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A year after intimately detailing her experience with multiple sclerosis in a documentary, actor Selma Blair has written a book on survival.
Blair’s upcoming memoir “Mean Baby,” the first book released by the actor, examines the often darker moments of her life. From being violated by an educator during her childhood to seeking refuge in the bottom of alcohol bottles by age 7 and experiencing physical pain that she now believes could have been early signs of MS, she reflects back on it all.
“My first (time) drunk (was) when I was 7. I had my first drinks much younger,” Blair revealed to Savannah Guthrie in a sit-down interview that aired on TODAY Wednesday. She noted she drank heavily throughout elementary school, middle school, high school and college.
“It was hard. I don’t know. But maybe it was easier. Maybe I never would have survived without a drink.”
In her book, Blair also details the chronic pains and sensations that she experienced throughout her life, beginning in her childhood.
“I had so many things that were so indicative of MS,” Blair remarked of the physical pain she’d been experiencing at the time. “Doctors thought I had leukemia. I didn’t, but it was a constant high fever. … The ailments as a kid connected. I do know for sure I had it by the age of 23. It was definitely there for so long.”
Despite her physical condition and dependency on alcohol, Blair managed to persevere. By the time she was 26, she was already gaining recognition as an actor in the 1998 film “Brown’s Requiem” and soon thereafter became a household name for her roles in “Cruel Intentions” and “Legally Blonde.”
But all the while, she still struggled with painful inner demons.
In her memoir, the actor wrote of how “the desire to drink as much as I could, as often as I could, stayed with me and did not let go for more than 20 years.”
Blair told Savannah that her draw to alcohol was rooted in a desire to forget various traumatic incidents. In her memoir, Blair touches on being repeatedly victimized, having been raped several times in her life. “These were the things I drank to forget. I didn’t drink for attention: I drank to disappear,” she writes.
Blair went on to share with Savannah that, in a way, the process of writing “Mean Baby helped kick her gears into” the fact that she was a victim.
“You bury it. You really do,” she said. “It’s a big deal to have these things happen and hold that shame in your cells.”
Blair’s book also recounts how, in her darkest moments, she felt compelled to take her own life twice. With the support of loved ones, however, she renewed her confidence in herself and has since been able to take her life back.
The actor says she hasn’t had a drink since 2016 after an incident when she passed out on a plane, during which her son, who was 4 years old at the time, was present. She was then carried from the aircraft on a stretcher after landing.
“The thing that made me really stop drinking was that I could have died on that plane,” she told Savannah. “I mean, now that I was a mother, it just changed everything.”
Blair has undergone chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant to treat her MS symptoms. Now, she’s back to horseback riding, an activity she’s long enjoyed.
“The pain is still there,” Blair added of her physical condition. “I’m in remission (but) I built no new lesions. I still have, you know, some brain damage and things that are there, but I’m okay with it. I’m grateful because I’m doing so much better.”