“Mom” star Kristen Johnston is getting candid about her past addiction issues, comparing her drug use to “an abusive relationship.”
Speaking with Elizabeth Vargas on her “Heart of the Matter” podcast, Johnston revealed that the stardom she experienced from “3rd Rock from the Sun” left her feeling completely unmoored when the show ended its run.
“Oh, my God, just thinking about that time of my life, it gives me chills,” Johnston recalled, reported Us Weekly. “The thing I’m happiest about in my life is that I’m no longer using. It really is, because … there is no greater hell.”
Unbeknownst to the hit sitcom’s viewers, Johnston was struggling with addiction at the time as the pressures of Hollywood fame weighed down on her. When she went home from work, she revealed, she would typically drink “two bottles of wine a night and popping 10, 20, 30 pills a day” during those years.
RELATED: Kristen Johnston Talks Dating Ryan Reynolds In The ’90s
“It really wasn’t fun. The work was fun, but everything that came with it was so terrifying to me,” Johnston admitted. “I didn’t realize until later that I lived in a state of absolute panic for 10 years… It was just crazy. I had no ability that I have today of just putting [things] into perspective, and like, ‘Oh, get over it. Just move on. There’s more important things to worry about.’ I hate to say that I was a cliche, but I really was. I mean, I was an actress who couldn’t handle it. Couldn’t handle the fame.”
She ultimately began taking painkillers, which quickly spiralled out of control. “For a long time, it was like an abusive relationship,” Johnston said. “You’re not fully committed to this guy who beats you. He comes in, you break up, you go for a couple months without seeing him, then he pulls back up on his motorcycle and you start dating him again. It was like an on-off relationship for four years, and it only became really bad after ‘3rd Rock’… I was able to keep a lid on it for a couple of years, and then we became married, me and my opiates, a couple of years after ‘3rd Rock’, and it was a very, very abusive relationship.”
Likening her addiction to “a full-time job,” she admitted it’s now “so embarrassing” to remember the lengths she used to go to in order to get prescriptions.
RELATED: ‘3rd Rock’ Star Kristen Johnston Tells Emotional Story Involving A ‘Dust-Covered’ 9/11 Fireman: ‘I Started Crying’
According to Johnston, she experienced her “first moment [of] sanity” when she was whisked to an ER in London on New Year’s Eve because of an ulcer, leading her to watch people celebrate the coming of the new year from her hospital window.
“They’re with their friends and their family, and they are not worried about where their next pills are,” she recalled. “They’re not worried about when they’re going to drink their next drink. They’re just there enjoying the fireworks, and I was like, ‘I haven’t done that for 15 years.’ … And that started my journey to recovery.”