Marc Jacobs’ recovery is our first story in the “Celebrity Recovery” four-part series featured during National Recovery Month recalling the celebrities who have survived addiction, gone through rehab, and continue to be in recovery today.
In the world of celebrity rehab and recovery, Marc Jacobs is the embodiment of health and youth culture, now having been about eight to nine years clean.
The fashion designer has not only been an artist favoring the beauty of the mundane, but he has also been an example of what recovery can do for one’s health and success. Although he has been clean for some time, he was not always the man of health that is seen on the runway today.
Marc and the City
New York City, a mentally ill mother, a deceased father, and an endlessly supportive grandmother–Jacobs’ early life led him to chase a vision of a lost boy on a journey to find himself through the visual illusion of art and, eventually, drugs.
As a teenager, his mother “didn’t really take care of her kids,” resulting in Jacobs’ move to the Upper West Side with his paternal grandmother. “I always lived my life with my grandmother,” Jacobs said to New York Magazine. “She was emotionally stable, and she was very encouraging to me.”
The death of his grandmother in 1987 marked a life of disconnect from his blood family, who he does not wish to have a relationship with. His family became the fashion world of his mind, his work, and his soulmate relationship with Robert Duffy—Jacob’s longtime business partner and confidant.
Come 1988, Jacobs became the artistic director of Perry Ellis, Duffy became the president, and the gift of having the funds and infrastructure to design had begun. With this gift came a decision for the fashion designer: the choice to use hard drugs—riddled with “an awful lot of drinking”—which led to an addiction problem that would grab him by his then long mane.
More Drugs and Less Fashion
After Jacobs got fired from Perry Ellis for his Grunge fashion line that used expensive materials to evoke the plaid culture, French business magnate and investor Bernard Arnault gave Duffy a call. Jacobs flew off to the land of Louis Vuitton in Paris, and by 1997, Arnault found the designer’s partying to be out of control.
“It’s a cliché,” remarks Jacobs, “but when I drank, I was taller, funnier, smarter, cooler.”
Cocaine and heroin use became almost a nightly reprieve, resulting in Jacobs’ absence at work. The designer began getting kicked off planes as he pissed off his staff, who found their boss’ escapades to be a nuisance and a pain.
“I would come into work and fall straight to sleep,” Jacobs said in NY Magazine, “and then I would tell everyone to come in on a Saturday because we were behind, and then I wouldn’t show up.”
In an attempt to keep the peace in the workplace, Duffy threw chic parties and gave the staff gifts. “More than anything, I hurt for him,” Duffy recalled. “Marc’s my family. I was just becoming over protective of him.”
With the gradual decline of Jacobs’ health, Anna Wintour—former editor-in-chief of Vogue—and even model Naomi Campbell contacted Duffy and insisted that the designer got help. After Duffy flew to Paris and explained the situation to Arnault, Jacobs was rushed into an Arizonan drug treatment center. Apparently, the designer kicked and screamed and insisted that recovery wait until the collection was over.
Ultimately, Jacobs surrendered and felt that “for someone who had always wanted to be in fashion more than anything,” he was no longer doing it. Drug addiction had taken over his life, making his hard work seemingly meaningless if he had continued to use.
Heroin Chic to Recovery Physique
Thanks to rehab and Duffy’s loving efforts, in 2001, Jacobs had a revitalized sense of purpose as he and his confidant went on to build an empire. That year, three Marc Jacobs stores had opened, and the designer was able to design a graffiti-inspired Louis Vuitton monogrammed bag that was an astonishing hit—enlisting Vuitton’s first-ever waiting list.
Living as a drug addict in recovery can have its challenges, and in 2007, according to the Wall Street Journal, Jacobs relapsed on heroin and began disappearing for days at a time. “I’m not going to sit here and watch you kill yourself,” Duffy told Jacobs.
The day after a Louis Vuitton show, according to The Fix, Jacobs was rushed off to a rehab in Malibu, Calif., and reemerged a fit, health-conscious new man who was clearly pleased with his newly clean life. Now, Jacobs models on his own ads: an example of a drug-free life with color to his cheeks rather than the deathly, pale, heroin chic that has infected the fashion world for years.
Today, Jacobs continues to be a cultural fashion icon, a humanitarian—releasing a T-shirt line that raises awareness of skin cancer for NYU’s School of Medicine—as well as emoting the success of being drug-free. His recovery has continued to reflect in his artistic craft, recently creating a portrait series for his Fall 2016 ad campaign emoting “love, honesty, integrity, courage, strength, curiosity and inspiration,” principles reflective of what’s taught in recovery.
Let Marc Jacobs’ Recovery Help You Start Your Own
Here at Citrus Recovery, we have addiction specialists who are ready 24-7 and willing to help anyone with this terrible disease. If you, or your loved one, are struggling with an addiction problem, call (844) 318-0072 for a consultation today.