If you were to ask a journalist how the best headlines are generated; you will probably be told that the best-sellers always relate to celebrities and drugs. It’s a topic that never dies, with the media desperately attempting to unwrap a weakness in a celebrity, or just uncover that they aren’t as naturally gifted as some of their performances in the past might have suggested.
Of course, in relation to the last sentence, this focusses around athletes. When an athlete has been caught using steroids, it goes without saying that the repercussions can be career-ending. In fact, in some cases as we’ll soon find out, the consequences can be life-changing and even result in a prison sentence.
For actors and other A-list celebrities, the main aim seems to be to get that ripped appearance in almightily fast times. It might be to continue their role in a leading film – or they might just be trying to stand out from the crowd and impress with their toned physique.
Regardless of the reasons, it’s an interesting topic and through the remainder of this page we’ll investigate it more. We’ll take a look at ten celebrities who have been affected by a steroids scandal – whether it was confirmed or not. In relation to the latter, while they may not have openly admitted drug abuse, plenty of headlines and reports have suggested otherwise.
Anabolic steroids VS legal steroids
Before we get into the meat of the article and discuss the celebrities, it’s worth making a few distinctions in relation to the types of steroids out there.
All of the celebrities in this guide have been hampered by stories related to anabolic steroid use, which are effectively synthetic hormones which aim to promote the growth of testosterone.
As testosterone can promote enhanced muscle growth, it means that they immediately provide that bulked up and muscly appearance.
The reason that they are frowned upon is simple; they can be dangerous. They have all sorts of nasty side effects including increased blood pressure, weight gain and even thinning of the bones. This is why legal steroids are surging in popularity.
These take advantage of natural ingredients to encourage our body to produce more testosterone. As they are comprised of natural ingredients the side effects are nil, yet they have been found to promote sustained improvement amongst those who try them.
He’s one of the most well-known bodybuilders in the world, but there was a period where Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t only rely on “natural methods”.
Back in 1977, Arnie openly admitted that he used steroids. The big difference between this and many of the other cases we are looking at is that back then, they were completely legal.
Arnie’s reasoning was simple; he viewed them as a massive help in making him maintain his enormous physique. In fact, he even referred to them as “tissue builders”.
Considering the fact that this was the height of his Mr. Olympia success, it’s safe to say that the steroids seemingly helped his progress. Additionally, this was the period where Schwarzenegger started to make a name for himself on the big screen. His physique most definitely helped in Hercules, while the fact he was the star of Pumping Iron in 1977 boosted his profile to huge levels.
The inclusion of this star might be somewhat controversial as strictly speaking, Dwayne Johnson didn’t dabble in steroids in the peak of his career.
However, he is still another celebrity who has openly admitted that he turned to them. He announced that when he was in his late teens, before he knew exactly what steroids were all about, he turned to them and tried them with his friends.
Therefore, while they may have given him an initial lift, it’s safe to say that they haven’t played a huge part in his career. He now educates young people about the dangers of the steroids and has publicly stated on numerous occasions that they don’t touch the benefits of pure graft.
Of course, some will still question just how Johnson gets so big without the use of steroids. Well, he is one celebrity who is completely open about his regime and works out no fewer than twice a morning starting at 4am to get his chiseled appearance.
One of the more high-profile cases of recent times focusses on baseball player Alex Rodriguez. The way that this was announced was quite extraordinary, with Jose Canseco publishing the details in his Vindicated book in 2007.
At the time, Rodriguez was quick to deny the allegations – using the 60 Minutes TV show to do so. However, two years later and all this changed, with Rodriguez admitting that he used banned drugs for a two-year period between 2001 and 2003. It’s understood that he was forced into the admission after a leak in the industry surrounding MLB players who had been tested for steroids.
Rodriguez claimed that he felt pressured into taking drugs due to the high levels of expectation placed on his shoulders. He said that he felt as though he had more energy from the substances, but never knew if this provided a truly competitive advantage for him. In the end, no retrospective action was taken against him.
Steroids are often associated with men, but the case of Marion Jones certainly dispels this. This is perhaps one of the most interesting cases as well, particularly as Jones received a prison sentence for her efforts following revelations about her substance abuse.
