Mary Tyler Moore says she battled alcoholism

Actress Mary Tyler Moore has opened up about her best-kept secret - she fought alcoholism for years.

In an exclusive TV interview, the Ordinary People star confessed she hid a drinking problem for years and not even her closest friends and family knew she had it.

She says, "An alcoholic woman, in most people's eyes, was one who had just really gotten sloppy, gotten dirty."

Moore hopes her big reveal helped other alcoholics seek help.

"Being able to come out and talk honestly about that (alcoholism) gave a lot of people the opportunity to look at themselves carefully and say, 'Hey, yes I look good, my clothes are nice and I'm warm and delightful, but I'm also an alcoholic.'" 3/31/09


Earlier stories :

Mary Tyler Moore Gets Aid on Alcohol Problem

Published: September 12, 1984

Mary Tyler Moore has been under treatment at the Betty Ford Center in Palm Springs, Calif., for the last week because her doctors ordered her to stop drinking, a public relations representative said Monday.

A statement issued by the public relations firm of Rogers and Cowan said Miss Moore, ''a severe diabetic, was advised by doctors to cease any alcoholic intake.''

Miss Moore joins a long list of celebrities, including Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minnelli, Johnny Cash and Peter Lawford, who have undergone treatment for drug or alcohol dependency at the center, which was named for the former First Lady Betty Ford after she was treated there.



Interview With Mary Tyler Moore  July 1, 2005

KING: You had an alcohol problem. You discussed it in the past. Do you think that was a prelude to the diabetes?

MOORE: No, no.

KING: No connection at all?

MOORE: No. Uh-uh.

KING: Can diabetics take alcohol?

MOORE: It's not good. It really isn't good. Triglycerides, which come from alcohol in your body throw things off. And also, when you're drinking, you're not as responsible as you have to be to check your blood and take the right amount of insulin, yes.

KING: Dick also had the problem?


KING: Did you have it at the same time?

MOORE: Not really, no.

KING: How did you beat it?

MOORE: I just made up my mind to stop.


MOORE: Well, I went to the Betty Ford Center and got a lot of education there and a lot of spirit and determination. Somebody said something -- it's a cliche, you've heard it 100 times, but they say if you want to get all the air out of a glass, what do you do? There's no way to do it but fill it with something else. And that something else is joy of living, reading, being creative, know you're doing the right thing. And that got me to thinking.

KING: Why didn't the joy of success work?

MOORE: I don't know.

KING: One doesn't know, does he?

MOORE: No. And, you know, with alcoholism, you tend to drink because you're angry, or you drink because you're sad now, or you drink because you are just so happy you want to celebrate. KING: I got a friend who says alcohol is my Prozac.

MOORE: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But unfortunately, it's debilitating. And Prozac, I think, is not.

KING: So are you completely sober or do you now reach a point where you can have a glass of wine?

MOORE: No, I don't do that. I don't think I'll ever be able to do that again, nor do I want to. I'm perfectly content with good food and, oh, there's a non-alcoholic wine that is pretty good. Has a good taste.

KING: Do you ever miss it?

MOORE: Every once in a while, I'll think, I should have a -- and I don't even get through to the last word in the sentence. That's how fleeting it is. And I'll think, isn't that funny.


Related article: Mary Tyler Moore writes about her alcoholism

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