The Mighty Have Fallen; Here's Why

Some say creativity comes with insecurity, pressure and a need to self-medicate.

ByABC News
May 9, 2007, 7:25 PM

May 10, 2007 — -- He had it all -- climbing his way to the top of one of the most powerful entertainment companies in the world, only to hit what could be called rock bottom.

HBO chief executive Chris Albrecht stepped down at parent company Time Warner's request, after previously taking a leave of absence to get his alcoholism back in check following a weekend arrest in Las Vegas on suspicion of assaulting his girlfriend.

Albrecht said he is "deeply sorry for what occurred in Las Vegas this weekend and for any embarrassment it caused my family, the company I love and myself."

He's part of a long list of high-profile successes who have been forced to share their rise-and-fall stories with the rest of the world. From top executives to athletes to actors, reaching the top only to be detoured by alcoholism or other self-destructive behavior is an all-too-common occurrence.

Gary Stromberg, author of "Harder They Fall: Celebrities Tell Their Real-Life Stories of Addiction and Recovery," told ABC News, "With creative people in general, I think there is more of a tendency to gravitate toward substance abuse.

"Creative people push the envelope, and there's no net," he said. "They live on the edge and that's risky. They live in a world surrounded by people who adore them and enable them. No one telling them no. ... They live privileged lives and they don't play by the same rules as the rest of the world. They are crying out for someone to say no to them."

Sarah Jessica Parker acknowledged to Parade magazine last year that she enabled former boyfriend Robert Downey Jr.

"In every good and bad way, I enabled him to show up for work," she said. "If he didn't, I'd cover for him, find him, clean him up. He was like a broken pipe with a leak that you're constantly putting tape around and tape over tape, but you can't stop the leaking."

More recently, actor David Hasselhoff could be seen intoxicated on the floor in a video taken by his 16-year-old daughter.

Ex-wife Pamela Bach told ABC News, "I don't want my daughter taping him and involving herself just so he can see himself intoxicated. She is not the parent, and I don't want her playing the parental role. It's very upsetting. This is an obvious cry for help."