Alcoholism is a disease that can affect anyone, even celebrities. Though there’s a new Wonder Woman movie starring Gal Gadot out now, in the 1970s it was a hit TV show featuring Lynda Carter. She was one of the world’s most beautiful women and the highest-paid television actress at that time.
Wonder Woman aired from 1975 until 1979, at which time Carter began consuming more and more alcohol. She contributed her drinking to not only the show ending but also that she couldn’t land any roles outside mediocre programs.
Today we’ll take a look at how the original Wonder Woman struggled with alcoholism and discuss her newfound happy life with long term sobriety.
The Beginning of Wonder Woman’s Struggle with Alcoholism
The former Miss USA, singer, and actress didn’t begin drinking until she was in her mid-20s, sometime after Wonder Woman’s end. Carter says her drinking was a “gradual” problem that began slowly taking control of her life.
For five years, Carter was married to business manager Ron Samuels. By 1982 their marriage had begun to fall apart, mainly due to her alcoholism. She later realized that alcohol was her escape from the “emotional difficulties” of marriage. The couple’s divorce was finalized the same year, and she slowly kept down her path of drinking.
In January 1984, she married investment banker Robert Altman and moved from Hollywood, CA to Washington, D.C.
The former Wonder Woman star told the British magazine Express, “Alcoholism is an abyss [and] it is not a matter of having willpower.” She continued on to say, “It happened over a period of time. It’s not like methamphetamine or heroin, where you get hooked, and that’s it. But … over a period of time, you begin to crave it.” Women experience alcoholism differently than men. Visit our post to learn more.
Carter’s Drinking Patterns
As she pointed out, her drinking problem wasn’t one where she urgently needed a drink. Her alcoholism was heightened after she’d already had a drink or two. The initial drinks were followed by a succession of drinks, at which point family and friends would notice her acting differently. Craving triggered by one or two drinks is a common symptom of alcoholism. Visit our post to learn more.
At this point in her life, Carter didn’t care what others said. So, she kept drinking until she was dealing with full-blown alcoholism.
Robert Altman’s Legal Troubles
During the early days of her second marriage, she limited what roles she accepted before moving to Washington, D.C. In D.C., Robert Altman worked as a law partner for a firm headed by former Presidential advisor and Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford.
In 1992, the pair of lawyers were charged with bribery and several other counts in a banking scandal. While Clifford got out of going to trial due to health issues, Carter’s husband did and ended up getting acquitted on all charges.
The stress that this situation brought on Carter helped increase her drinking problem even further. When you consider the cost of the legal fees, there’s no wonder it cost them everything. Carter explained that she and her husband had to rebuild from the ground up.
The Birth of Children
Carter gave birth to two children, a son, and a daughter. While she was able to stop drinking during both pregnancies, it was only temporary each time.
Her alcoholism continued until 1997, when her husband begged her to seek help with her problem. Looking back, Lynda Carter acknowledges that her alcohol addiction caused her to alienate her loved ones but didn’t know if she’d ever have the courage to stop drinking.
Carter said, “I wasn’t really present for my two children, though my kids never saw me out of control.” She continued on to explain, “When I had a drink, I couldn’t stop. My liver doesn’t process alcohol until I’ve had three drinks. Then I’d fall off the cliff or under the table. It’s just devastating.”
It wasn’t until the Wonder Woman star entered a rehab center in Maryland in 1997 that her alcoholism became “official.” She did admit she put off handling her problem for many years as she lived in denial. Lynda Carter’s denial was mostly due to the shame and embarrassment from not knowing what she did the night before.
Carter’s Family History with Alcoholism
Carter knew well that her family on her mother’s side had significant issues with alcoholism. In fact, one of her family members succumbed to the disease. While she knew she wasn’t invincible from following the same path, her unhappy marriage and other stressors helped push her that way.
The Wonder Woman star went public with her prior alcoholism struggles in 2008. Since this time, she’s made an effort to show others that they too can live a happy life without using alcohol. She’s been sober and in recovery for 23 years now and is definitely living her best life!