Cara Delevingne Opens Up About Her Battle With Substance Abuse
Cara Delevingne is addressing how a public unraveling led her to change her lifestyle. Last September she was seen looking disheveled at an airport. It was shortly after the model and actress’ 30th birthday. The tabloids quickly compared her to her mother, who struggles with bipolar disorder and heroin addiction.
In an interview with Vogue for their April issue, Delevingne says she was “grateful” those paparazzi photos for giving her the “reality check” she needed to get clean and confront the issues she was running away from. The U.K. native admits that though she comes from a wealthy family, “life wasn’t all that easy for other reasons.”
Delevingne admits she’s still grappling with her 63-year-old mother’s history of addiction. “The way that addiction took my mother from me was brutal, and it was brutal for her too,” she says. The Carnival Row actress recalls her first experience with alcohol began at seven years old at a family wedding. By the age of 10, she was prescribed sleeping pills to manage crippling insomnia. She was also diagnosed with dyspraxia, a disorder that affects movement and coordination. “This was the beginning of mental health issues and inadvertent self-harm,” she remembers. She then went to various forms of therapy: “art therapy, music therapy, EMDR, CBT,” she lists.
Then at 15, she was put on antidepressants after suffering from a breakdown that left her deep sense of isolation. After Covid-19 shut everything down in 2020, she had “a complete existential crisis. All my sense of belonging, all my validation—my identity, everything—was so wrapped up in work. And when that was gone, I felt like I had no purpose. I just wasn’t worth anything without work, and that was scary,” she says. “I got very wrapped up in misery, wallowing, and partying. It was a really sad time.”
Following the airport photos, Delevingne checked herself into rehab late last year and has committed to the 12-step program, calling it “the best thing.” She adds that “the opposite of addiction is connection,” and she found that in the program. In addition to the meetings she attends, the model attends weekly therapy sessions of psychodrama (a form of therapy involving role-play in which a person dramatizes a personal problem).
Calling out the people who want her story to be this “after-school special where I just say, ‘Oh look, I was an addict, and now I’m sober and that’s it,’ it’s not as simple as that. It doesn’t happen overnight…. Of course I want things to be instant—I think this generation especially, we want things to happen quickly—but I’ve had to dig deeper.”