Jane Lynch on her struggles with alcoholism, relapsing, and getting ‘one more chance’ at sobriety

Feb 26, 2022
Lynch spoke to The Guardian about her struggle with alcoholism and reveals how she overcame it after a relapse about five years ago. Source: Getty

Former 7th Heaven actress Jane Lynch has recently opened up about her struggles with alcoholism and her journey to sobriety. 

In an interview with  The Guardian, the actress gets candid about her battles with alcoholism, revealing she had relapsed in 2017, after several years of being sober. 

“I went back into denial, after all those years of sobriety and self-knowledge,” she told the publication.”I fooled myself – I woke up one day and went: ‘I’m back.'”

The 61-year-old Emmy winning actress explained how her drinking habits as a teen turned her into a high-functioning alcoholic, who drank almost every day, by her 30s. 

“The first time you [have a drink], it’s like: ‘Ah, I found it. I feel happy in my body, this feeling of bliss. No one can say anything to me that would make me upset or feel badly about myself right now,'” she recalled. “And then maybe the next time you drink, you get it again.”

She explained how one day, the happy buzz from one alcoholic drink was no longer enough causing her alcohol dependency to worsen. 

Lynch would often find herself still at a bar at 7am following a night out and frequently discovered vomit in her bathroom with no recollection as to how it got there. 

“You end up chasing [that feeling],” she said. “And then if you’re not chasing that, what are you doing? Who are you? You have to really face this emptiness.”

Then one day, Lynch experienced a “magical lifting of my compulsion to drink,” decided to get sober and joined Alcoholics Anonymous.

However, just as quickly as her sobriety started, it soon came to an end in 2017, a few years after her divorce from her first wife, Lara Embry, when Lynch had a glass of wine with dinner. 

“I became a connoisseur of wine in a way that only an alcoholic can… It took about three years,” she explained. “I’m telling people I’m drinking one glass of wine a night, and I’m drinking five.”

It was during this time Lynch’s television career had taken off again. She played the over-the-top cheerleading coach, Sue Sylvester, on Glee and Madeline Starkey on The Good Fight.

“I think [it was] boredom. I think I got to a point where nothing was doing it for me anymore,” she explained of her choice to break her sobriety, explaining how this time around, she would wait until 5pm to have a drink. 

“…the rest of the day didn’t matter. The only part of the day that really mattered was five o’clock.”

Six months later, Lynch had another awakening-after reflecting on all her accomplishments during her period of sobriety.

“[It was] like the sober fairy said, ‘OK, I’m giving you one more chance.’ And it was over,” she said. “Five o’clock would come and I didn’t notice it.”

Since getting sober again, Lynch has made the most of her second chance. In 2019, she won an Emmy for her performance as Sophie Lennon in The Marvellous Mrs Maisel. Not to mention, that her new marriage with wife Jennifer Cheyne is as blissful as it could be.

Leave your comment

Please sign in to post a comment.
Retrieving conversation…
Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up