Jamie Lee Curtis: ‘I was a dope fiend’ for ten years

Jamie Lee Curtis is currently starring in Fox’s Scream Queens and promoting her newest children’s book, This Is Me. After her book signing at Barnes and Nobles in Bethesda, MD, The Daily Beast interviewed her in the store’s stairwell due to time. I learned that she is Jake Gyllenhaal’s godmother, I had no idea. In addition, she spoke of her dependency on painkillers, something she has discussed before. In this interview, Jamie Lee disclosed more about her addiction battles, including that they spanned almost a decade. You can read the whole interview here, but below are some highlights:

On her accidental writing career: “It was an accident. I had no plan ever to write a children’s book and I’ve written twelve coming up on thirteen.”

On becoming a gamer for her son Thomas: “I have a kid who is not a traditional learner and not a traditional human being, so I decided if you can’t beat them, join them and beat them. I felt I needed to know who he was and I needed to go there. It’s not that I’m a big gamer; it’s that I have an acceptance, awareness, and an appreciation for the gaming community and what it has brought out of my son. So when there was the premiere of the movie at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood I said, ‘Hey let’s cosplay the sh-t out of it!’”

On voting for Hillary Clinton: “I believe that Hillary’s experience during this time in the world is the most important asset we have. Hillary has skin in the game. I do not believe Donald Trump has any. So I’m with her but I’m not going to disparage him.”

On not seeing any disparity for older women in Hollywood: “I see nothing but women of a certain age working today. The two women on my show are me and Kirstie Alley, who is 65. I just don’t see it. Things have changed and that’s never been a thing for me. I’ve had other things, but that hasn’t been it.”

On her drug addiction: “I was a dope fiend. I became addicted to painkillers after a medical procedure and it was a ten-year addiction. Secret and private. I have worked very hard to stay sober and help others. My whole life my parents had dependence on alcohol. This is a family disease. I lost a brother at 20 from heroin. It will be the greatest achievement of my life if I can stay sober until I die.”

On her parent’s divorce: “There was hate, great betrayal, and shame. I learned to keep very quiet. There was such acrimony. Speaking about one to the other caused great pain. Why do you think I was stuffing painkillers down my throat all those years? There were eleven divorces between my parents. This is not light; it’s life, and it was not easy.”

On her lack of ambition: “Every job I get is because it comes my way. I have zero ambition. Zero. I don’t want anything. Because I do not want what I have not got, everything is a f–king blessing. I have a family, I have some money in the bank, I have a sense of humor. And I’m sober.”

[From The Daily Beast]

I saw Jamie read at the LA Festival of Books. She is extremely dynamic and engaging and it endeared me to her. However, I’m struggling with this interview. I appreciate what she said about trying to relate to her son by learning about video games. And I actually think her Trump answer is classy. But I am gobsmacked at how she can’t hear her own privilege in these comments. I’m glad she sees her money and family as a blessing but come on – her career is not an accident. She’s a double legacy to two Hollywood icons. She’s too smart to shrug and act like she doesn’t know how this all happened. And if she doesn’t see older women in Hollywood struggling, that’s on her. I believe people who have benefitted from someone else’s fight should fight twice as hard for those coming up after them. These comments sound like she lives in a bubble.

Perhaps she lives in a bubble for self preservation. Although privileged, Jaime Lee clearly has not led an idyllic life and I feel for her long, “silent” battle with drugs. I’d forgotten about her brother’s death. Her discussion of her past struggles is important and benefits others with similar circumstances. I suppose I don’t get to pick and choose what I want her to talk about.




Photo Credit: WENN Photos and Getty Images

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36 Responses to “Jamie Lee Curtis: ‘I was a dope fiend’ for ten years”

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  1. Pandy says:

    If she spoke about the struggles of others she’d be nailed for her privilege anyway lol. I don’t think the question was raised so why would she comment on it?

    • Mrs. Wellen-Melon says:

      Yeah but it would have been nice for her to acknowledge that she has a platform to publish and sell those children’s books. Without it, would her children’s books have been noticed by a publisher, then the public?

    • whatthewhat says:

      yeah taking note of that annoyed me. it sometimes feels reaching for them to always point out people being “unaware of their privilege” like, c’mon -.-

  2. Georgia says:

    Good for her for being supportive of her son.

    • Esmom says:

      Yeah, that was my main takeaway. Instead of trying to get him to fit the mold that society expects, she’s recognizing that it might make more sense to try to experience the world as he does. That is huge and I wish more people — parents, teachers, peers, employers — would follow suit.

  3. INeedANap says:

    The picture of her cosplaying with her son is lovely. He looks so engaged and I am sure he will grow to appreciate how much his mother tried to meet him halfway. Were we all so lucky.

    • TotallyBiased says:

      The whole family has cosplayed at ComiCons, which I think is really cool. This is definitely not just a one time thing; also, she talks game to people she meets. She’s not fronting, she plays the games herself!

  4. HH says:

    ” I believe people who have benefitted from someone else’s fight should fight twice as hard for those coming up after them.” >>>>>>>>> YASSSS!!!

    Hecate, you better come through!!!

  5. Ashley says:

    I can’t put words in her mouth, but if it’s true that she has not gotten every part or role through sheer ambition but luck, to hear her tell it (which I think is overly humble but I get what she means, she’s recognizing her own privilege), it would ring a little false to complain about how tough it is to find good parts at her age at the same time?

