Can David Duchovny Recover From Sex Addiction?

Like Anthony Weiner and Tiger Woods, David Duchovny's sexual past haunts him.

ByABC News
July 1, 2011, 5:17 AM

July 1, 2011 — -- It's not easy to come clean from any addiction, but for David Duchovny, the road to recovery has been especially rocky.

This week, Duchovny and his wife, Tea Leoni, separated for a second time in their 14-year marriage. Duchovny, 50, and Leoni, 45, have weathered this storm before: In 2008, they spent several months apart after he admitted that he was a sex addict and voluntarily checked himself into a treatment center.

"I have voluntarily entered a facility for the treatment of sex addiction," the actor said at the time. "I ask for respect and privacy for my wife and children as we deal with this situation as a family."

He was the first celebrity to own up to sex addiction. Other public figures have sought treatment following sexual indiscretions since then -- golfer Tiger Woods and most recently, former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, whose wife is reportedly seeking distance from him. But Duchovny still holds the distinction of being the only celebrity to cite sex addiction as his reason for treatment, as opposed to depression, "undisclosed reasons" or any number of other ailments.

It's not known what exactly caused the split between Duchovny and Leoni this time. (Leoni has never spoken publicly about their marital problems.) Rob Weiss, founding director of Los Angeles, Calif.'s Sexual Recovery Institute, has two theories.

"I could have predicted this would happen," he said. Weiss outlined the two most common reasons why couples split up after one seeks treatment for sex addiction: "Either the person who has the addiction hasn't stopped or hasn't fully embraced recovery, or the spouse hasn't been able to get past their own anger and hurt even though the person in treatment is working very hard."

"The greatest stressor that comes up with these couples is not when they first find out," Weiss added. "It's if the spouse doesn't join him or her in treatment and they get into these stuck places where the spouse's role is to blame and shame."

Things seemed O.K. between Duchovny and Leoni last October, when they were spotted arm-in-arm at a film festival in New York City. But, Weiss suspects, Duchovny's alter-ego as the depraved, oversexed writer Hank Moody on Showtime's "Californication" didn't help the actor's recovery efforts.

"Five years ago, I had a pornographer come in and he came to the conclusion after six months of treatment that he had to find a new job," Weiss said. "My thought with Duchovny is that if I were a sex addict and I were in treatment, I would not be able to continue doing this series. Being that character is antithetical to recovery."

Beyond their marriage, Duchovny and Leoni have their children at stake, daughter Madelaine, 12, and son Kyd, 9. What happens now?

"If he's not in recovery and he goes and checks in somewhere, maybe she'll return. However, if it's more about him being in recovery and her not able to move forward, then that's that," Weiss said. "It's not like no one will know his history, but I don't think history matters much when money, power and attractiveness is involved. I'm sure he'll find someone."