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Top 10 Sober Sex Symbols


Celebrities struggling with addiction is nothing new, but a successful career post-recovery? Now, that's newsworthy! Here are 10 stars who overcame their demons — and made sobriety sexy.

By T.T. Stern-Enzi

ow do you define sexy and sober in an industry and culture that thrives on excess and the presentation of escapist surrender to dark, primal urges as entertainment? The up-to-the-minute reality of cell phone cameras capturing the hardest falls — sometimes even before the anticipated rise of the star
It certainly seems as if there are volumes still unfolding for this actor.
in question — dulls our sensibilities and sensitivities to just how harsh and ugly someone in a state of non-stop intoxication can be, and how the loss of a talented soul can impact the very essence of our humanity. So, let's raise a (non-alcoholic) toast to 10 beautiful talents who are superstar role models for sobriety.

10. Carré Otis
A nearly forgotten casualty of the fashion model era, Otis was perhaps most famously known for her binge-fueled marriage to Mickey Rourke in the 1990s. The happily remarried mom of two has now earned a well-deserved sense of serenity in her 40s that shows on her still-beautiful face, which graces the cover of her 2011 memoir, Beauty, Disrupted.

9. Rob Lowe
The high life and near-tragic times that characterized the Brat Pack's members have been well documented over the years, but new chapters occasionally get written — and thus, the promise of a happy ending peeks over the horizon. Lowe provides the latest update in his 2011 autobiography, Stories I Only Tell My Friends, and with yet another successful resurgence in his career thanks to the NBC sitcom, Parks and Recreation, it certainly seems as if there are volumes still unfolding for this actor.

8. Jane Lynch
Sometimes it takes an unconventional commitment to break the cycle of addiction, so why not celebrate the unconventionality and variety of the stars themselves? Lynch might not seem like an obvious choice for the "sexy" side of this list, but this seriously funny lady (who was a real character in films like Best in Show long before making a name for herself on Glee) has joined the ranks of prime-time product endorsers. And sex sells, right? Because the public's definitely sold on her portrayal of cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester.

7. Thomas Jane
Jane's recent rise in the industry can be partially attributed to his starring role on the provocative (and now-canceled) HBO series, Hung, in which he played a well-endowed physical education teacher moonlighting as a gigolo. The adult entertainment industry and substance abuse seemingly go hand-in-hand in real life, and while Jane has been known as a good-time guy on the Hollywood scene in the past (including his 2008 DUI arrest), these days, the actor embraces a more sober approach to balancing his personal life and the wilder side of his craft.

6. Kristin Davis
This Sex and the City co-star has long acknowledged her past substance abuse issues, which stand in stark contrast with the cosmo-drinking, gracefully aging girl-about-town that she played on the series. Of all the social concerns addressed
The adult entertainment industry and substance abuse seemingly go hand-in-hand in real life.
during the hit HBO show's run, alcohol abuse never became a major factor in the series' storyline — which, in hindsight, feels like a real missed opportunity for this actress.

5. Colin Farrell
This actor's dark, brooding eyes, lady-killer smirk and Irish heritage have historically spelled trouble when it comes to maintaining any sense of control over the hard stuff. For all Farrell's charm and the flashes of talent he has exhibited over the years, it seems as if he's been unable to reach his full potential on screen. Apparently, Farrell has decided to change his lifestyle in recent years — but don't assume that clean living will make him any less captivating to watch, especially with such projects as the remake of Total Recall and the dark comedy Seven Psychopaths looming on the horizon.

4. Drew Barrymore
As an impossibly cute child actress from a legendary family of performers who shot to fame at age seven for her role in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Barrymore racked up multiple rehab stays and a suicide attempt by the time she was 14. Fortunately, this radiant star left the darker aspects of those days far behind by channeling her (oxymoronically) clean, uninhibited girl-next-door persona into a successful, double-threat career as both an actress and producer, with hits like Charlie's Angels and the recent inspirational tale, Big Miracle, under her belt.

3. Jason Bateman
After his meteoric rise as a teen television idol (Silver Spoons, The Hogan Family) led to more than a few lost weekends in the 1990s, Bateman was able to turn things around and head off to the races once more in 2003. From the cult-status acclaim of his hit TV series Arrested Development to smart, ultra-hip wiseass turns in films like The Kingdom, Juno, and Up in the Air, Bateman has transformed himself into a handsome comedic actor with real character after learning lessons from past miscues in the early days of his career.

2. Angelina Jolie
One of the world's most beautiful actresses, Jolie — once known for imbibing any and every substance available — has now settled down with one of the sexiest men alive (Brad Pitt) to become the face of global working motherhood. She recently added directing (the critically acclaimed film, In the Land of Blood and Honey) to the long line of credits in her filmography, but all of her success is predicated on the strength of her amazing recovery from her past struggles with drugs and depression.

1. Robert Downey, Jr.
His portrayal of Sherlock Holmes is a revelation of genius fueled by a spirit of intellectual intoxication, but the real sign of his sober craft in action is Downey's portrayal of Tony Stark, the multi-billionaire industrialist who moonlights as a superhero in Iron Man (who's both a team player and would-be leader in this summer's Marvel-driven blockbuster, The Avengers). In the comic books, Stark is an alcoholic crossing in and out of sobriety and has gained and lost his fortune several times over, but still battles on. In fact, Stark is much like Downey himself, who has seen his own career arc rocketing up and down like a rollercoaster constantly threatening to go off the rails again. Fortunately, Downey seems to have developed his own roguish brand of steely resolve after overcoming his extensive substance abuse issues in 2001.


T.T. Stern-Enzi covers film for the Cincinnati CityBeat and Dayton City Paper and also hosts an after-school film and writing club for teens.
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