have a drink when I want to and don’t when I don’t, whether I’m at home or out with friends.

    On the other hand, there are people who have genuine problems with alcohol. If they feel that strict avoidance is the only way to manage it, well, they should do what works for them.

  7. Because I say So says:

    My whole comment about alcohol being such a stalwart in any social environment has nothing to do with any puritanical (or religious) beliefs. Simply, that people expect you to drink and if you don’t, they question and hammer at you. I’m not an alcoholic and love my beer, so I’m not advocating an all-or-nothing approach. Simply, that our society needs to consider more options to “having fun” and that alcohol doesn’t necessarily guarantee that fun. Get off your high horse Scott F.

  8. I choose me says:

    Wow, my respect and admiration for Miss Davis has now increased considerably.

  9. alex says:

    I strongly agree with Scott.
    Being from Europe and having lived in many countries here, you see the difference between what alcohol means to each nationality.
    Now I am living in London and I have to say that alcohol controls people’s daily life in a way it shouldn’t.

    Britain is commonly known as the “nanny state”, which forbids a lot of things…the result is that exactely those forbidden things seem to attract people.
    I am a rare drinker and have been frowned at when not drinking any alcohol on a Saturday night.
    Good that there are still people who do their own thing and drink in the way they want, not how others want.
    Kristin encourages my attitude towards alcohol.

    Hope I’ll look as good as she does now when I’ll be as old as her. One more reason to leave the booze :P :D :lol:

  10. snappyfish says:

    she sounds like a very down to earth person. But I have a question. I read just the other day that Kim Catrall was also in Health Magazine basically saying the same thing.

    Could someone let me know if they are both recovering, or did I get confused?. Thanks. It wouldn’t be the first time.

  11. Bodhi says:

    I tend to agree with Scott, but I know what Because I Said So means. I drink & my fiance doesn’t. He quit at age 23 because he needed to. And people always quiz him as to why he wants iced tea instead of a beer

  12. LadyJane says:

    I’ll drink to that!!!

  13. Anonymous1234 says:

    I agree with ‘Because I said so’. Also: I’m tired of hearing (especially from Europeans) about how “puritanical” Americans are. Just look around you. There is little Puritan about America today.

  14. Chrissy says:

    Kristin also cares for the environment. Her LA home is solar-powered!

  15. alexa says:

    To Scott F,

    I beg to differ, there are recovering alcoholics every country in Europe, actually in about 192 countries world wide. But I do agree that the U.S. is still very puritanical on some issues including sex. Drinking ages/limits etc have no bearing on alcoholism. Alcoholics come from every class, religion, ethnic and racial group.

  16. Recovering says:

    I really admire the fact that Kristin can admit to her alcoholism so freely. It is a mental and physical sickness, and not easy to deal with. I have only recently come to terms with the fact that I am an alcoholic, and I have found that having a role model such as Kristin is helping me immensely in my recovery. Alcoholism doesn’t have anything to do with society – it is a disease that affects individuals, no matter what age, race or social standing.