×

Joe Manganiello Opens Up About His Sobriety, Why It Was Hard to Ask for Help

“True Blood” star Joe Manganiello has been sober for many years now, but admitting he had a problem didn’t come easy.

“Sixteen years ago…I crashed and washed ashore on the banks of sobriety,” Manganiello said while accepting the Spirit of Sobriety award on Friday night at the Brent Shapiro Foundation for Drug Prevention’s 13th annual Summer Spectacular Event.

“When I was growing up, when I thought of an alcoholic, I thought of some toothless old guy in a trench coat in a basement somewhere,” he said, adding, “I just never thought that would apply to me. That type of stigma kept me from getting the help that I needed when I knew I needed it.”

Hosted by celebrity attorney Robert Shapiro and “Extra” television personality Mario Lopez, stars in attendance included defense attorney Gloria Allred, Larry King, “The Brady Bunch” actress Maureen McCormick, Rick and Kathy Hilton, as well as Manganiello’s wife Sofia Vergara.

Robert and his wife Linell Shapiro, along with their son Grant, started the foundation in 2005 after a bad combination of drugs and alcohol lead to the death of their eldest son, Brent.

In his memory, the Shapiros started Brent’s Club in partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Today there are more than 2,000 kids enrolled. The program is a sober club for middle and high schoolers, dedicated to helping children in at-risk communities abstain from drug and alcohol abuse. Each week, Brent’s Clubs members around the country take a voluntary, saliva-based drug test, and kids that stay clean and sober all throughout high school are rewarded with a full scholarship to college when they graduate.

“If you reward kids for not using drugs, they can succeed,” Shapiro told a ballroom full of 650 guests supporting the fundraiser at the Beverly Hilton.

The foundation’s goal is to “change the way kids view peer pressure,” Manganiello said, not only by rewarding them periodically prizes like laptops and iPads, but by getting them involved in activities in their community like surfing, art and music.

While the Shapiro’s goal is to open four more clubs in the next year, their long term goal is even more ambitious —  to have a Brent’s Club open in every city that has a professional sports franchise. “It will send a message that the athletes are all testing and are all drug free,” Shapiro said.

To meet their fundraising goal, one-of-a-kind items and experiences were auctioned off, including a pair of Louboutin heels with the trademark red soles drawn on and signed by the designer himself; a brand new 2019 Ferrari Portofino; a vacation on Marlon Brando’s private island; a walk-on role on “Ray Donovan”; and a one-on-one interview and breakfast date with Larry King.

More Scene

  • Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce

    Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce GLAAD Media Award Nominations

    Mj Rodriguez and Nico Santos are set to announce the nominees for the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards. The “Pose” star and “Crazy Rich Asians” funny man will make the announcement during a live-stream hosted by AT&T and from the AT&T Hello Lounge at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 25. “The images and stories recognized [...]

  • Emile Hirsch, Matt SmileyEmile Hirsch hosts

    Emile Hirsch Hosts Smiley Face Art Opening at Mondrian Hotel

    Despite the rain on Wednesday night in West Hollywood, there were plenty of smiles inside the Mondrian hotel thanks to artist Matt Smiley‘s Refresh exhibition. Not only is Smiley his real last name, but several of his paintings and other pieces in the exhibit feature smiley faces. “I’ve seen more smiley symbolism lately, and I’ve [...]

  • Randall Park, left, and Constance Wu

    Constance Wu Wants Her 'Fresh Off the Boat' Co-Star Randall Park to Host the Oscars

    While the Academy may have decided to go hostless for this year’s Oscars, that doesn’t mean the rest of Hollywood has stopped thinking about who would be a good choice for the emceeing gig. Former host Whoopi Goldberg recently suggested Ken Jeong. Jeong said, when he was a guest on “The View,” Goldberg told him [...]

  • 'Schitt's Creek' Stars Reveal Dream Guest

    'Schitt's Creek' Cast Reveals Dream Guest Stars: Oprah, Beyonce and ...

    “Schitt’s Creek” has big dreams. Dan Levy, who stars as David on the series, says his wish list of guest stars includes Oprah, Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Gwyneth Paltrow. “All for different reasons, none of whom we’ll get,” he cracked at the Critics’ Choice Awards. For those who haven’t caught on to the “Schitt’s Creek” [...]

  • Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bundchen

    Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen to Be Honored at UCLA Science Gala

    Science can be very glamorous. It certainly will be during Oscar week on Feb. 21 when the UCLA Institute of the Environment & Sustainability (IoES) honors Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen for environmental activism at its annual Hollywood for Science Gala. “When I moved to LA, the air was unbreathable. Rivers were catching fire in [...]

  • Don Cheadle and Andrew Rannells Black

    Don Cheadle, Andrew Rannells Talk Snorting 'Coke' on 'Black Monday'

    “Black Monday” show creators David Caspe and Jordan Cahen divulged an intriguing detail to come later in the first season of the new Showtime comedy at its world premiere, held at the Theatre at Ace Hotel on Monday night in Los Angeles. “The fourth or fifth episode opens with a sexual harassment seminar, which very well [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content