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Amber Valletta Opens Up About Past Drug & Alcohol Abuse: ‘Why Would I Be Ashamed of Being Clean?’

Amber Valletta started modeling at age 15, was on the cover of Vogue by age 18, and got sober by age 20. Now, at age 45, the supermodel is opening up about the drug and alcohol abuse in her youth, and how she thinks about her addiction struggles today. Valletta’s life and career have taken many turns, leading her into acting, building a family, and now, into climate activism and sustainable fashion. The model has a clear view of her past, present, and future — and her candor about even her hardest times is seriously inspiring.

Valletta sees it like this: If she wasn’t ashamed to let people see her drunk and high, why should she hide that part of her life now that she’s sober? In a new interview with Porter, Valletta explains her philosophy: “I didn’t have a problem when I was out using, if you saw me high or drunk. So why would I be ashamed of being clean and saying: I have a disease that I can’t control?”

For Valletta, that lack of control is key — and she’s maintained her 25 years of sobriety precisely because she understands just how overpowering addiction can be. “Only by being sober do I have any chance of survival,” she tells Porter. “Left to my own devices, I guarantee you no matter how much I love life, my family, if I take a drink or any of my drugs of choice, I’ll be dead. I’ll ruin everything.”

Sobriety, like everything else, is something Valletta takes day by day. “I want to be the person that I aspire to be,” she says. “I don’t want to talk it, I want to live it. I want to allow myself the space to have bad days, be sad, be mad, be loving and accepting of others. Even people that I don’t think are right. It’s hard to do, but I want to move through the world as gently as I can.”

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