Longtime Cara Delevingne fans were alarmed when late last year, photos and videos of the model looking disheveled at an airport circled online. Soon after, reports speculating on the star's addiction battle broke, and photos of her close friends leaving her home looking concerned were released.
Now, months into her sobriety journey, Delevingne is opening up about that dark time in her life and how reaching rock bottom changed her for the better.
'If I was continuing to go down the road I was, I would either end up dead or, like, doing something really, really stupid,' Delevingne said in Vogue's April 2023 issue.
Recalling the shocking photos of her captured outside a Los Angeles airport in September 2022 after she returned from Burning Man, she said, 'I hadn't slept. I was not okay. It's heartbreaking because I thought I was having fun, but at some point it was like, okay, I don't look well.'
She added, 'You know, sometimes you need a reality check, so in a way those pictures were something to be grateful for.'
There were also photos of her riding in a black SUV with her feet dangling out the window and videos of her looking jittery and bruised up while on the phone, as well as nearly falling while stumbling around on the sidewalk.
'I would climb anything and jump off stuff… it felt feral,' she said, explaining the bruises.
The 30-year-old said she hit a turning point that month and eventually reached out to her good friends and checked herself into rehab for substance abuse.
'From September, I just needed support. I needed to start reaching out. And my old friends I've known since I was 13, they all came over and we started crying,' Delevingne told the magazine. 'They looked at me and said, "You deserve a chance to have joy."'
She committed to a 12-step program and has remained sober since.
'This process obviously has its ups and downs, but I've started realising so much,' she said. 'People want my 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." And it's not as simple as that. It doesn't happen overnight.'
Looking back at what caused her to become addicted to various undisclosed substances, Delevingne said she 'was alone, really alone' during the COVID-19 pandemic, after her split from Ashley Benson and when work was on pause.
'I just 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 said. 'Instead of taking the time to really learn something new or do something new, I got very wrapped up in misery, wallowing, and partying. It was a really sad time.'
During that time, she was also filming her intimate docuseries, Planet Sex, and in April 2022, her grandmother Jane Sheffield died.
'When I heard she had died there were a lot of things I had to process because I hadn't seen her since Christmas the year before. I was really trying to pour everything I had into work, and every night I would come back from filming and sit alone and just cry. By the time I got to the Met Ball two weeks later I was f**king exhausted,' Delevingne said.
Still, she attended the 2022 Met Gala and 'went and got blackout afterwards,' she remembered. 'It was like, What am I doing? The day after, I had to travel to my granny's funeral. It was horrible.'
For her 30th birthday in August, she threw herself a massive party in Ibiza—'a funeral for my previous life, a goodbye to an era.' She added, 'I was going to party as hard as I could because this was the end.'
One month later, she decided to get sober.
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