Actress Melanie Griffith has battled demons awakened by drugs and alcohol for years, but she says it wasn’t until her daughters confronted her about it that she fully understood the damage she was doing to herself and her family.
“It wasn’t an intervention…well, sort of, in a way,” she told the L.A. Times. “My daughters really sat me down and said, look, Mom, this is what it is. Dakota and Stella, both. I don’t want to say what really happened, but they were the ones who said, “You really need to get help,” and I heard them and knew what they meant. And I saw it and I did it. But I couldn’t have done it without them. I really couldn’t have. And I’m so grateful. I see now I just didn’t get it before. It doesn’t mean that I’m stupid. It’s just that that’s what the disease is.”
The actress has struggled for years with substance abuse, which started after her breakout role in the ’80s film “Working Girl”. A high-profile divorce from actor Don Johnson didn’t help matters, and when she hurt her knee while skiing, she found a new way to get high in painkillers. After several stints in rehab, she couldn’t quite kick her habits until her daughters voiced their concern that she had a problem. Her husband, actor Antonio Banderas, says that hiding something like that from children is not easy, and wasn’t something the two of them were prepared to do.
“The pretending is the worst, because kids are so smart,” Banderas said. “They can see through all of those things, and if you don’t talk openly about problems, it creates a very dark place. They carry that through the rest of their lives, to their marriages, to their kids,” he said.
Griffith, 54, is currently working in a stage production called No Way Around But Through, which is written by and stars Scott Caan. Now three years sober and with four kids, she says she’s at a place in her life she can be comfortable with.
“I’m not desperate anymore or feeling weird about myself because I’m not working in this business. I’m older and wiser and there’s a lot more to life,” said Griffith.