When Liza Minnelli’s first husband, Peter Allen, spoke to Rolling Stone about her relationship with drugs and alcohol, he said, “She won’t even take aspirin.” Seeing her mother spiral into addiction took a toll on her, but according to NBC News, things changed after Judy Garland’s death in 1969. That’s when doctors prescribed Valium to help Minnelli sleep, and that’s when her own addiction to pills and alcohol began.
They reported that she had spent time at several rehab facilities over the years, and Minnelli has always been upfront about it. She told The Guardian, “My whole life this disease has been rampant. I inherited it, and it’s been horrendous, but I have always asked for help.”
Minnelli, says ABC, didn’t take her first drink until she was 30 years old. Afterwards, she fell deeper and deeper into the combination of drugs and alcohol, and according to her half-sister, things got so bad that not only did she have to “kidnap Minnelli to save her” in 1984, but that Frank Sinatra even got involved. He loaned the sisters his plane, in order to make sure Minnelli arrived safely at the Betty Ford Clinic.
She’s struggled to make sense of her addiction, saying, “Nobody would do that, if they had seen the things that I had seen — unless they couldn’t help it. … This is a disease, and the sooner we know that, the better.”