Kristin Davis' confidence used to come from a bottle, says Sarah Maber in Psychologies. As a teenager growing up in South Carolina, Davis was a wallflower. "I was really shy. I didn't know how to come out of my shell."

Then she discovered bourbon.

"Everyone gets mad at me when I say this, but it's the truth - people in the South drink a lot. From 15 onwards, people hand you bourbon. Alcohol freed me up. It's the same reason I discovered I loved acting - I wanted to feel things and express myself. And I'm not naturally that way."

But drinking only worked up to a point. When she moved to New York, she still found that her inhibitions were getting in the way of her acting career. "I was focused, but I didn't sell myself. I wasn't outgoing. I didn't command attention. My 20s were the worst time of my life."

Broke and lonely, she stepped up the drinking - until she felt she was losing control, and had to quit booze altogether. "It was a problem waiting to happen as far as I was concerned. Alcoholism has run in my family." With maturity and success, Davis is still single at 41. "The problem is that I don't connect with people easily."

[From The Week, Dec 22 2006, quoting British magazine Psychologies, Dec 2006]

In another interview [Charlotte's web, by Barbara Ellen, The Observer Feb 10, 2002], Davis comments, "I just realised that drinking was counterproductive to what I was trying to do.

"Acting is very difficult in weird ways. You'd have to get to class by 8am, work all day, rehearse all night, and it's not really good to do when you're hung over.

"I'd wanted to be an actress my whole life, that was my goal, that was all I cared about. Something had to go, so I chose drinking to go...

"Sometimes it would be nice to just have some red wine with dinner, but it's not worth the risk. I have a great life, a great situation. Why would I want to risk self-destructive behaviour?"

Kristin Davis graduated from Rutgers University and has garnered acclaim for her roles in Melrose Place, and Sex and the City.

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Related article: Actors and Addiction.