Sagal’s decade-long stint as Peggy Bundy, Al Bundy’s wife on the sitcom Married With Children is legendary, and she’s earned a Golden Globe award for her portrayal of Gemma Teller Morrow on Sons of Anarchy.
Sagal’s first love was singing, and her vocal career included stints as a backup singer for Etta James, Bob Dylan, Gene Simmons, Bette Midler, and Olivia Newton-John, and she currently works on the CBS series Superior Donuts.
Coming Clean About Substance Abuse
She’s recently penned her memoir titled Grace Notes, in which she reveals her life-long struggles with addiction. Her new book is Grace Notes. My Recollections is an intimate insiders’ look at the often less-than-glamorous world that exists behind Hollywood’s bright lights from someone who has truly been there, and done that. In her book, Sagal chronicles what life was like as a child surrounded by fame, drugs, and the distorted reality of Tinseltown, and how her early experiences shaped her character and fueled her addictions.
As a child growing up in Hollywood, Sagal’s neighbors included Judy Garland. Sagal befriended Garland’s daughter Lorna Luft, and the two quickly discovered they had a lot in common – including the fact that their mom’s took lots of pills.
Sagal herself became addicted to alcohol and diet pills as a teenager, which started with an addiction to diet pills while struggling to overcome a lifelong battle with body image. In Grace notes, Sagel laments that she felt like she could never shake the label of being a “fat adolescent“; she also feels that growing up surrounded by drug abuse normalized addictive behaviors for Sagal, giving her a distorted view of substance use and abuse.
Tragically, Garland died at the age of 47 of barbiturate overdose, while Sagal’s mother died in 1975 when Sagal was 21, and her movie-director father perished in a tragic on-set helicopter crash in 1981.
Cancer Diagnosis Pushed Sagal To Get Sober
Despite being in the midst of a 15-year struggle with diet pills, cocaine, and alcohol, Sagal managed to succeed both in acting and singing. The well-publicized stillbirth of her first child, a girl, stands out as a pivotal moment in Sagal’s life – one that led her further down the path of drug abuse
It was only when diagnosed with cancer at age 28 that she finally sought help for her addictions.
Sagal says that “her own addictions were a part of her life for the past 15 years”, although she’s managed to keep her disease under wraps until now.
Like many addicts, long-term relationships have been a struggle for Sagal – she’s currently on husband #4 – Kurt Sutter a screenwriter who she’s been married to since 2004. Sagal and Sutter met at a 12-step group meeting.
Sagal continues to work on her sobriety, and she embraces her current role as a role model for others who are struggling to deal with addictions. She’s among a rare breed of young Hollywood actors who have managed to re-write their stories, overcome drugs and alcohol, and go on to enjoy success both on and off the screen.
image courtesy of wikipedia,