Celebrities That Don’t Drink: Why Adele (and Others) Gave Up Alcohol

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We might as well face it: Our appetite for celebrity news seems to be inexhaustible. Whether it’s a new album or a new film, new book, a new spouse or kids—or in some cases, a new demon—we browse the internet constantly, looking to see how the rich and famous manage their lives (or don’t). And of course, that means we often hear about celebrities and alcohol.

We’ve covered this subject before. But we thought an update would be appropriate, after last fall, when the singer Adele revealed her complicated relationship with alcohol. It turns out, there are quite a few celebrities that don’t drink, and for some the process of quitting has been easier than for others.

Adele on Changing Her Relationship with Alcohol

As one of the most popular artists in the world, Adele seems to have it all. But behind her public persona is a more turbulent mix of facts and emotions—some of which caused her to turn to drinking.

Like many families, Adele’s father had issues with alcohol, which not only affected his health, but their relationship. And as is sometimes the case, the challenges of that relationship spilled over into the singer’s future ones.

In an interview last November with Oprah Winfrey, she recalled some of the turmoil. “When I was going through everything a couple of years ago, when I was going through my divorce, yes. Not at the beginning. At first, I was probably keeping the alcohol industry alive. But you know, once I realized that I had a lot of work to do on myself, I stopped drinking, and I started working out lots and stuff like that to keep me centered.”

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Other Famous People Who Don’t Drink

For Some, a “No-Alcohol” Lifestyle Came Easy

In December, Harpers Bazaar noted 55 celebrities who won’t be drinking during the holidays. For some, like rapper Tyler, The Creator, foregoing alcohol was not difficult. “It’s just something that didn’t interest me.”

Others had a taste of alcohol early in life, such as model Tyra Banks, who added, “I feel like I’ve been very lucky because I don’t really have an addictive personality.” Or consider the singer and actress Jennifer Hudson, who said in a recent interview, “I’ve never had a drink in my life. I’ve never been interested. Nobody ever believes it.”

Many of us know people who used to drink, and then—bam—they just stopped. For some celebrities that don’t drink, it also seem to have been that simple. If only it were that easy for everyone.

For Other Celebrities That Don’t Drink, Resisting Cravings Was a Struggle

Kit Harrington, known for his role in Game of Thrones, describes his years of alcohol use: “You get to a place where you feel like you are a bad person, you feel like you are a shameful person. And you feel that there’s no way out, that’s just who you are.”

Singer Lily Allen recalled her life just a couple of years ago, when she was drinking a bottle of vodka—every day. For actress Jada Pinkett, wine was the temptation, and at the height of her drinking, she would have two bottles—again, every single day.

And in August, country music legend Tim McGraw said in an interview for Esquire, “I remember a moment when I was getting out of bed and going to the liquor cabinet, and taking a big shot at 8:00 in the morning and thinking, I have to wake the kids up.”

It seems that for a number of famous people who quit drinking, the path to change was a more challenging one. Their relationship with alcohol—as varied as their talents—meant re-examination, and ultimately, a decision to be sober.

Good Decision-Making Can Start with Modern Science

Let’s be clear: A glass or two of wine every day (ideally, with food) isn’t likely to cause major health problems for most people. But if two glasses turn into five, and five turn into eight, then some soul-searching may be in order.

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At Ria, we know that people drink. Wine has been around for thousands of years, and isn’t likely to go anywhere soon. Vodka—the most popular spirit in the world—has been around since the 14th century, when it appeared in Poland and Russia. We’re also aware that continuing stress and anxiety during the pandemic has caused a surge in alcohol use.

But ultimately, people can drink less. Thanks to modern science, it’s possible to “retrain” the brain’s patterns, so that the desire for alcohol simply isn’t there any more. That science—combining medication, counseling, and telehealth—is at the heart of our method that, for most people, helps them change their relationship with alcohol.

(And it works, whether you’re famous or not.) 

Learn more about Ria Health’s modern approach to drinking less

Have questions about online alcohol treatment?

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Written By:
Bruce Hodges
In a career that includes writing, editing, communication and fundraising consulting, Bruce Hodges has created and edited text for online and print publications, including proposals, press releases, and podium remarks. Among many other interests, he explores poetry and essays, and writes articles for The Strad magazine (London) and WRTI public radio (Philadelphia). “As a lifelong advocate for innovative causes, I think of friends no longer with us who struggled with alcohol. If they had access to the revolutionary science behind Ria Health, some of them might be alive today.”
Reviewed By:
Evan O'Donnell
Evan O’Donnell is an NYC-based content strategist with four years’ experience writing and editing in the recovery space. He has conducted research in sound, cognition, and community building, has a background in independent music marketing, and continues to work as a composer. Evan is a deep believer in fact-based, empathic communication—within business, arts, academia, or any space where words drive action or change lives.
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