Kathy Griffin Says She Attempted Suicide in 2020 After Becoming Addicted to Prescription Pills
By Rachel McRady
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Kathy Griffin is a survivor. In addition to opening up about her lung cancer diagnosis in her Nightline interview that aired Monday, the 60-year-old comedian also revealed her struggles with addiction and depression.
Griffin said that in June 2020, she tried to take her own life in what she described as "a very serious suicide attempt." The My Life on the D-List star said she started spiraling after she faced backlash for her controversial 2017 photo shoot, where she held up a fake severed head of President Donald Trump
"To lose all of my work overnight and to be told by people in my own industry, 'It's over, leave the country for five years. You've shamed our industry,' on and on and on. It definitely got to me," she told Nightline. "I got to the point where I kind of agreed. Maybe it is time for me to go. And I've had a great life and I don't think there's a next chapter for me."
Griffin also shared how she became "severely addicted to prescription pills," despite never having a drink in her life.
"I think one of the reasons I actually wasn't acknowledging that I was a serious drug addict was that I was like, 'I don't even drink. Big deal, I take a couple pills now and again. Who doesn't?'" she noted.
She said the pill addiction "kicked into high gear" after the photo controversy caused many to turn on her, even friends.
"I think that emotionally that was the most painful to have so many friends that to this day haven't called. I would like to think that I would not behave that way," she said.
Not only did the comedian receive death threats, but her friends and family members were also threatened.
"Folks showed up to my husband's parents' house. They tracked my sister down when she was dying of cancer in the hospital and called her," Griffin said. "That was the intensity that I need people to know about. It's not just that I had a couple bad days of press."
The pill addiction led Griffin to contemplate suicide regularly, with her describing it as "almost an obsessive thought."
"I started really convincing myself it was a good decision. I got my living revokable trust in order. I had all my ducks in a row," she said. "I wrote the note, the whole thing. And I just thought, 'I'll just take a bunch of pills and I'll go to sleep.'"
Griffin said she took 100 pills, fell down two flights of stairs and then woke up and took more pills and fell again. She texted one of her doctors and was put on a 5150 psychiatric hold.
Now, Griffin said she's been sober and in Alcoholics Anonymous for more than a year.
Griffin also revealed on Monday that she is battling stage-one lung cancer, and is recovering after having a successful surgery to remove half of her left lung.
"Surgery went well and as planned," a rep for Griffin told ET in a statement on Monday. "Kathy is now in recovery now and resting. Doctors say the procedure was normal without any surprises."
Griffin told Nightline that she is aware how much her life has changed in a year. "Trust me, the irony is not lost on me that a year ago all I wanted to do was die and now all I want to do is live."