Three years ago, I plopped down at a charity dinner to hear a former Fox News anchor talk about her battle(s) with addiction. At the time, I didn’t know much about Laurie Dhue, but I was completely aware of how much I missed alcohol after only being sober for several months.
Only a few minutes into her warts-and-all speech, my mouth hit the table. Mid-way through her presentation, my mouth had gone through the floor and into the garage below. This seemingly got-it-all-together former anchorwoman poured out story after story of angst and despair with her addiction(s)—and subsequently her ability to still go on TV in front of millions of people every night. It was gut wrenching. The story that stuck with me? When Dhue talked about being literally curled up under her desk in a stupor and having to be on the air in less than ten minutes. She pulled it off. Most functioning alcoholics do.
Dhue got clean and sober and has been preaching the virtues of sobriety for the last eight years. She speaks to the masses, but, more importantly, she speaks to her peers about the importance of long-term recovery. And she doesn’t miss a beat. “This coming March, I will have 12 years without a drink or a drug, which is truly a miracle,” says Dhue. “It is such a privilege to be one of 23 million women and men in recovery. We are everywhere!”
Somewhere along the way, Dhue and I bonded. She foolishly gave me her digits and we started kibitzing about things in which we are well versed—carbo-loading, boys, shopping and life after TV news. I’m pretty sure we were separated at birth. We also can hash out what life is like in recovery. Without even knowing it, Dhue taught me the importance of being candid and not mincing words. No wonder she’s become the quintessential advocate—because sometimes you gotta tell it like it is. “I want to shine a light on this disease that affects just about every American family. I believe my primary purpose in life is to fight the stigma, shame and blame associated with substance use disorder,” says Dhue. “Too many people are dying, and stigma is a big reason why. I want to show people that there are many faces of addiction, and just as many faces of recovery.”
Even more foolishly, Dhue was kind enough to show me around NYC when I tumbled in for a work trip several months later. I demanded to know the one place in the city she deemed worthy of writing about for my travel blog. It took her approximately .02 seconds before she picked Lady M Cakes.
Wait? Lady who-what? “It sounds like a classy sex shop, but it’s really an exquisite cake place on the Upper East Side,” says Dhue. “The Mille Crêpe cakes literally melt in your mouth. Heaven in a bite. And I’m not really a cake person.”
We both ate a piece. And then ate another. And we may or may not have shared a third slice. (Judge not, lest ye partake of Lady M’s confections!) Like any burgeoning friendship, ours was solidified over a pastry crème/whipped crème combo. I found her fascinatingly snarky. She found me cleverly sarcastic. It was a definite mutual admiration society. “Both of us are brilliant, gorgeous and modest. And you make me snort when I laugh,” says Dhue. “And we are both obsessed with Lady M’s thousand-layer cakes. Plus, you have the best photo filter on your phone I’ve ever experienced. And you’ve made your darling dad a celebrity. We all love him!”
When Dhue moved to Atlanta, I found an excuse to visit her down there. This time we caught up over good ol’ fashioned Southern cooking. (Sense a trend here?) By then, Dhue was successfully maneuvering her way around the speaker circuit—talking to groups firsthand about battling addiction and staying in recovery. “Response has been phenomenal! Everywhere I go, people thank me for being public and like to talk about their friends and family members who are either struggling or who are in recovery,” says Dhue. “I am particularly touched by those who tell me about their loved ones who simply couldn’t get sober and didn’t make it. I believe every overdose death is preventable.”
Dhue made headlines earlier this year when it was announced she was working on a tell-all memoir about her recovery and lengthy career as a national TV news anchor on CNN and MSNBC as well as her stint at the infamous Fox News. “The headline? News and Booze and Laurie Dhue. It’s part cautionary tale, part inspirational journey. 100% unflinching honesty,” says Dhue. “I’ve been thinking about this for nearly ten years but was waiting for the right moment; this feels like a good time to tell my story.” The book has a June 2019 release date and promises to have quite a few bombshells from the blond bombshell herself. “Look out, not-so-gentle readers: you’ll have a perfect read for next summer,” says Dhue. (Brace yourself—she says she probably has enough material for two books.)
When we last dished, Dhue was taking a sabbatical out to the Rocky Mountains to decompress and put the finishing touches on her book. Dime to a dollar, she’s probably reading this in front of a cozy fire. And she’s likely fantasizing about some decadent dessert. (Oh wait, that’s me—never mind.) My final question to Dhue made me chuckle. She came up with the perfect anecdote—because, of course, she did.
“What’s your motto?” I ask.
“Just Dhue it!” she laughs. “Only kidding—that’s dreadfully hokey. When you live in constant gratitude, you live a happier and healthier life. There’s just so much to be thankful for,” says Dhue. “I also think it’s important to laugh at yourself. Lord knows I do. I give myself plenty of material, that’s for sure.”
Same here, sister—same here! We really are the blonde leading the blonde.