On Monday, September 28, the 45-year-old Bless This Mess actor returned to his “Armchair Expert” podcast with a major message of gratitude for all of his listeners. “Just quickly, I want to say thanks to all the people that have been so unbelievably lovely to us in response to ‘Day 7,'” he began.
Longtime cohost Monica Padman added that she hoped Shepard “felt loved and supported” in the wake of sharing his personal struggles. Though he admitted to feeling nervous to open up about hitting a wall on his path to a sober lifestyle, the Parenthood alum was surprised by how many kind comments he received.
“My fears were the opposite of what the result was,” he continued. “[I’m] struggling with some fraudulent feelings of receiving love based on a f–k up. But at any rate, I’m really, really grateful and there’s so many beautiful, nice people.”
Three days earlier, the Michigan native revealed in another podcast episode that he was seven days sober after facing a series of ups and downs that led him to misuse painkillers. Shepard has been vocal about his history of substance abuse in the past, but was more vulnerable than ever when discussing a challenging eight-year period following the death of his father in 2012.
“You know, we had so little in common and so much friction. But the No. 1 thing we had in common was we were both f–king addicts and we had never used anything together,” he said of his dad on Friday, September 25, as he recalled taking pills with him shortly before he died of cancer. “I started panicking a bit that I had done that and I was wondering if that’s a relapse and [thought], ‘Oh no. Eight years is gone.'”
Shepard, who was seriously hurt in a motorcycle accident in August, found himself stuck in a “cycle” of taking painkillers a number of times over the years. While he admitted that it made him “feel shady,” he didn’t think it was becoming a “problem” because he was prescribed the pills for his injuries after various accidents.
“So this escalates to — I’ve had a ton of injuries, I’ve had seven surgeries from s–t. I go ride a lot and after I ride sometimes on the track, I feel I’m entitled to take two Vicodin at the end of the day because I am in pain. That again doesn’t feel that crazy,” he said. “I’m getting shadier and shadier … and for the last eight weeks maybe I’m on them all day.”
Earlier this month, the Employee of the Month star marked his 16th sobriety birthday with the help of his wife, Kristen Bell, and their two daughters, Lincoln, 7, and Delta, 5. His support group threw him a celebration, but Shepard was dreading the big occasion. “It was the worst hour of my life,” he admitted. “I was high at the meeting having people tell me they admire my sobriety.”
Despite his setback, Shepard has found solace in his recent stretch of newfound sobriety. While in quarantine, he’s been enjoying spending extra time with his family and had a “metamorphosis” moment when he shaved his hair in a video shared to Instagram on September 17.
“A lot of people said, ‘I could see you were high as a kite.’ I actually was not,” he joked about the video on Monday. “I wanted to make a physical statement that I was shedding something.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).Listen to Us Weekly's Hot Hollywood as each week the editors of Us break down the hottest entertainment news stories!
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