Amber Valletta, the former model turned television star, made a shocking public revelation last week when she divulged that she has been an addict since she was eight years old.
"I sniffed markers, I sniffed glue, fingernail polish, anything that could give me a buzz . . . then I found drugs that were around the culture of my family," Valletta told a MindBodyGreen conference audience last week
The 40-year-old, who will star in the TNT television series "Legends" next month, said that she doesn't blame anyone but herself for her struggle with drugs and alcohol.
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"I am not a victim," Valletta said. "I don't blame anything that happened to me that was negative . . . I had to be willing to lift the veil off the shame and say, 'I'm an addict, I can't do this alone, I don't want to do this alone, I don't feel comfortable; can you help me?'"
Valletta opened her speech by telling her audience that she was "coming out" as an addict in hopes to help others and educate.
"My hope is that someone somewhere out of this room will hear something that will help them and perhaps get them out of the shadow and darkness of addiction and bring them into the light," she said. "Or maybe you know someone who fights addiction and haven't gotten into recovery yet. Maybe it will give you a little more compassion for them; a little more understanding."
Valletta, who starred in such movies as Will Smith's "Hitch" and the ABC series "Revenge," said her addiction threatened her life and her career.
"I had a multi-million dollar deal and I showed up the first day to shoot this campaign high and drunk," she said. "I didn't care. And that's to just show you addiction takes you to the worst places."
Ruthie Friedlander, of Elle.com, said that Valletta
showed courage in publicly talking about her personal struggles.
"I was riveted watching this 15-minute long video of supermodel Amber Valletta talking candidly and thoughtfully about her personal struggle with addiction," Friedlander wrote for the fashion magazine's website. "In a truly remarkable show of bravery and vulnerability, Valletta opens up about her battle with drug and alcohol addiction . . . She speaks about wild nights in her 20s, when she was at the peak of her modeling career."
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