Let’s put all of this into perspective; Jones was one of the biggest athletes in the world and was a world champion in umpteen track and field events.
However, at a later date, many of these victories were to be voided. Jones eventually admitted that she had taken steroids before her Summer Olympics gold medal – resulting in a total of five medals being rescinded.
The biggest point of all was the jail sentence though. Jones is one of the few athletes who has been sent to prison for such abuse, after she admitted lying to investigators about taking performance-enhancing drugs. Such revelations came as a shock to the whole industry, particularly as Jones had become one of the first female millionaires to arise from the sport at her peak.
While a lot of the celebrities we look at are based in sport, it’s not the case with all of them. 50 Cent falls into this category although as of yet, the allegations have never been proven.
The rapper was at the center of a scandal involving doctors who had been accused of writing prescriptions for various celebrities. Many believe that his appearance immediately suggests that he is a steroid user but again, such claims have not been officially founded.
This is another celebrity who hasn’t openly admitted that he has used steroids – although many around him have claimed that he has. Both his ex-fiancée Janice Dickson and ex-wife Brigitte Nielson say that is the case, while there were all sorts of allegations flying around during the 80s and 90s as well. Nevertheless, he has always denied using them and even suggested that they make people look like “ape-like goons”.
Something that he can’t deny is that he was found with HGH in 2007 during a stint in Australia. However, most of the attention regarding Stallone and steroids focusses on several decades ago, when he was gaining his reputation with the famous Rocky franchise.
No article of this ilk would be complete without a mention of Lance Armstrong. This is unquestionably one of the biggest steroid stories to ever hit the news, with Armstrong’s constant denial of performance-enhancing drugs just fueling the headlines.
Despite suffering from cancer, Armstrong still managed to win the Tour de France on seven consecutive occasions – a feat that no athlete had ever managed before. Unsurprisingly, throughout this time he was harassed with allegations of substance abuse – yet test after test came back clean.
Eventually, all was revealed. Armstrong was involved in one of the biggest cover-ups in world sport and had been taking steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs since the 90s.
Armstrong’s behavior means that lawsuits are still pending to this day, with companies aiming to claw back the millions that were invested in him and his reputation over his career.
Charlie Sheen has hit the headlines for all sorts of reasons over the years, yet few will recall the stories related to steroids. Most of us know Sheen for his career on the small screen, but if you cast the clock back to 1989 he played pitcher Ricky Vaughn in Major Film.
In 2011 Sheen admitted that this was one of the occasions he turned to steroids, in a bid to improve his fastball in the film. He claimed that rather than throwing at 79 mph, the steroids allowed him to improve this stat to 85 mph.
In other words, rather than doing them for the aesthetic benefits that most actors turn to steroids for, Sheen claimed that he was looking to boost his performance in the film which is certainly one of the rarer reasons in this industry.
This is one of those cases where the newspapers didn’t need a big leak or any “anonymous sources” to spill the beans. The proof was seemingly in the photos when Dr. Dre was snapped at the MTV Video Music awards looking much bulkier than he had ever done in the past. In fact, he was more than bulky – some sources suggested that his head looked as though it had shrunk due to the immense size of the rest of his body.
Strictly speaking, there’s still no proof that he took anything though. In one interview, he claimed that the reason behind his new physique was his grueling gym routine – spending two and a half hours on the weights five times a week.
This is another celebrity in the music industry who has at least been accused of turning to steroids. In fact, the story was very similar to the one of that of Dr. Dre; while there was no anecdotal proof suggesting that Timbaland had resorted to steroids, the proof was seemingly in the photo.
Things took a turn for the even more suspicious when Timbaland started to become linked to the “celebrity doctor” who is allegedly prescribing performance-enhancing drugs illegally. He is amongst several other celebrities, including 50 Cent and Mary J.Blige, who were allegedly receiving shipments of steroids and HGH courtesy of prescriptions from Dr. Gary Brandwein.
With Timbaland’s main focus being his music, this is one of those examples where the sole aim seems to have been to improve body image rather than any of the performance benefits that others on our list have allegedly used steroids for.