Lily Allen Reflects on Pre-Sobriety Drug and Alcohol Use and Says Fame 'Was an Addiction in Itself'

The British singer told The New York Times much of her early adulthood "feels like a bit of a haze, because I was literally just off my face the whole time"

It's been four years since Lily Allen got sober, and the British singer-songwriter is opening up about what contributed to her substance use.

In a new interview with The New York Times, the "Smile" performer spoke about her years of drug and alcohol use, explaining how it went hand in hand with her relationship to fame and success.

"It’s not a very nice feeling," Allen, 38, told the outlet of getting followed by UK paparazzi to the point where she sought legal protection in 2009. "Especially when you’re in your early 20s, and you’re still trying to figure out who you are in the world."

Related: Lily Allen Says Her Dad Thought She 'Went Missing,' Called the Cops When She Lost Her Virginity at 12

<p>Bruce Glikas/WireImage</p> Lily Allen

Bruce Glikas/WireImage

Lily Allen

She's long been quite open about her past substance use, especially since getting sober around the release of her 2018 album No Shame. The following year, Allen became romantically linked to actor David Harbour, and the pair tied the knot in 2020. He's now stepfather to Allen's daughters Ethel, 11, and Marnie, 10, whom she shares with ex-husband Sam Cooper.

Before then, however, Allen was using drugs and alcohol quite often. "From 18 to about four or five years ago just feels like a bit of a haze, because I was literally just off my face the whole time," she told the NYT.

"I was using fame as well — that was an addiction in itself: the attention and the paparazzi and the chaos," continued the "Hard Out Here" musician, who currently stars in a play titled The Pillowman in London's West End.

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<p></p> Lily Allen in July 2023

Lily Allen in July 2023

In a 2021 episode of the podcast The Recovery, Allen spoke further about her experiences with addiction and sobriety, revealing she became "co-dependent" on alcohol while attending school.

"I started getting my value from attention of others and that is something that has played out until relatively recently really," she said on the podcast.

"All I wanted was affirmation and praise and I didn't even really get it then. I got it from strangers, but I didn't really get it from the people I wanted it from," Allen added, referring to her music career soon after dropping out of school. "In fact, I was kind of met with a bit of resentment from those people. Taking responsibility for my own actions, you know, I definitely like buried my head in drugs and alcohol, but I was really sad."

Arturo Holmes/WireImage Lily Allen and David Harbour with her daughters in May 2022
Arturo Holmes/WireImage Lily Allen and David Harbour with her daughters in May 2022

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Elsewhere in the 2021 interview, Allen spoke about how Harbour has supported her, as they're both sober.

"I'm in a really happy and healthy relationship. He's sober, has been sober for 20 years now," she added. "We're thinking about what we're going to do with the rest of our lives... I don't have as much as I had then in terms of success and wealth, but I have success and health in my mind, which is more valuable I think."

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