Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew is back for a fifth season, and we’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to talk about the show with Dr. Drew and some of the other staff at the Pasadena Recovery Center to get an inside look at the rehabilitation process. This week, we spoke with Jenn Gimenez and Dr. John Sharp about Friends and Family Day at the center.
In this episode, it’s family day at the center and it seems very overly focused on Amy and Michael in particular. I’m just curious if you thought this show was going to latch on to them and their issues and run with them as much as it has?
Dr. Sharp: The clinical work that was done in connection with the family visits was very earnestly focused on what we could do with who was available. For example, Bai Ling‘s mother only became available after the original filming, so she wasn’t able to be there at family day…We were just as concerned with Bai’s needs to reconnect with her mother as we were with needing to talk through whether Amy Fisher’s husband was going to be supportive with the changes she was going to make in her life. It just turned out because of who was available, who showed up and how people behaved that the production of the episode featured these dramatic moments, but I don’t think that the treatment emphasized those people more than anyone else’s legitimate need to get attention to their family issues.
What was your ultimate take on the relationship with Amy and her husband?
They’re very close and he is very supportive of her well being, and Dr. Drew and I wanted to asses that and get a feel for what their relationship is like. Her husband obviously is a very imposing man and we worried from a distance that he may have strong feelings about what she should and shouldn’t do and that may not have aligned with what we would see in her best interest. It turns out he was very supportive of her. We really got the sense that he wanted her to do whatever she needed to do to get healthy, specifically when she was talking about giving up making adult movies. He was not at all resistant to that, he actually said that he was relieved. That’s a good example of how important it is to bring a significant other in, in regards to a personal change that is going to affect their family.
Later in that day when Lou, Amy’s husband, makes threats toward Jeremy Jackson because of comments that Jeremy’s sister made to Amy, how detrimental can that level of over-protectiveness be?
He is definitely a force to be reckoned with and was very intimidating in that moment, and I try to put things in perspective. I thought, here’s a tough guy, he may have a tender heart but he is reacting the way a tough guy would when he has strong feelings. I didn’t take him to be a killer, I just thought this is the kind of thing a tough guy would do. I couldn’t imagine personally being able to say to someone saying “I’m gonna kill you,” but I can imagine a guy who had a different background, a different line of work, it was probably very natural to him, so basically it just gave us even more reason to want to assess his capacity to understand her best interest and and his ability to work in a helpful way with her needs.
Amy is so self-conscious about what people think of her, but then she has no problem talking about how pretty she is. Which I think is funny to hear her say “I’m so pretty,” when it seems like she doesn’t have that level of self-assuredness or confidence in any other aspect of her life.
That is striking isn’t it?
I think it’s because most people that I come across in real life won’t say “It’s because I’m so beautiful.”
Well, that’s an example of kind of automatic mechanism of taking something you’re uncomfortable with and turning it into its opposite which technically Freud called reaction formation. So someone who is shy or anxious proclaiming “I’m so beautiful,” is turning it into its opposite, and when I heard that from her I don’t think that she is being boastful or vain, the best way I can ultimately make sense is that this is an inside out expression of her own insecurities.
The other big story line is Kate Major coming to visit Michael and one of the stipulations of her visit is to get treatment. How did you guys help her?
When Kate arrived on the scene, she was not clean and sober, and as soon as it was clear she couldn’t help him and all she could do was make trouble — he’s such a generous person who is perhaps overly involved in the lives of people he cared about and it was kind of distracting and problematic for him. Look at his “phone addiction,” it wasn’t a real addiction, but if it wasn’t Kate Major, it would have been somebody else, he would have been on the phone with Lindsay or Dina or coming up with a better solution to some other problem in his life.
But she was a special problem and she showed up and she was high and she wanted to get back involved with his life and he definitely heard us say she, in fact, needs treatment. We made several recommendations for her and tried to facilitate her going at first to some kind of outpatient treatment and then to some sort of inpatient treatment.
That’s a good example of how a good treatment would proceed. For the team, whether it was Shelly or Bob or Jennifer or Drew or I, to each be able to have a take based on our interaction and compare notes, you know it was abundantly clear to everybody, Dr. Drew saw it almost instantly, that she needs treatment and he needs to understand that, and that’s kind of the intervention, she’s got to go and he’s got to realize that.
(Interestingly, despite the show’s efforts to help Kate, she has been angrily Tweeting about how she was depicted. In the past few days, Kate has written “Nice editing @drdrew @JenniferGimenez make ME look like the crazy one. Here come the lawyers!” and “@drdrew I am FORCED to defend myself and my character against the media when they attack me. Lawfully and publically. The best is yet2 come” among many other Tweets.)
When we got on the phone with Jenn Gimenez, we spoke about some of the other big moments from this week.
Let’s talk about the drama this week between Jeremy and his sister and Amy Fisher’s husband. It’s crazy to me that someone would even bring up the “face shooter” topic to Amy Fisher as a joke.
Yeah, I think the words she chose were inappropriate, but I think you have a lot of different personalities in one place at one time and when the outside family comes in, the dynamic of that is…most of the family are untreated Al-Anon or co-dependency and you’re talking about a lot of personalities here. Was it correct, what she said? I would have chosen different words. We didn’t know that was going to happen but I think after, she tried to calm it down, but what it created was a huge storm. I thought it was unfair to Jeremy.
But he also fueled it when he kept saying “Get comfortable with your truth,” instead of letting it lie.
Yeah, Jeremy was trying to protect his family and Lou was too, it just escalated so badly. But Lou took it to a whole other level threatening to kill somebody over and over again.
You were with Jessica this week when she had to make the decision to pull out of the USO tour, could you relate to the struggle of giving up a job in order to get treatment?
I was sitting next to her and after it happened I told her I was very proud of her. She was adamant about going on this tour and she didn’t have very much of a foundation and was afraid she was going to drink and go back to those old ways. What she needed to realize was that after treatment is when your life really begins and you need a lot of coping tools, and Jessica was just at the beginning phase of recovery. It was very slippery for her and you’ve got to make choices. After I got sober, I chose to go back to L.A. and I didn’t know how to do that, so when I went back to L.A. I nearly died. So I know the depth and weight of that. Especially in light of the loss of Amy Winehouse, you’re expecting someone to get better but then go off and work and make money but there’s no foundation beneath them. Jessica’s choice ended up being a great choice, and it was a very hard decision, but the right one.