Not giving up. Months after admitting he relapsed during the coronavirus pandemic, Macklemore opened up to fans at a recent concert in Las Vegas about his recovery journey.
While closing out iHeartRadio’s Recover Out Loud concert last month, the 38-year-old rapper shared with attendees, “I’m an addict. I’m in recovery. So it’s a true honor. I’ve been inspired all night and it is an absolute privilege and honor to be up here celebrating the gift of recovery with you guys.”
Back in April, Macklemore revealed on the “Armchair Expert” podcast that he had relapsed during the pandemic. After learning about host Dax Shepard’s own relapse, Macklemore said, “It was within two months of my COVID relapse.”
Although the “Good Old Days” singer didn’t mention his relapse while on stage at the International Theater at Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, he opened up about his battle to fellow recovering addicts who attended the concert as part of a weekend-long recovery summit.
“If it weren’t for recovery, I wouldn’t be here period, but I definitely would not be on this stage. I never had moderation with anything and that absolutely transferred into drugs and alcohol from an early age,” Macklemore, whose real name is Benjamin Haggerty, said in between songs.
“I had no idea how to stop. I would try to go off for a month. That month lasted where, you know, I’d be, like, ‘I’m just going to smoke weed, I’m not going to drink. I’m just going to drink, I’m not going to smoke weed.’ Or this drug or that drug, and it just did not work. It did not work until finally in 2008, I went to treatment for the first time and I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I have a disease and I understand this now. Not only do I understand that I have a disease, [I understand] it is not my fault.’ It is not my fault that I had this disease.”
He continued, “But now that I have the information about it, now that I’ve been privileged enough that I got to go to treatment for 28 days, now I have a responsibility to treat my disease … I don’t want to be a secret. I got out of that treatment center and I was like, ‘You know what? I have a choice right now. I can either rap about this s–t or I can keep it inside.’”
Macklemore’s lyrics speak for themselves. Following other inspirational artists including KT Tunstall, Evvie McKinney and Daphne Willis, who also took the stage — the same stage that Barry Manilow has been performing at during his LV residency — the father of three and husband of Tricia Davis sang his hits “Thrift Shop,” “Same Love,” “Can’t Hold Us” and “Glorious.”
Performing on stage with his band and backup singers and dancers, he joked that he felt “like a young Barry Manilow,” and told the crowd, “Do you know how many horrible nights I’ve had in Vegas f–ked up out of my Goddamned mind? I’m having so much more fun completely present with you guys. This to me is what life is all about.”
The free concert was made possible by Mobilize Recovery, Victoria’s Voice Foundation, Truth Initiative, The Voices Project, Recovery Advocacy Project and Partnership to End Addiction among others.
Jackie Siegel, who founded Victoria’s Voice with her husband, David Siegel, spoke with Us Weekly exclusively ahead of the show and mentioned that she ran into Macklemore two years ago in a hotel lobby where she shared her story with him about her daughter Victoria Siegel, who died of a drug overdose at the age of 18 in 2015. The two connected afterward through their teams to get him involved with Victoria’s Voice.
“It seemed that both of our stories seemed to work together because he’s living proof of someone that’s in recovery and can do it and can win that battle against the epidemic between alcohol and drugs. And my daughter lost the battle, so our stories kind of work hand in hand,” Siegel, a.k.a. the Queen of Versailles, told Us. “I would love to do this every year if possible. He’s such an inspiration. He’s one of the nicest guys in the world and he’s very honest about his struggles. He did relapse during the pandemic and one thing about him is by him being honest like that, it just shows that he’s only human and I give him credit … It’s really a difficult thing to say never again, you know, so I really honor and respect everyone that’s in recovery every day.”
For more information on Victoria’s Voice, visit https://victoriasvoice.foundation.Listen to Us Weekly's Hot Hollywood as each week the editors of Us break down the hottest entertainment news stories!
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!