Amber Smith

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Chanel

I've read in a few columns that drug addiction is prevalent in Hollywood and that many stars are addicted. So if it's true, how are they so good at hiding their addictions physically?

You forget that stars rarely live in a vacuum. (VAC-yoom: Nothingness, emptiness. See episodes 1 through whatever of the new J.J. Abrams series, Fringe.) Celebrities always have people around them, people to shield, deflect, bully—in short, hide any addiction from the greater public.

Don't take it from me. Take it from the supermodel-slash-recovering-addict I interviewed about this very subject...

"My agency would chastise anyone who photographed me when I was looking too thin or I was incapacitated," says Amber Smith, a former Sports Illustrated model who is now working with Dr. Drew Pinsky to fight an addiction to Vicodin, Percodan and other pills. "You have a lot of yes people."

Smith, who appears on this season of Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew, also says most of Hollywood's hottest drugs come in the form of prescription pills and leave very few obvious physical signs, at least at first. And track marks are no longer the telltale sign of a heroin habit. "Nowadays, it's so pure you can smoke it," says addiction specialist Clare Kavin, director of the Waismann Method.

But when addicted stars, say, lose too much weight, reputable magazine photographers often shun them, contributing to the public's lack of awareness. For example, Smith appeared twice in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition in the mid-‘90s. But when she grew too thin because of her addiction, S.I. wouldn't shoot her again, so the millions of people who see the swimsuit issue wouldn't necessarily know that something was wrong with the model.

Meanwhile, on film sets, shooting will stop completely if a star is too addled or mangy-looking to function.

"You're only seeing these stars when they or their handlers want you to see them," Kavin says. "Directors will wait on the set for an hour or two until a star is no longer high or is cleaned up properly."

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