    My mom said one time Jamie stopped her at a garden store to talk to me in my stroller. So I’ve always liked her, I think I imprinted on her a little bit (Lolol jk)

  6. Nancy says:

    I never had any feelings towards her one way or the other. By my goodness, she is a rock star to me. She doesn’t complain or moan about age, is appreciative of what she has and feels the pain of her childhood. Sounds familiar. I hope she achieves her goal of staying sober, sorry she lost her brother and all kinds of good wishes her way.

  7. MC2 says:

    I love her honesty about her own struggles and the acceptance she has for her son. I made two boys and am learning that we all have our own personalities. I gave birth to a frat boy (shudder) and he is the light of our family- now I just have to find out how to channel all that energy. I will not be pulling a Jamie, though, and beer ping ponging it anytime soon. I am seeing my future with my face painted in sports colors though….shudder again.

  8. thaliasghost says:

    There is an absolute amazing twitter/tumblr (of course I’ve forgotten the name) account who is an actress who is collecting and posting the casting calls for actresses that she wakes up to every day.

    I dare JLC to take a look for a split second and then come with that talk. Most of the time I’m just completely speechless reading the sexism of the casting calls. Either her radar is off or she has never actually read a casting call because from day one, daughter of Hollyood royalty as she is, she got a personal call from the director being invited for the audition.

    Then again, didn’t she, excuse my language, get famous as the young girl with the big breasts being the first victim in horror movies ….she never seriously considered the sexism of her own roles?

    • Bridget says:

      She was the main character in the original Halloween. And of course the boobs were part of Trading Places.

    • angel l says:

      From reading her comments I got that she was saying she hadn’t suffered from ageism for women, not that she hadn’t suffered from sexism. She mentions ages and that she sees women of all ages working around her. She even mentions that she has had to deal with other stuff just not that.

  9. NGBoston says:

    Have always loved her, pretty much always will. I find her very interesting in many ways regardless of being the offspring of 2 Hollywood Icons.


  10. Hazel says:

    I just heard her on NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. She’s…a snot. Really condescending. I was so disappointed.

  11. LittleTeaPot says:

    I just came here to say that I love her. Amazing lady. I like that she knows she’s blessed & she is thankful.

  12. gemgirla says:

    I think she’s great and down to earth. I used to drive to work daily in LA. So I was forever finishing my makeup while stopped at the traffic lights. One morning I was stuck behind a very nice car and out pops JLC from the driver door. She heads back to her trunk and with a friendly wave, and a big smile gets her makeup bag out too. She didn’t have to make a friendly gesture to a random girl at 8:15 in the morning, but she did. That’s a real person to me. And let me tell you – not every actress is kind to other women. But, no time for that tea today 😉

  13. Bridget says:

    Jamie Lee Curtis doesn’t see the struggle because she’s happy whether or not she works as an actress. It’s a lot easier when you’re willing to walk away, and when you have the type of connections that mean when you want to work you don’t have to pound the pavement with the rest of the crowd.

  14. kay says:

    Having zero ambition is not the same as having zero struggle or having zero opportunity.
    She said she had/has zero ambition.
    I am not understanding how that was misinterpreted?

  15. BP says:

    She is an amazing mother and human being. That is all.

  16. Tris says:

    She’s very cool.

  17. Rhiley says:

    I didn’t know she was married to Christopher Guest until pretty recently, and they have been married for decades. I think that is more interesting to me than who her parents are. She is a fascinating woman, but I think her career kind of shows that she doesn’t have much ambition. The only thing I have ever seen her in are her Activia commercials, and I am in my 40s.

  18. Guesto says:

    I love her and find the nit-picking of her words really tedious.

  19. Lipreng says:

    About a year ago I saw her on some sort of Comcast ad for Scream Queens where she sat down to chat with Ryan Murphy. They went back & forth kissing each other’s asses the entire time. “You’re wonderful,” “No, you’re wonderful.” They went on and on about how gifted they were the entire time. What a snob. I always liked her until that interview.

  20. taradash says:

    she is also titled, as C Guest is a 5th Baron Haden Guest.. making her a Baroness? lol but she’s a little tricky cause her being under the wire and is her ruse,.

  21. Mezz_Dame says:

    If we didn’t count Hollywood divorces, would the divorce rate plummet to like 15%?

    11 marriages between two (former) spouses is a ridiculous amount.

  22. Taxi says:

    Helen Mirren, Charlotte Rampling, Maggie Smith, Judy Dench, Julianne Moore, Glenn Close, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, Susan Sarandon, Ellen Barkin, Juliette Binoche & Krisyem Scott Thomas, Joan Allen, Diane Keaton & others get jobs.
    Bemoaning the lack of work for actresses over 35 or 40 may be an issue for women who self-identify only as romantic leads or sex objects.

  23. aenflex says:

    I adore her. Just the look in her eyes is inviting.

  24. Vox says:

    She could definitely be more aware of her own privilege but it’s better to admit ignorance than to feign understanding imo.

    I’ve always really loved her. I love that she cosplays although I wouldn’t say cosplaying is part of gaming culture. It’s really a thing of its own. I also love that she became interested in her son’s interests in order to connect to him, more parents need to do that.

    I stopped watching Scream Queens because I really can’t stand Emma Roberts in large doses, even though I enjoyed the show.