Whoopi Goldberg reflects on how cocaine use affected her personal life and career

In her memoir, "Bits and Pieces: My Mother, My Brother, and Me," Goldberg revealed that after she had "cleaned up" from recreational drug usage in the early 1970s, she relapsed in the '80s.

Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi Goldberg, seen on "The View" on March 29, 2023, writes about her past cocaine use and other things in "Bits and Pieces: My Mother, My Brother, and Me," a memoir released this week. (Photo: Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images)

Whoopi Goldberg is reflecting on her former cocaine addiction — and how coming face-to-face with a housekeeper forced her to get clean.

In her memoir, “Bits and Pieces: My Mother, My Brother, and Me,” released on May 7, “The View” co-host Goldberg revealed that after she had “cleaned up” from recreational drug usage in the early 1970s, she relapsed in the ’80s while spending time in New York and Los Angeles.

“I was invited to parties where I was greeted at the door with a bowl of quaaludes from which I could pick what I wanted,” Goldberg wrote, per People magazine. “Lines of cocaine were laid across tables and bathroom counters for the taking.”

The actress and comedian said she thought she “could handle the cocaine thing,” but after a year, she “fell into the deep well of cocaine” and “sank to a new low.”

“Cocaine started to kick my ass,” Goldberg wrote, Entertainment Weekly reported. “I’d go to work and realize I was getting sloppy. I didn’t like it. I knew it wasn’t good. At one point, I hallucinated something was under my bed and I’d be attacked if I got up. So I didn’t move out of bed for 24 hours. That kind of s— doesn’t end pretty. There’s only so long a person can hold their bladder.”

The EGOT winner’s wake-up call came while she was celebrating her birthday at an upscale hotel in Manhattan. She recalled that after she had taken an ounce of cocaine someone had given her, a housekeeper found her in a closet.

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Goldberg said the incident startled the housekeeper, who stared at her. After looking in a mirror, she realized she had cocaine all over her face.

“I was letting something else run my life and take me over,” Goldberg recalled. “I didn’t need my mom to be disappointed or pissed at me — I was pissed enough at myself.” 

After the hotel incident, the “Sister Act” star decided to “fix” her life and get clean for her mother, Emma Harris, and her daughter, Alex — and she eventually succeeded.

“I didn’t want my kid to think her mom was an addict,” Goldberg said, EW reported. “I didn’t want my mom to think her daughter was an addict. So, I got myself as straight as an arrow — an arrow that gained twenty pounds in the next year. I thought, ‘Okay, this is the exchange. This is what it’s going to look like. If you want to stay alive, you gotta be okay with this.'”

Goldberg’s memoir is a tribute to her family and primarily focuses on her relationships with her mother, who died in 2010, and her brother, Clyde K. Johnson, who passed away in 2015. During an interview with CNN’s Chris Wallace to promote the memoir, Goldberg shared another revelation: Despite having been married three times, she’s never been in love and does not believe she’s meant for that kind of relationship.

“When you’re married to somebody, you have to be invested in how they’re feeling. I am not,” Goldberg said. “I’m invested in my kid, I’m invested in her kids, I’m invested in my son-in-law, I’m invested in my friends. But I am not invested in a relationship that would require as much as having a child requires.”