Natasha Lyonne: Addiction and Recovery
Before Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Bynes, there was Natasha Lyonne. In hipster-speak, she was the original modern celebrity train wreck before it was popular.
You may remember her for her roles in the first American Pie movie and Slums of Beverly Hills or you may have only heard of her more recently, with her critically-acclaimed role in the Netflix original series, Orange is the New Black, which is likely considering her long hiatus from the Hollywood spotlight while she plunged into hardcore addiction.
A Short Bio
Natasha Lyonne was born in New York City and attended a Jewish prep school on the Upper East Side. Her parents signed her to Ford as a child model, where Lindsay later got her start, too, and, when she was 6 years old, Lyonne got her first big break, as Opal on “Pee-wee’s Playhouse.” Although acting was not something she originally wanted to pursue, Lyonne nonetheless became one of the rare child stars to successfully transition to adult roles.
Natasha Lyonne and Addiction
Natasha Lyonne was using both heroin and alcohol like it was going out of style. Like many in the grips of drug addiction, Lyonne began to experience legal consequences. In August 2001, she was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol after she ran her rented automobile onto a Miami Beach sidewalk, hitting a road sign and causing minor damages. A year later, she pleaded guilty to drunk driving and paid $1,000 in fines and court fees, performed 50 hours of community service, was placed on probation for one year and had her license suspended, also for a year.
Beginning in 2003, actor and landlord to Natasha Lyonne, Michael Rapaport, tried to evict her after numerous complaints by other tenants about her erratic and violent behavior. Then, in December 2004, Lyonne was arrested after verbally threatening her neighbor, breaking into the neighbor’s apartment, and making threats to molest the neighbor’s dog. In April 2005, an arrest warrant was issued for Lyonne for failure to appear in court on the charges.
Natasha Lyonne Hospitalization and Drug Treatment
In July 2005, Natasha Lyonne was admitted to Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan, and after a month-long stay, was transported to Bellevue Hospital. She was suffering from hepatitis C, a heart infection, and a collapsed lung. In 2006, Lyonne was admitted to a drug and alcohol treatment center called the Caron Foundation, and appeared in court after missing several court dates to face earlier charges of mischief, trespass and harassment. In 2012, she underwent open heart surgery, from which she quickly recovered.
Natasha Lyonne and Recovery
Now 34 years old, Natasha Lyonne, is clean and sober, and is getting a second chance – which unfortunately is not always the case. After her brush with death and having to get open heart surgery at such a young age, Lyonne has recently kicked her last vice: cigarettes.
Lyonne is back at it with various projects, most notably, she stars in Orange is the New Black, which premiered in July. It’s based on a memoir by Piper Kerman, a highly educated middle-class woman who did 15 months for drug dealing and money laundering, and Lyonne draws on her own personal experiences with addiction and jail for her role as “the junkie philosopher.”