Cara Delevingne sparked widespread concern after paparazzi photos taken at a private airport in LA last September showed the model and actress looking disheveled and behaving erratically as she returned from Burning Man. Now in a revealing cover interview with Voguethe 30-year-old said she’s grateful for those photos because it sent her on the road to rehab and sobriety.
“I hadn’t slept. I wasn’t okay,” she said Vogue author Chioma Nnadi. “It’s heartbreaking because I thought I was having fun, but at some point it was like, okay, I don’t look good. You know, sometimes you need a reality check, so it was kind of those pictures something to be thankful for.”
For the interview, which was conducted at the end of January, Delevingne admitted that she was four months sober after a stint in rehab at the end of last year. “I had some kind of intervention, but I wasn’t ready. That’s the problem. If you’re not face first on the floor and ready to get back up, you don’t,” she said, adding that she reached that she needed help. “I hadn’t seen a therapist in three years. I just pushed everyone away, which made me realize how much I was in a bad place. I’ve always thought that work needs to be done , when times are bad, but actually the work has to be done when they’re good. The work has to be done consistently. It’s never going to be fixed or completely healed, but I’m okay with that, and that’s the difference.”
The cover story – with styling by Jorden Bickham and images by legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz – details Delevingne’s family life with attention to her mother, Pandora, who also suffered from substance abuse. “For a long time I didn’t really put myself in her place. I just needed someone to be mad at, and I was mad at her, but it wasn’t her fault. … The way addiction took my mom away from me was brutal, and it was brutal for her, too.”
She started drinking and partying as a teenager and reveals that her first experience of abusing alcohol came during a family wedding at the age of 7. “I woke up at my grandmother’s house in my bedroom with a hangover in a bridesmaid dress. I had been walking around nailing glasses of champagne.”
Her problems as a teenager included crippling insomnia; dyspraxia, a disorder that affects movement and coordination; a mental breakdown; and “accidental self-harm,” she noted. “As a teenager, it all just fell apart. That was also when I started drinking and partying. There was this need to escape and change my reality as I was hit with just big questions: What am I doing here? Who am I trying to be?”
Of her wild time at Burning Man, Delevingne said: “There’s an element of feeling invincible when I’m on drugs. I put myself in danger in those moments because I don’t care about my life.” Sometimes she was covered in bruises that she couldn’t explain. “I would climb anything and jump off things … It felt crazy. It’s a scary thing for the people around you who love you.”
Speaking of those who love Delevingne, the article quotes several of her close friends, including Margot Robbie and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who she said is close to her Only murder in the building co-star Selena Gomez. “We all have moments in our lives that we would rather not be photographed and shown to everyone. She has maintained her honesty and vulnerability and is open about her life and experiences – what more can you ask for from someone who lives her life in a fishbowl?” offered Waller-Bridge. “There is no one like her in the world. She has been a rock-solid friend to me.”
Says Robbie, who grew close with Delevingne on set Suicide Squad: “We shared most of our 20s together and were by each other’s sides as we entered our 30s. I was literally with her the day I turned 30 and vice versa. I think it will always be like that – 40s, 50s, 60s. God knows what we’ll do on our 70th birthday, but the thought of it already makes me laugh.”
Delevingne credits a 12-step program for her recovery and a healthy life filled with yoga, meditation, additional exercise, eating three meals a day and a therapy regimen that also includes psychodrama. She also says that “self-employment” is the most important thing in her life today, with her career “secondary”. Still, she’s busy on that front with a new season of Prime Video’s The carnival row and the Hulu docuseries Planet sex. Her other credits include Paper Towns, Pan, Tulip Fever, Valerian and the city of a thousand planets, her smell, the life of a year and London Fields.
“Before, I was always into the quick fix of healing, going to a week-long retreat or a trauma course, for example, and that helped for a moment, but it never really got to the nitty-gritty, the deeper stuff. . This time I realized that 12-step treatment was the best, and it was about not being ashamed of it. The community made a huge difference. The opposite of addiction is connection, and I really found that in 12-step,” said she. “Obviously this process has its ups and downs, but I’m starting to realize so much. People want my story to be this after-school special where I’m just like, ‘Oh look, I was an addict and now I’m I sobered up and that’s it.’ And it’s not as simple as that. It doesn’t happen overnight … Of course I want things to be immediate – I think this generation especially wants things to happen quickly – but I’ve had to dig deeper.”