A certain tabloid keeps publishing stories claiming celebrities like Brad Pitt, Robert Downey Jr., Demi Lovato and more are on the verge of relapse. Gossip Cop noted the trend and collected some of the most outlandish stories. The most surprising thing is, all of these stories come from the same publication.
The National Enquirer has a terrible track record when it comes to predicting a celebrity relapsing on drugs or alcohol. This year alone, the often discredited gossip rag has predicted the downfall of three celebrities, but we were able to shoot down each of those claims. This “relapse” trend first came to our notice in 2019 when the outlet reported that Pitt had relapsed on weed.
The actor famously stopped smoking pot after he started a family with his ex-wife, Angelina Jolie, but the outlet’s insider claimed Pitt started back up while filming Ad Astra. “Brad set out to make the ultimate spacey movie with Ad Astra, but got a little too deep into method acting for the movie.” The anonymous source went on to say Pitt “smoked a little grass to get in the right frame of mind during filming.”
Gossip Cop isn’t sure if either the tabloid or the source really understand what “method acting” actually means. Ad Astra, as we wrote last year, is a movie about “an Army engineer, played by Pitt, who goes on an adventure through the solar system to find his father, who went on a mission to Neptune to find extraterrestrial life.” Nothing in the film has anything to do with weed or getting high. It’s almost as if this outlet just wrote this story for all the puns they could use about space travel and drug use. Just to make sure, we also reached out to a mutual friend of ours and Pitt’s, who assured us the publication’s claims were “ridiculous.” As opposed to relapsing on weed, Pitt has stated in several recent interviews that he’s completely sober these days.
At the start of 2020, the publication continued with its questionable storyline when it reported that friends of Downey Jr. were concerned the actor would relapse over his movie Dolittle bombing in theaters. Another anonymous source told the outlet, “He’s telling people he’s concerned the disaster will cripple his career forever,” adding, “People are worried the pressure and fallout from this will push him back to his self-destructive ways.”
To further its credibility, the outlet then quoted an “addiction expert” who’d never treated nor even met the actor as saying, “It hinges on whether he has people around him who support him and can help him process these negative feelings without falling back on his addictions. On his own it will be tough.” This is a very boilerplate response that could apply to anyone facing addiction issues and in no way relates to Downey Jr. or the box office performance of Dolittle.
There is no one more committed to Downey Jr’s continued sobriety than Downey Jr. himself. In an interview with Vanity Fair, the actor said, “Job one is get out of that cave. A lot of people do get out but don’t change. So the thing is to get out and recognize the significance of that aggressive denial of your fate, come through the crucible forged into a stronger metal.” In other words, Downey Jr. not only addressed his addiction but the underlying problems in his life that aggravated and triggered his addiction. Professional and personal setbacks are unavoidable, so it would be silly to assume the poor performance of one of his movies would cause him to relapse after 17 years of sobriety. Gossip Cop rated this story as absolutely false.
After Lovato’s very public drug overdose in 2018, the singer/actress spent some time out of the spotlight as she dealt with her addiction. In February of this year, the Enquirer claimed Lovato’s friends were afraid she was going to relapse. A so-called “insider” claimed Lovato was seen “stumbling out of a Miami club” the night before singing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl.
The outlet claimed Lovato was partying hard following the January engagement of her ex Wilmer Valderrama to model Amanda Pacheco. According to the source, this return to her old ways was Lovato’s way “to try and numb her pain.” Of course, this reasoning would only make sense if Lovato and Valderrama had recently split up, but they’d broken up way back in 2016. It seems unlikely Lovato would be so affected by an old relationship that ended almost half a decade ago.
Gossip Cop could find no evidence to support the publication’s claims. Lovato has been admirably open about her struggles with addiction and mental health. We reached out to a source close to the singer who, though they couldn’t speak on the record, assured us that rumors about her being on the verge of relapse were totally false.
Finally, the gossip rag reported in late February that former child star Macaulay Culkin was on the verge of relapse. The outlet used a joke Culkin told during an interview with Esquire as proof he wasn’t taking his sobriety seriously. “I’ve been accused of having a drug problem, but nothing could be further from the truth. Drugs are the easiest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” the actor quipped. An admission from Culkin that he took “the occasional muscle relaxer” was further evidence of a growing issue. In that same interview, it should be noted, the Home Alone star explained he had back problems, which explains why he’d need a muscle relaxer.
Gossip Cop had no problem debunking this rumor. The actor’s rep denied the claim that Culkin was on the verge of relapse. Furthermore, joking about past drug use is not a potential warning sign of an impending relapse. If anything, making light of a past issue is more a sign that one is at a better place in their life. The Enquirer simply exploits dark times in the lives of the rich and famous in order to sell stories.
“Brad Pitt Relapsing On Pot?” Gossip Cop, 23 Feb. 2019.
Shuster, Andrew. “Robert Downey Jr.’s Friends Fear He’ll Relapse Over ‘Dolittle’ Bombing?” Gossip Cop, 30 Jan. 2020.
Robert Downey Jr. Speaks About His Addictions.” Vanity Fair, Oct. 2014.
Broman, Laura. “Demi Lovato’s Friends Fear She’s Going To Relapse?” Gossip Cop, 12 Feb. 2020.
Morton, Brianna. “Macaulay Culkin On The Verge Of A Relapse?” Gossip Cop, 22 Feb. 2020.
D’Agostino, Ryan. “Macaulay Culkin Is Not Like You.” Esquire, 11 Feb. 2020.