Pat O'Brien Explains Why So Many Celebrities Aren't Truly Happy (VIDEO)

08/27/2014 09:26 am ET | Updated Aug 27, 2014
  • OWN

Before his public downfall in 2005, Pat O'Brien seemed like the type of celebrity who had it all together. He was a well-liked entertainment news anchor on "The Insider," he routinely rubbed elbows with stars like Angelina Jolie and Kevin Costner, and he took full advantage of the numerous perks his celebrity status provided. He also drank -- a lot.

In private, O'Brien frequently turned to alcohol to help fill a void that remained hidden from the outside world. Even on the last day he ever drank, O'Brien admits he went through 14 bottles of wine, an amount Oprah calls "inconceivable" during their sit-down for "Oprah: Where Are They Now?"

Still, O'Brien hadn't considered himself an alcoholic. No one else did either; to the public, he was at the top of his game with nothing to complain about. The reality, he says, was much more of an internal struggle.

"The thing about 'fame' is that we are people who love to be loved by strangers," O'Brien tells Oprah. "We can't get enough... You want more, more, more. The only number you have is 'more.'"

This insatiable thirst for adoration becomes a void in which many celebrities find themselves lost, battling against unhappiness. As O'Brien sees it, there are far more unhappy stars than happy. "I can name, out of all of them, 10 really happy ones," he says.

The truly happy celebrities have figured out something very important about not just their star status, but life in general.

"I wake up every morning now and I look in the mirror, and I say, 'I want to be the person that I want to be today. Not who they want me to be,'" he explains, gesturing toward the camera. "I work for that every day."

Oprah agrees, but wonders how a man like O'Brien lacked the self-awareness that often accompanies that longer life experience. Ego, he tells her.

"[I was] full of myself... A lot of people are like that," O'Brien says. "But, thank God I figured it out. I'm so grateful for all that."

"Oprah: Where Are They Now?" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on OWN.

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