Former Teen Star Lucy Hale Says She First Blacked Out From Drinking at 12
The Pretty Little Liars actor also said she secretly went to rehab during the show.
At 34 years old, Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale has been sober for nearly two years. But it wasn't an easy or quick journey for her to get to this point. In a new interview with the podcast Call Her Daddy, the former teen idol explained that she first drank alcohol when she was 12 years old and that this was also the first time she blacked out from drinking. From there, she went through periods of drinking and attempting unsuccessfully to stop until she got sober in 2022.
"I remember my very first experience with alcohol was the same as when it ended," she said on the podcast, as reported by USA Today. "I blacked out at 12 years old. I don't remember what happened, I threw up, I got very sick, and I remember being so distraught when I realized what had happened." Hale said that she was on vacation at the time in Florida and drank "green [Sour] Apple Pucker," according to Entertainment Tonight.
Hale went on to explain that she now knows her feelings toward drinking were "never normal." She drank occasionally in her teens, but began drinking regularly starting at 18. She told Call Her Daddy, "I remember shame after every experience drinking, because my drinking was never normal. It was very clear I was drinking to escape something, even at a young age."
The actor realized she had a problem with drinking in her early 20s and went to rehab at 23 years old while she was starring as Aria Montgomery on Pretty Little Liars. "I don't think anyone on the show knew," she said. "That was a pivotal moment in my life. [But] I wasn't ready to give up drinking, which is why I didn't get sober until I was 32."
Hale said that she "tried so many different things: rehab, out-patient, in-patient, trauma center, therapy, medication, you name it." She added, "I did have moments when I had to go to the hospital. It got really dark. I was very sad. I was very scared." Hale also said that she struggled with an eating disorder, which "fueled the alcoholism and they kind of fueled each other."
In 2022, Hale became sober, and she said that being diagnosed with COVID-19 played a role, because she had to stay home and focus on recovering. "Without having COVID, I might not have gotten sober or committed to it," she said.
"I have been working on getting sober since I was 20. I'm 33. It takes time. It took time. It took patience with myself," she said. She explained that she didn't have success with her attempts to be "moderate drinker, just having two," adding, "My brain doesn't work the same way as someone who can just have a glass of wine. It always wants more."
The Fantasy Island actor celebrated a year of sobriety in January 2023, which she posted about on Instagram in February. Alongside a photo of a cake covered in sprinkles and an icing message reading "1 Year!" Hale wrote, "Bear with me, this is an alternative Valentine's Day post. This is a post about self-love and about the greatest thing I've ever done. On January 2, 2023 I celebrated one year of sobriety. While this journey has mostly been private, I felt compelled tonight to let anyone who is struggling know that you are not alone and you are loved."
Hale said on Call Her Daddy that becoming sober "100 percent the best thing [she's ever done for [her]self," but, she added, that "doesn't mean it's easy."
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