ABC has revealed that “20/20” co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas has returned to a rehabilitation center to be treated for alcohol dependency after falling off the wagon during a summertime trip. The 51-year-old ABC News alum checked into a treatment facility this weekend while on vacation, according to a report on Sunday from People.
In a statement regarding her second rehab stay, Vargas said, "As so many other recovering alcoholics know, overcoming the disease can be a long and incredibly difficult process. I feel I have let myself, my co-workers and most importantly my family down and for that I am ashamed and sorry."
The mom of two and wife to singer-songwriter Marc Cohn also stated that she is committed to "battling and addressing this debilitating disease,” while the network promised to stand behind the longtime news anchor and welcome her back once she has completed her treatment and feels ready to return.
It’s been nearly a year since Vargas first spent time in an alcohol treatment facility, and she came clean about her secret battle via a series of interviews earlier this year, including an appearance on “Good Morning America” in January.
The network news veteran, who started her career on NBC in 1993 before moving to ABC three years later, revealed that she has suffered panic attacks her whole life, and turned to drinking as a way to deal with anxiety and stress.
While Vargas thought she had done a good job of hiding her secret alcohol addiction from her colleagues, during an interview in February on “The View,” Barbara Walters turned to Vargas and said, “We all knew,” before telling the audience, “I am very fond of Elizabeth and proud of her. But we knew... It was public at that point.” Vargas, who looked completely stunned, exclaimed, “No it wasn't!” But Walters maintained her position: “We all knew,” she said.
Walters later told the New York Post’s Page Six that she apologized to her longtime friend for the cringe-worthy exchange. “I love Elizabeth and have great admiration for her,” she said. “I never would have deliberately said anything to hurt her, and I called to tell her that.”
Earlier this year, People revealed that Vargas plans to open up about her battle with alcoholism in a new memoir, which is due out in early 2016. Unfortunately, it looks like she will have to add another chapter.