"It was a relief to his wife and family that he checked in. It was John’s decision. Plain and simple, John had too much downtime. He had too much time in his own head," a source told Us Weekly. "John has always been engaged in his sobriety. The relapse got ugly, but it was his choice to go to rehab, which saved his life."
The news that Mulaney — who is married to Annamarie Tendler — was seeking treatment for cocaine and alcohol abuse broke on Monday, December 21, when it emerged that he was in a 60-day program in Pennsylvania.
Mulaney had been sober for 15 years before he relapsed, which was largely attributed to the coronavirus pandemic.
In hindsight, the relapse should not have been that much of a surprise. Only last month, Mulaney told Jimmy Kimmel that he struggled with keeping himself busy at home.
"I really needed a job," Mulaney explained. "One, I like having a boss, I like having assignments to do. When I’m in charge of something, it’s not so much the best thing. I wanted to have a boss and I wanted to have structure. Because my psychiatrist, who knows me well, said, 'Without external structure, I don’t have confidence in you thriving.'"
Fortunately, Mulaney's pal Seth Meyers hired him to work as a writer on Late Night With Seth Meyers. "Rather than saying to me, 'John, you're clearly going through something, but your jokes are terrible,' he's given me a couple segments to come on and do what I wrote, and those have been really, really fun," Mulaney gushed about his new stint.
The 38-year-old has a long history with alcohol and drugs as his substance abuse issues began in his teenage years. "I drank for attention," he said in 2019 in an interview with Esquire. "I was really outgoing, and then at 12, I wasn’t. I didn’t know how to act. And then I was drinking, and I was hilarious again."
After a bad bender in 2005, Mulaney began to question his lifestyle. "It was just crazy. A weekend that was … there were … I’m never going to tell you. That’s mine," he said. "I didn’t kill anyone or assault anyone. But yeah, I was like, 'You’re f–king out of control.' And I thought to myself, 'I don’t like this guy anymore. I’m not rooting for him.'"
Since he got sober — he quit cold turkey when he was 23 — Mulaney proved that comedians don’t need to rely on substances to be funny or thrive in the industry. Mulaney famously reassured Pete Davidson in 2019 that "you can have a life in comedy that is not insane."
Not only are Mulaney’s family and friends rooting for him, but fellow comedians also showed their support to the Big Mouth star. The Simpsons writer Tim Long wrote, "@mulaney is insanely talented, and was way nicer to me than he needed to be when he did @TheSimpsons. I hope he & everyone who's struggling these days get the help they need."
"Nothing but good cheer and support for @mulaney, who is the best at everything he does, including the slaying of personal demons. You are human and you got this," Dan Telfer said.
We hope Mulaney gets back on track soon!