John Goodman reveals just how bad his drinking problem was during 'Roseanne'

In case you haven’t heard, the Roseanne reboot is a hit — a big hit. But would it have ever happened if John Goodman didn’t get sober?

The actor has been speaking candidly about his struggle with alcohol abuse during the show’s original run, something that even led to a confrontation with co-star Roseanne Barr. In a new interview, Goodman reveals it got so bad at one point that he would even drink at work.

“I got so lucky, because I was still getting hired for things, but the fact is, I was drinking at work,” Goodman says on Sunday Today With Willie Geist. “My speech would be slurred. I thought I was fooling people. My cheeks would turn bright red when I was liquored up. I just looked like a stop sign.”

In the interview airing April 1, Goodman reveals he hit his tipping point after a “long weekend playing golf with my friends” ahead of his first Emmy win. In 2007, Goodman (finally) took home an award for his guest appearance on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

“I had to go accept an Emmy award,” he says. “So I missed the rehearsal because I was drunk. And then by the time Sunday morning rolled around I was shaking; I was still drinking, but I was still shaking. I had the clarity of thought that I needed to be hospitalized. I called my wife, which was like turning myself into the Gestapo. And she made some phone calls; we got me into a treatment center, and I detoxed there and decided I liked the feeling. And it’s been 10 years.”

Goodman’s TV wife was also very aware of his drinking problem. During an interview with Howard Stern this week, Barr and Goodman revealed she called him out years ago. (Roseanne originally ran from 1988 to 1997.)

Roseanne Barr and John Goodman in the original <em>Roseanne</em>. (Photo: Getty Images)
Roseanne Barr and John Goodman in the original Roseanne. (Photo: Getty Images)

“She was scared for me, but she was more confrontational,” Goodman said. “She’d already had a husband go through the process.”

For four years, Barr was married to Tom Arnold, who entered a treatment facility for substance abuse.

“It’s hard to watch,” Barr told Stern. “Me and John, we have a friendship off the show too. John has held my head when I was barfing in a bar. I drank too much too. I still do. I didn’t give up like John.”

The last four years were “pretty bad on set,” Goodman said. “I was drinking at work and [Barr] was scared for me. I was ashamed of myself, but I couldn’t stop,” he said.

Being sober also gives the actor a newfound appreciation for the new Roseanne.

“It’s so much fun, and I am very grateful to be there,” he added. “Toward the end of the show, the first run, I wasn’t very grateful … I didn’t realize what I had.”

We’d say about 18 million people are grateful for Goodman’s recovery too.

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