After months of suspicion, Steven Tyler has finally admitted he’s got a drug problem — specifically, an addiction to painkillers — and now he’s seeking treatment for his addiction.
“With the help of my family and team of medical professionals, I am taking responsibility for the management of my pain and am eager to be back on the stage and in the recording studio with my bandmates Joe Perry, Joey Kramer, Tom Hamilton and Brad Whitford,” Tyler, 61, said in a statement (via The Boston Herald).
Tyler’s heading to rehab with the support of his family. “He is a courageous man,” said Liv Tyler, his eldest daughter, in a statement released on behalf of his family. “We love him and are so proud that he is getting help to balance his pain management, not just for himself but for his family, friends, and fans.”
The singer’s painkiller dependency stems from his attempts to quell “severe chronic pain” in his lower extremities linked to several injuries suffered over the past decade that will need surgery to repair, his doctor told the Herald. And even a custom-made pair of shoes hasn’t been able to curb Tyler’s levels of pain.
Doubts regarding Tyler’s sobriety began to surface in August, when the singer fell from a concert stage in South Dakota, forcing Aerosmith to cancel all remaining 2009 tour dates. Soon after, Tyler made public statements about his desire to branch out on his own, and guitarist Joe Perry tweeted that his band was actively seeking a new frontman.
At one point, rumors even circulated that Lenny Kravitz was being courted to take Tyler’s place, especially with the band’s 40th anniversary on the horizon for 2010 — rumors that Kravitz emphatically denied.
This back-and-forth came to a head when Tyler showed up unannounced at Joe Perry’s gig in NYC, jumped onstage to perform “Walk This Way,” and declared to the crowd that he wasn’t leaving the band.
At that time, guitarist Brad Whitford publicly hypothesized that Tyler was indeed battling substance abuse. “This guy has a tremendous history of drug abuse, and you have to be suspicious that this is something that is probably going on with him,” he said. “I think that that’s got to be a part of this irrational behavior.” But Tyler was still denying any drug use.
Today’s announcement included not only an admission, but a declaration of purpose for the troubled frontman.”I love performing as the lead singer in Aerosmith,” Tyler said. “I am grateful for all of the support and love I am receiving and am committed to getting things taken care of.”