Leif Garrett says Celebrity Rehab producers asked him to use when he was sober

Celebrity Rehab participant Leif Garrett said that before his time on the show with Dr. Drew Pinsky, he was sober but producers asked him to use on camera, so he did. And first-season participant Jeff Conway said producers asked him to lie and create drama.

Garrett reveals that in a Los Angeles Times feature story about the ethics of the show. He said that before going to the Pasadena Recovery Center, he sobered up, and after being clean for four days, producers “asked to get some footage of me using, and I said, ‘I haven’t been using.’ They said, ‘We really have to get footage of you using.’ Anyway, I was easily talked into showing them,” he told the paper.

A VH1 publicist said, “The show’s producers would never ask anyone to use…PERIOD.”

Meanwhile, Jeff Conway said that during his time on the show, “We all knew we were on TV. I think everybody, like myself, made choices. Sometimes we would go a little bit further than maybe we normally would. You can’t help it. There are cameras sitting in front of your face, and we’re paid to be dramatic. That’s what we do.”

But he also said that, when he wanted to leave, “I was in so much pain, I thought, ‘When I get out of here, I’m going back on pain pills.’ The producer said, ‘Can’t you just lie? Can’t you just not talk?’ I don’t think producers ever have actors’ best interest at heart. Their first allegiance is to the show.”

Garrett, like Janice Dickinson, praised Dr. Drew, however. He said Dr. Drew is “100% the real deal,” and Dickinson said “Dr. Drew saved my life.”

Rehab television shows: intervention or exploitation? [Los Angeles Times]

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.