Danniella Westbrook has checked into rehab for three months after an intervention from Jeremy Kyle, as she hopes to put her drug addiction behind her.
The 45-year-old appears on today’s edition of The Jeremy Kyle Show to speak about her battle with drugs, insisting that she wants to live a ‘drug-free life’.
The soap star’s battle with cocaine addiction has made headlines for 25 years, with Danniella becoming as known for her personal issues as she is for her acting career.
In 1990, Danniella joined the cast of EastEnders as the feisty Sam Mitchell, becoming an instant star.
She quit in 1993, but when the BBC asked her back two years later, she was in the grip of cocaine addiction, having started using the drug at the age of 14 in nightclubs.
Danniella’s cocaine usage became so frequent that it began to affect her behaviour, leading to her showing up late to work often. It became such an issue that in 1996, producers wrote Danniella out of the soap.
In 1999, EastEnders bosses chose to give Danniella another a chance when they decided to bring back Sam to the soap – deciding against casting another actress in the role.
However, behind the scenes, Danniella’s addiction had worsened to the point that her nasal septum had eroded. Producers kept this a secret by filming Danniella from certain angles that would keep her septum out of view.
But in 2000, this plan went awry, with producers eventually deciding that Danniella’s drug issues had gone too far. In May that year, an infamous picture of Westbrook with her septum entirely eroded at the British Soap Awards was published in the press – effectively ending her acting career for years.
Westbrook announced she was going to rehab, and six months later appeared on The Priory show claiming she had been sober for six months.
However, this was not the case, and two years later, she admitted: ‘I said I was clean, but it was obvious I wasn’t. I looked about 50, and my voice was shaky. I should never have been allowed on. They wanted to laugh at me, rip me apart. I despise that sort of thing, but it did me the world of good because watching it I realised, “I’m so ill.” When it came to the crunch I thought, “Hang on. I don’t want to die.”‘
At the height of Danniella’s addiction, she was taking five grams of cocaine a day – even when she was pregnant with her first child Kai.
Speaking to Jeremy Kyle in 2012, Danniella admitted that she even took a line of coke in the delivery room, saying: ‘I was in a terrible state.’
Even after Kai was born, the actress continued to use the class A drug, and on the show, recalled an incident where her three-year-old son had to try to save her after finding her in a drug-induced stupor.
She said: ‘I had a cocaine convulsion and my three-year-old son was trying to put a Mars Bar in my mouth, trying to make me come round.’
At this point, she realised she could have killed her son and, at her lowest point, even asked social services to take him away from her.
In 2000, after being sacked from EastEnders, Danniella pledged to quit drugs, but over the years, she sadly suffered a number of relapses.
She is believed to have spent £250,000 on cocaine.
In 2017, the star admitted that years of drug use had damaged her looks and said that she had fallen off the wagon during a battle with septicaemia.
She told Now magazine: ‘I’m an addict and the wheels fell off. I was dabbing cocaine around my mouth and rubbing it in to numb the pain. I was hospitalised, I could have died.’
The previous year – the same year she entered the Celebrity Big Brother house – Danniella said that she took relapsed on pills after splitting from her boyfriend George Arnold.
However, while Danniella admits her drug use damaged her face – having to get surgery to rebuild her nose – she insists that septicaemia and osteoporosis have caused her most recent problems, where part of her rib was placed into her cheek.
After receiving ‘dodgy’ dental implants, Daniella underwent six hours of surgery to stop her face collapsing and had a procedure using bone from her skull to make a new jaw.
Danniella chose to sue the makers of Celebrity Botched Up Bodies due to the blood poisoning she contracted, allegedly from the dental implants they gave her.
She said in 2015: ‘Obviously I’m going to age a lot faster anyway because of the drugs but I didn’t need this as well. The thing that makes me most unhappy is everyone goes, “It’s coke”. I’m like, “Listen if it was coke, I’d be like yeah it’s coke”. But this is not my fault, it’s down to the TV show that I’ve got bad teeth.’
While Danniella has undoubtedly been through a lot, the public and her EastEnders bosses have been on her side, with the actress returning to the soap in 2009, 2010 and 2016 for a number of temporary stints.
And ahead of her Kyle interview airing, Danniella told fans she wants to get back on track, tweeting: ‘For those of you asking my good mate Jezza had me on his show which is being aired in the morning & has kindly sent me 2 rehab for 3 months.
‘I’m grateful & excited 2 have the chance 2 get the drug free life I had for 14years back. Thank u 4 ur support.’
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