Latino Stars Who Have Conquered Their Demons

Demi Lovato recently admitted that she is struggling with bipolar disorder and her first big TV interview since entering a Chicago-area rehab clinic to fight her self-destructive urges is airing tomorrow on ABC news. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been really impressed by Demi’s openness and honesty about the mental and emotional issues she is fighting. These are problems so many young women suffer with in silence and for her to put a face to something so personal is truly brave.

But she’s not the first star to struggle with personal demons and come out on top. Here are a few Latino stars that have risen above and beyond their personal problems to shine bigger and brighter than ever:

1. Overcoming Demons: Nicole Richie

Nicole Richie

Nicole Richie fought a very public battle with addictions before becoming the loving and healthy mother and successful businesswoman she currently is. Adopted by famous soul singer Lionel Richie when she was just three years old, Nicole abused drugs and alcohol for most of her teen years and well into her twenties. After a string of arrests, the Mexican and African American reality star hit rock bottom with an arrest for driving under the influence in December of 2006. She promptly signed up for an 18-month anti-drinking driver education program and both her relationship with Good Charlotte front man Joel Madden and the birth of daughter Harlow Winter Kate Richie-Madden (January 11, 2008) seem to have put Richie on the straight and narrow. She has since penned a NY Times best selling novel and launched a fashion line named after her daughter that has done incredibly well.


2. Overcoming Demons: Jamie-Lynn Sigler

Jamie Lynn-Sigler

Jamie Lynn-Sigler struggled with anorexia nervosa shortly after her rise to fame as Meadow Soprano on the iconic HBO mafia show The Sopranos. After shooting the pilot episode, Sigler reportedly lost almost 30 pounds, prompting her costars to encourage her to seek help. "I had an eating disorder," says Sigler, who talks about her experience and her simultaneous rise to fame in the book Wise Girl. "I hated the way I looked when I saw myself in the mirror, but I just couldn't stop what I was doing." Sigler dropped to a mere 90 pounds at the height of her disease and even contemplated suicide. Soon after, she became a spokeswoman for eating disorders. “It is a tough thing to talk about it,” Sigler admitted. “But it is actually therapeutic for me. I know it is something that touches almost every girl, and men, too."


3. Overcoming Demons: George Lopez

George Lopez

The host of Lopez Tonight and TV’s reigning Latino late night king didn’t always have so many reasons to laugh. Back in 1990’s Lopez was struggling hard with alcoholism. "I grew up where you could visually see people wasting their lives and the pattern was kind of laid out for me for drinking your life away or not believing what you could do,” he said in a 2009 interview with the NY Post. So who helped him turn his life around? Well, his ex-wife Ann certainly helped, but he actually credits long time friend Sandra Bullock with helping him realize that there was more to life than drinking. “I hit a hard time in the mid-90s, where I was self-abusing with alcohol and then Sandra Bullock turned that around. She was my guardian angel, definitely,” Lopez has said.


4. Overcoming Demons: Fergie

Fergie

Before becoming the Dutchess, Fergie (aka Stacey Ferguson) struggled with an addiction to methamphetamines and other drugs. After five years of childhood stardom on the hit Disney show Kids Incorporated, Fergie was signed at the age of 17 to a music deal with the girls group Wild Orchid. Though the group never found success it did introduce Fergie to the drug-filled dance club world. "It started with ecstasy,” Fergie told The Sunday Times back in 2008. “I loved ecstasy. Loved it, loved it. It was great at first, then it just went ..." crashing down. After fighting an addiction to methamphetamines for a year in her mid-twenties, Fergie was able to conquer her addiction through therapy. “It’s an epidemic, and it’s important to talk about it because it’s a very, very hard thing to stop.”


5. Overcoming Demons: Sara Ramirez

Sara Ramirez

Sara Ramirez's demons weren’t as easy to identify as a drug addiction, rather she has struggled her whole life with low self-esteem and body image issues. “There’s a whole list of things you could worry about,” she recently told Latina. “Are you skinny enough?  Talented enough?  In all kinds of ways, I used to be really, really hard on myself.” The Mexican actress also struggled with depression, telling us that it was hard to pull herself out of bed. “Somehow I managed to do it, but it wasn’t pretty,” she confessed. But since, the talented Ms. Ramirez has bounced back and become the standout star of her hit TV show Grey’s Anatomy this season. And she seems to finally have found some comfort in her own skin: “I’ve never been very cookie cutter. If I choose something different from the status quo, it’s my responsibility and my choice to live my life that way.” Amen, sister!


6. Overcoming Demons: Taboo

Taboo

Fergie wasn’t the only Black Eyed Pea to overcome personal obstacles. Her band mate Taboo also struggled with drugs and self-destructive behavior. In his autobiography Fallin' Up: My Story, Taboo chronicles his struggles. He recently told us that his problems began with fame. “I thought I was untouchable," he admitted. "I thought that this was the way that life is supposed to be when you’re a rock star.” But an arrest in March of 2007 turned that all around for him. “That was when I said, you know what, I’m living for my family, I’m not living for myself, I’m not trying to die at a young age,” Taboo admitted. “I’m going on my four years now. I’ve grown into a different chapter in my life and it’s all about family.” And with the Black Eyed Peas more popular than ever, we’re glad he’s able to enjoy the success (and his new wife & baby) with a clear mind.


7. Overcoming Demons: Michelle Rodriguez

Michelle Rodriguez

Michelle Rodriguez likes to party as much as the next girl, but there was a point there a few years ago when we were just straight up worried about her. After a childhood that included expulsion from at least five schools before she totally dropped out, Rodriguez hit it big in 2000’s Girlfight. Following a string of arrests (mostly for DUI), Rodriguez was sentenced on December 23, 2007 to serve 180 days in jail time again after she was found to be in violation of probation, but only served 18 days in a Los Angeles area penitentiary. Since then, she’s been walking the straight and narrow and in 2009 she told us, “It was important for me to get all of that stuff out of the way before I hit 30. It was a bunch of reality checks all at once, like, ‘Wake up, kid, time to get to work.’ Now I feel like I’m being born again.”


8. Overcoming Demons: Desi Arnaz

Desi Arnaz

Desi Arnaz may have launched the conga craze in the United States and starred in one of the most popular television shows of all time (I Love Lucy) but it wasn’t all fun and games. For years, the Cuban actor and musician battled debilitating alcoholism, though he refused to acknowledge his addiction publicly until he wrote his memoir titled A Book. His marriage to famed comedienne Lucille Ball eventually fell apart due to his alcohol abuse and womanizing. According to his memoir, Arnaz needed an escape from the pressures of managing and supervising the day-to-day operations of Desilu Productions. But after their divorce in 1960, Arnaz managed to pull himself together and took a step out of the limelight. Though both he and Ball remarried other people, they remained friends and grew quite close in the last decade of his life. Desi Arnaz died of lung cancer on December 2, 1986.


9. Overcoming Demons: Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez

In 2009, Alex Rodriguez was one of the few MLB players to be publically called out for using steroids by Sports Illustrated magazine. As the highest paid player in the Major Leagues, many fans were disappointed, especially since his level of play over his ten year career has at times seemed super human. After initially denying use of performance-enhancing drugs, Rodriguez admitted to using steroids, saying, "I was young, I was stupid, I was naïve and I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth being one of the greatest players of all time." He has insisted that the last time he used a banned substance was 2003 and that he has been totally clean since becoming a New York Yankee. Now a spokesperson for the Taylor Hooton Foundation, he has since spoken at schools and with young athletes about the dangers of steroids and continues to be one of the best players in MLB history.


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