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'Golden voice' Ted Williams admits drinking, heads to rehab

By Alan Duke, CNN
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Homeless guy agrees to rehab
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Dr. Phil convinces Williams to enter a rehab facility, his show says
  • Williams previously insisted he was sober for 2 years
  • The homeless man became an internet sensation recently for his voice

Los Angeles (CNN) -- Ted Williams, the homeless "golden voice" internet sensation, voluntarily checked into substance abuse rehab for his alcohol and drug dependency after admitting on a television show that he was still drinking, a spokeswoman for "The Dr. Phil Show" said Wednesday.

Williams, 53, has been on a whirlwind spiral of publicity since a Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch reporter videotaped him panhandling on a roadside. The video quickly went viral on the internet, and he was offered several announcing jobs, including a contract with Kraft Foods.

He said in several broadcast interviews in the past week he has been sober for the past two years after years of addiction, a problem that separated him from his family and left him homeless for years.

Protecting 'golden voice' from pitfalls of sudden success

The decision to seek professional help came after "a lengthy one-on-one conversation with Dr. Phil," show spokeswoman Stacey Luchs said in a written statement, referring to show host Phil McGraw.

Show officials did not disclose which facility Williams had entered for treatment.

Dr. Howard Samuels, the CEO of The Hills Treatment Center in Los Angeles, said he was not surprised to learn Williams was still drinking, given that the experienced "such an extreme from having nothing to having money and fame in such a short period of time."

Homeless guy reunites with mom

"The hardest thing for an alcoholic is to have success," Samuels said. "Because the alcoholic, on a very deep level, has a very difficult time with success."

Williams, who traveled to Los Angeles with his family, has taped three interviews with "The Dr. Phil Show," the program statement said.

"The decision was made due in part to Williams' strange behavior over the past several days, which culminated in a physical altercation with one of his daughters at a Hollywood hotel," the statement said. "He was briefly detained by police and later released."

Williams' third appearance with Dr. Phil, taped after his decision to enter rehab, will air Thursday, the statement said. His ex-wife, Patricia, and five family members will also appear on Thursday's episode "to share their version of the incident and why they feel Williams is ill-equipped to handle his sudden fame," it said.

"They reveal that he has been drinking daily, despite his adamant claims of sobriety," the show's statement said.

"If Ted is ever going to get better, he's got to be honest with himself and admit he's addicted to drugs and alcohol," show host McGraw -- Dr. Phil -- said in the statement. "I've told him it's not going to be easy and it's going to take a lot of hard work. It might be a long journey for him, but this is a big step in the right direction."

 
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