Amber Valletta opens up about her two decades of sobriety: 'If I take a drink or any of my drugs of choice, I'll be dead'

Suzy Byrne
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
Model Amber Valletta, at the Fashion Awards in December, believes that if she didn't get sober 25 years ago, she wouldn't be alive. (Photo: Daniele Venturelli/Daniele Venturelli/WireImage )

Amber Valletta is speaking out about her addiction.

The 45-year-old supermodel, who soared to fame in the ‘90s alongside Kate Moss and Shalom Harlow, has been drug- and alcohol-free for 20-plus years. She says if she wasn’t, she wouldn’t be alive.

In an interview with Porter magazine, Valletta talked about going public with her addiction at a 2014 MindBodyGreen event, admitting of the speech she gave at the invite-only event, “I didn’t think anyone would see.” However, her powerful story — in which the Vogue cover star revealed she would show up at photo shoots drunk and high — went viral.

“I didn’t have a problem when I was out using, if you saw me high or drunk,” said Valletta, who is also an actress (on TV’s Revenge as well as in films including Hitch and What Lies Beneath), of the years during which she was using. “So why would I be ashamed of being clean and saying: I have a disease that I can’t control?”

She continued, “Only by being sober do I have any chance of survival. Left to my own devices, I guarantee you no matter how much I love life, my family, if I take a drink or any of my drugs of choice, I’ll be dead. I’ll ruin everything.”

So Valletta remains focused on her health — and living a sober life.

“I want to be the person that I aspire to be,” she said. “I don’t want to talk it, I want to live it. I want to allow myself the space to have bad days, be sad, be mad, be loving and accepting of others. Even people that I don’t think are right. It’s hard to do, but I want to move through the world as gently as I can.”

In her 2014 MindBodyGreen speech, the Oklahoma native said that at just 8 years old, she began looking for ways to get high — “I sniffed markers, I sniffed glue, fingernail polish, anything that could give me a buzz” — because she was “uncomfortable being a human being.” She started to use drugs that were around the “culture” of her family soon after, including marijuana. She was discovered at 15 and landed her first Vogue cover by 18, and the lifestyle gave her unlimited access to drugs. By 22, her addiction was at its peak, with cocaine and alcohol abuse. She sought help at 25 because she “didn’t want to die.”

Valletta was able to get sober and a year later had her son Auden, with ex-husband Chip McCaw.

Valletta — who is now in a relationship with hairstylist Teddy Charles — told CBS News in 2014 that she worried for her son, now 19, as addiction runs in their family.

"I mean, I know he's gonna experiment," Valletta said of Auden. "I mean, I kinda hope he doesn't but just because he has such — he has such intense information about it, and he's seen it really up close. But I also don't want to be like that crazy parent that's like, you know, hovering and watching and not giving him his space, because I'm afraid if I don't allow him to do and make mistakes, he will also push against me."

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