News Article

Wagon Train

Alcohol rehab: Joaquin's in; Billy Joel's out. Phoenix checked himself in to dry out two weeks ago, while the Piano Man has completed a 30-day stint at Betty Ford

Joaquin Phoenix has been vexed, terribly vexed, by alcoholism. According to his publicist, the 30-year-old star of The Village checked himself into an undisclosed clinic two weeks ago in order to quit drinking. ''He was uncomfortable with the way that he was living his life and found the courage to deal with the disease,'' rep Susan Patricola said in a statement.

Phoenix has some strong second-hand familiarity with the perils of addiction. He was with big brother River on the night in 1993 that the Stand By Me star died of a drug overdose. And he recently finished filming the role of Johnny Cash in the biopic Walk the Line, which reportedly focuses on how June Carter (Reese Witherspoon) helped the Man in Black overcome his abuse of alcohol and speed.

Meanwhile, Billy Joel has finished a 30-day treatment for alcohol abuse at the Betty Ford Center, his publicist tells the Associated Press. Rep Claire Mercuri said that the 55-year-old rocker checked out of the California clinic on Sunday and returned to the Long Island, N.Y. home he shares with 23-year-old Kate Lee, who became the Piano Man's third wife last year. It's the longest time he's spent in rehab; in 2002, he spent two weeks trying to kick booze at Connecticut's Silver Hill Hospital. ''He looks really fit,'' a friend who saw Joel on Sunday told the New York Daily News. ''He's dedicated to a healthy and sober lifestyle.''

Originally posted Apr 13, 2005
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