"Jersey Shore" Star Says He's Spent Half a Million Dollars on Drug Habit

Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino has been sober for eight years after coming to fame on the reality show.

On Jersey Shore, Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino was known for partying, getting into drama with his castmates, and on one occasion, head-butting a wall—a moment that has some more context 12 years later. Today, the reality star is nearly eight years sober, and in a new interview with Entertainment Tonight, he opened up about the extent of his addiction to painkillers, of which he was in the throes filming Jersey Shore. Sorrentino said his addiction was so severe, he smuggled drugs to other locations and spent around half a million dollars on substances.

RELATED: Hulk Hogan Shares How He Got Sober After "Vicious" Pain Pill Addiction.

While promoting his new memoir Reality Check: Making the Best of The Situation — How I Overcame Addiction, Loss, and Prison, Sorrentino spoke to ET about abusing oxycodone before going to rehab for the second time in 2015. It was just prior to this stay that he first tried heroin, which he explained was a low point and something he thought he would never do. "I was desperate and I was in that hole," he said.

Sorrentino told ET that suddenly becoming rich and famous made his drug addiction worse. "It was like gasoline on fire," he explained. "I was a young and wild, careless kid, and once you gave kids millions of dollars and Ferraris and Lambos and girls screaming my name and yes-men everywhere, it was hard to turn that off. That was my problem for many years—how do you turn off the excess?"

He realized later that he had spent $500K on drugs. "When you think of that number, when you hear that number, that's a good college fund right there," he said. "I gotta just be accountable and be like, 'Yeah, that happened.' I was wild. I was careless. I was reckless, and I fell prey to drug addiction, and in the book I describe that I did spend about half a million dollars on cocaine and oxycodone."

He explained that he "had everything on [him] at all times" and listed Roxicet, Percocet, Xanax, Valium, marijuana, and cocaine. He said that he would "smuggle" drugs to wherever Jersey Shore was filming, including when the cast went to Italy for Season 4.

"The one in Italy was very, very risky because you're traveling across the country and I smuggled in a couple hundred Roxys in a shoe, in an Altoids case that I disassembled," he said.

It was during the Italy season that Sorrentino head-butted a wall, which gave him a concussion. "You guys saw in Italy when I ran my head into a wall, I was going through withdrawals at the time 'cause I had ran out of pills," he told ET.

Sorrentino has been open about his experience with addiction and sobriety over the past several years. Earlier this month, he spoke to Impact X Nightline about the time he tried heroin and credited his now-wife, Lauren Pesce, and his mother, Linda Sorrentino, for stopping him from going further down that path. He explained that he was depressed and unemployed and initially looking for more pain medication but bought heroin instead. It was around this time that Sorrentino had been charged with tax fraud. He later served eight months in prison in 2019 after pleading guilty to one count of tax evasion.

"I told myself, 'Maybe I'll just try it,'" Sorrentino shared of his experience with heroin. "So I locked my door and I told Lauren that I was going to sleep for the night and that I wanted to be alone. I just took a little key bump of it and I tried it. So then I went in for another key bump and at that very moment my phone rings. It was my mother. And my mom's like, 'Are you OK?' She had a feeling. And I said, 'I'm fine mom, why?' She goes, 'I feel like something's wrong.' This was a come-to-god moment."

He continued, "I took that as a message from the Almighty, and I put it down. And as I hung up the phone, knock on the door, a second angel. My wife was knocking at the door at the same time. So this is a definitely a very emotional moment for me. They saved me."

December will mark exactly eight years that Sorrentino has been sober. He and Pesce have been married since 2018 and are expecting their third child. Along with his castmates, he returned for the Jersey Shore sequel series Jersey Shore: Family Vacation, which is still airing.

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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