Former Disney Star Opens Up About Struggles with Addiction
Christy Carlson Romano started acting before she started kindergarten. At the age of 6, her schedule was full of singing, dancing, and performances all priming her for stardom.
She landed a lead role on Disney’s “Even Stevens,” at the age of 14 as Ren Stevens. The show was a big hit and she, along with her co-star Shia LeBeouf, personified that perfect image of teenage talent. From the looks of it, she had it all. But behind the cameras and the spotlights was a dark reality.
Originally from Milford Connecticut, she recalls being “thwarted into the public eye” without the tools to handle the pressure that comes with such scrutiny. “I felt this false feeling of value,” Romano said to American Addiction Centers “Addiction Talk” host Joy Sutton. “You have so many people around you but feel alone.”
Romano said being a child/teen actor is extremely competitive and she was constantly consumed with her image. “The expectations started taking a toll and I eventually turned to alcohol as a coping method.”
Romano admits to binge drinking regularly as a teenager, when she started to go out to nightclubs with her older sister. She says she was always around alcohol because her mom drank a lot and so did her sister whom she looked up to.
“For me, it felt normal and alcohol just became a means of self-medicating.”
For almost a decade Romano’s lifestyle consisted of dangerous choices fueled by alcohol that culminated in a depression. That is when she knew a change had to be made.
She talked openly during her “Addiction Talk “interview about going to counseling with her husband. “It meant so much to me that he didn’t run away, but was there to support me and be by my side.”
That support was something Romano had been lacking as a young actor. “He encouraged me to be accountable for my actions and when I got sober life became clearer.”
Romano hosts a variety of podcasts and is raising two daughters with her husband. She is continuing to focus on working the 12 steps and says she is still enjoying the spotlight, but this time, sober and on her own terms.