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Lily Allen says fame became ‘an addiction in itself’ at height of alcohol and drug misuse

Singer said that the adult years before she got sober ‘just feel like a bit of a haze’

Isobel Lewis
Friday 18 August 2023 16:55 BST
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Olivia Rodrigo brings out Lily Allen to sing ‘F*** You’ as Roe vs Wade overturned

Lily Allen has admitted that fame became “an addiction in itself” amid her struggles with drug and alcohol use.

The “Not Fair” singer, who recently celebrated four years of sobriety, rose to fame in 2006, her burgeoning pop career coinciding with her addiction to drugs and alcohol – both of which were well documented in the tabloid press.

In a new interview with The New York Times, Allen, 38, pointed out that being in the public eye had “been my life since I was like 18 years old”.

“From 18 to about four or five years ago just feels like a bit of a haze, because I was literally just off my face the whole time,” Allen said.

“I was using fame as well – that was an addiction in itself: the attention and the paparazzi and the chaos.”

The musician, who recently has branched out into a career in acting, has previously spoken about her experiences of getting sober.

In 2021, on her two-year anniversary, she called it “the BEST thing I ever did”, adding: “And I’ve done a lot of cool s***.”

In a recent interview, Allen, who is married to Stranger Things star David Harbour, opened about an experience in her childhood when her actor father Keith Allen called the police on her after she lost her virginity.

Allen has opened up about living her entire adult life in the spotlight
Allen has opened up about living her entire adult life in the spotlight (Eamonn M McCormack/Getty Images)

Describing the experience as “all a bit traumatic”, she recalled: “I actually went missing. I went to his hotel room – I was on holiday with my dad and brother – and obviously didn’t come back to my room.

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She explained that she “slept in the next morning” and woke up to police “all over the hotel” where they were staying. “[Police] were literally combing the beach and they had T-shirts like, ‘Is this what she was wearing?’”

“People thought I’d drowned,” she continued. “I didn’t have the heart to say: ‘No, I was just losing my virginity’... I didn’t have sex for a while after that.”

Allen, who has two daughters from her previous marriage, is currently appearing in the West End revival of Martin McDonagh’s play The Pillowman.

But after Allen’s performance received some critical reviews, it was reported that the singer has applied to hone her craft by studying at drama school.

If you or someone you know is suffering from alcohol addiction, you can confidentially call the national alcohol helpline Drinkline on 0300 123 1110 or visit the NHS website here for information about the programmes available to you.

If you or someone you know is suffering from drug addiction, you can seek confidential help and support 24-7 from Frank, by calling 0300 123 6600, texting 82111, sending an email or visiting their website here.

In the US, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can be reached at 1-800-662-HELP

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