Elizabeth Vargas Returns to Rehab, ABC 'Squarely Behind Her'

Pam WrightLife

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ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas left her vacation early to enter rehab for alcohol dependency for a second time.

The 20/20 co-anchor announced the news in an emailed statement Sunday.

"While on vacation this weekend, I decided to return to a recovery center. As so many other recovering alcoholics know, overcoming the disease can be a long and incredibly difficult process," Vargas said. "I feel I have let myself, my co-workers and most importantly my family down and for that I am ashamed and sorry."

Vargas, 51, apologized for the relapse and said she was committed to addressing her disease.

"I feel I have let myself, my co-workers and most importantly my family down and for that I am ashamed and sorry. I am committed to battling and addressing this debilitating disease and want to thank everyone who has offered their unwavering support during this trying time," she said.

The network said it stands "squarely behind her" and looks forward to her return to work as soon as her health permits.

"Nothing is more important than Elizabeth's health and well-being and we stand squarely behind her," said ABC News rep Julie Townsend in a statement. "Our thoughts are with Elizabeth and her family and we look forward to having her back at ABC News when she feels ready to return."

Vargas, who is married to singer Marc Cohn and has two children, spent several weeks in a treatment facility in November. She is apparently going through a divorce with Cohn, who allegedly cheated on her while she was in treatment last fall. They have two young sons.

Vargas courageously admitted her alcoholism in an interview with Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos in January, saying it took years to admit she battled the disease, calling it a "staggering burden" to carry.

"I am an alcoholic," she said. "It took me a long time to admit that to myself. It took me a long time to admit it to my family, but I am. The amount of energy I expended keeping that secret and keeping this problem hidden from view was exhausting."

"Even to admit it to myself was admitting, I thought, that I was a failure," she said. "You become so isolated with the secret and so lonely, because you can't tell anyone what's happening," she said.

She said she had suffered panic attacks since she was a child, and wound up self-medicating with alcohol.

"I dealt with that anxiety, and with the stress that the anxiety brought, by starting to drink," she said.

Image via Elizabeth Vargas, Twitter

Pam Wright