Unlike many stars, Kirstie Alley's days of wild drug use and partying happened long before she ever moved to Hollywood. The actress opened up about her extensive drug use as a 20-something interior designer living in Kansas in a new interview with Howard Stern.
"I didn't do drugs until I was 25," she explained on Stern's show Wednesday. "I got a divorce from my husband, and I started hanging out out with this guy I was sort of madly in love with. He had already done all of his drugs, but he had a lot of druggie friends."
"I had heard that cocaine made you peppy and happy and I was sort of depressed because I had gotten a divorce and wrecked everybody's lives," she revealed. "So I thought, 'I'm gonna try this.' I took one snort of cocaine, and I go, 'Oh my god! I'm gonna do this every day for the rest of my life!"
Working as a high-end interior designer in Kansas, Alley said, she was living the high life. "People think there's no drugs in Kansas," Alley said. "Are you kidding me?! It was the relay point, I think, between East and West Coast. I didn't do drugs in L.A. later at all. I did drugs only in Kansas."
And mostly, she did cocaine.
"I did a lot of cocaine," Alley admitted. "I was crazy."
"When I did pot, I was like 'Oh my god, I'll never do this again!'" she explained. "For some reason, when I did cocaine I was just like, 'Woooo!' It made me feel very exterior and I didn't feel very introverted or anything."
But before long, she could tell that her addiction was taking a toll. Alley recalled, "I had a total awareness that I was dead as a being. I could feel that I had smashed my own life force … I wasn't funny, nutty Kirstie. I was actually insane."
Alley eventually confessed to her parents that she was struggling to stay sober, but the two had limited knowledge of drug abuse. "I told them I was totally strung out on cocaine," she told Stern. "They're like, 'What is that?' They didn't know what it was. And then they go, 'Well OK. So don't be.'"
Years later, tragically, a drunk driver would kill her mother and leave her father seriously injured. Alley admitted to Stern that the experience was particularly haunting because, she said, "Clearly I have been intoxicated while driving."
And Stern confessed, "In high school I smoked some weed and drove. I could have killed someone …"
Alley eventually got sober with the help of Scientology, she says. However, the church's rehab program, Narconon, has been under investigation in the past over allegations that its detox process is life-threatening."