Former Houston Prima ballerina Lauren Anderson opens up about dark secret

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- It's been more than a decade since former prima ballerina Lauren Anderson hung up her pointe shoes, and now she's opening up about a dark secret she kept while she was the darling of the dance world.

"I'm an alcoholic," Anderson said.

For years, her legion of fans didn't know that. But it was an incident in 2009 that changed things.

"I got sober July 5, 2009," Anderson said.

That's the day she was pulled over for speeding and discovered she had warrants out for her.

"I went down to city jail and I'm thinking, 'Okay, well I'll get bonded out real quick' well they went in my purse, they searched everything and I'd had some paraphernalia from the night before and city became county. And I was sitting on that cement and I was like, 'How did I get here?'" Anderson told ABC13 Eyewitness News.

But a judge changed everything for her.

"Judge Regan, I'll never forget. She looked at my name, she went, 'Lauren Anderson, that's my favorite ballerina.' And my head was hung low and I looked up at her and she went, 'I don't want to see you back in my courtroom ever again.'" Anderson said. "Well, she goes, 'That's not it. Actually, in 366 days, you're going to do community service, you're going to do this, you're going to go to meetings, you got to be in a 12-step program. You're going to do all this. You do one step out of line, you're going to be a felon.' That was enough for me."

It's been more than nine years since that arrest and she's stayed sober.

Anderson goes to AA meetings every day, no matter where she is. She also teaches young dancers and inner-city students who may have never seen a ballet.

"I get to do all these things I had no idea I could possibly do. So, you know, the gift is that I get to be me," said Anderson.

She was one of Houston Ballet's best-known and most popular principal dancers who now has a program called "You are not alone" to help others like her.
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