By now, Sober House viewers are well-acquainted with Jennifer Gimenez as the house mother to the six Celebrity Rehab vets populating Sober House. Just like Dr. Drew, each week Jennifer will grace this blog with her own episode-specific commentary on what went down both in front of and behind the camera. We’ll have a longer interview with Jennifer about her days in the modeling industry and her path to addiction, but for now, we wanted to present her thoughts on last night’s controversial episode. Specifically, we picked her brain about calling the police on Steven…
I don’t envy your job as the authority figure here.
What I was dealing with was not the six people individually, it’s the disease itself. It’s a powerful thing that I’m powerless over. If someone’s on drugs or alcohol, I can’t win. That’s why in the 12-step community, [when someone won’t stop using] we just go, “All right, come back when you’re ready.” I’m not gonna ever fight with alcohol and drugs. We didn’t expect to find Steven Adler high on drugs from the get-go. And almost immediately, he became aggressive with me.
You refer to it as “abuse.”
The verbal abuse that I got from Steven was serious. But there was also a physical element involved that I talk about in Episode 3. I didn’t want to play victim to what was going on, and it’s not like Steven came and punched me. When it comes to the verbal stuff, you realize people are just sick, but I don’t think anyone deserves to be put in the way of physical violence.
He was really hostile.
Completely. I don’t know if I triggered something that reminded him of his mom, or what. When I met Steven, he was lovely, but it quickly became, “You fat whore, bitch, c***,” blahblahblah. I didn’t pay much mind to it, though I was like, “Did you just call me fat? You can call me a lot of things but don’t call me fat!” (Laughs)
At the party, the electricity goes out and boom, it’s almost like Steven’s free pass to use.
It was unbelievable. I’m taking care of everything else that’s going on, getting guests out of there for the sake of my safety and that of others, since that’s my job. Steven was so out of it that he was screaming that I was “eyeballing” him and I wasn’t even in the room. Bob Forrest told me to just stay away from him. He was like, “The guy’s high,” but I don’t think he ever wasn’t high that day. Steven got really aggressive with both me and the crew, but when we found the heroin, we were like, “That’s it.” Will found even more heroin, and so the idea was to call the cops to escort Steven to Las Encinas. We were scared he was going to go out in the streets and die and he could not stay in the house any longer. Enough is enough.
Despite doing what you have to, do you ever worry about being vilified, either as a character on TV or just amongst the people you’re looking after?
Petrified. It was one of my biggest concerns before starting this show. I was like, “I don’t want to be like Omarosa! I’m not a mean person!” I’m also literally not a mother, and I’m the third youngest out of the whole cast. So it was like, “How am I going to tell these people what to do? Addicts manipulate, lie, cheat and steal with the best of them.” I just knew I had to be tough. And that became immediately apparent when I was telling everyone the rules of the household as they arrived and they were attempting to push the limits. The same questions came up over and over. I just had to play funny to it at that point, because I’m literally talking to children. They say where you started drinking or abusing is where you stopped growing. So I’m talking to an 11-year-old Steven Adler. Regarding the TV-villain aspect, I did the worst thing ever: I read the message boards the day after the first episode, and they were full of: “She’s not qualified!” “Who does she think she is?” People need to realize that any decision I made about Steven in particular, I did not make on my own. I consulted with people: Dr. Drew, the producers, my sponsor, Will and my boyfriend who has a lot of sobriety time. I can’t do this alone and with their knowledge, I made my choices. Hopefully now, people see that the reason I made Steven leave was that if he stayed, the whole house would have tumbled in 24 hours. The rules would have been thrown in the trash and the whole house would have been using. Steven was abusive, he brought drugs in, he was dying and he could have killed everyone else there. That said, calling the cops was one of or the hardest decision I had to make. Looking at Steven then made me think of the number of times my mother or my little brother or any loved ones who wanted me to get help and considered calling the cops. I felt that other side. Maybe for the first time, I really understood the pain I put my family through.