Erin Brockovich Fights for Teen's Sobriety

Erin Brockovich helped her teenage daughter kick a drug habit.

ByABC News via logo
February 1, 2009, 6:17 PM

Feb. 2, 2009 — -- Erin Brockovich is an internationally known crusader, made famous by Julia Roberts' Oscar-winning turn in the legal clerk's 2000 biopic.

But as Brockovich was gaining fame, triggered by the film's popularity, unbeknownst to her, her teenage daughter was struggling with a secret drug addiction.

Click here to learn the warning signs of drug use.

"When the movie came out, she was gone all the time either on appearances or interviews or lecturing," said now 17-year-old Elizabeth Brockovich. "That was my time to go crazy, 'cause she wasn't there. I would ditch school; I was driving around with kids that were under the influence."

"I hid it all because my mom is Erin Brockovich," she said.

When Eric Brockovich was home, she was fooled. Her drug-addicted daughter even robbed her.

"You hate to think you were duped, but at some level I was duped," she said.

"I was taking loads of money out of her wallet," Elizabeth Brockovich said.

Her addiction also affected her schoolwork and extracurricular activities.

"My grades went down the toilet," said Elizabeth Brockovich, who first smoked marijuana at the age of 12.

But she said she didn't hit rock bottom until she embarrassed her high school volleyball team while tripping on LSD.

"When the ball came to me during the game, I thought it turned into fire no joke and I ran from the ball and I let my whole entire team down. We lost the game. We lost the championships," she said. She also struggled with cocaine and Xanax.

Erin Brockovich said she began to recognize there was a real problem when her daughter started lying.

"Something was saying, 'This isn't making sense. Bad grades. Defiant behavior. Sleep pattern changes.' I started noticing she'd no longer look in my eyes. She definitely lied to me. That was a huge issue," she said.

Even today, Elizabeth Brockovich hasn't come entirely clean with her mother.

"I lied about a lot of things that she still doesn't know about, to this day. I will take those to my grave," she said.

But the woman who earned her reputation by suing an energy giant for contaminating the water of California families, a case that was eventually settled for more than $300 million, didn't give up on her daughter.

She enrolled Elizabeth Brockovich in rehab at Visions, an adolescent treatment center for 12- to 17-year-olds who use drugs and abuse alcohol.