Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s 19-year-old daughter is a recovering alcohol and drug abuser who has battled clinical depression for her "entire adolescence," she and her parents disclosed Tuesday morning.
Chiara de Blasio reflected on her struggles in a five-minute video posted Tuesday under her name on YouTube. The mayor-elect and his wife, Chirlane McCray, said in an emailed statement sent through his transition office that Chiara wanted to help "young people everywhere who face similar challenges."
Explaining her bad decisions as "bartering for equally bad outcomes," Chiara said: "I’d be like, ‘Oh I won’t drink, and then I would just like smoke weed, and then I would be like, ‘Oh, I’m not going to smoke weed, and then I’d just drink." The video appeared to be professionally produced. Her comments are interspersed with piano music and graphics with statistics about substance abuse.
"It didn’t start out as, like, a huge thing for me, but then it became a really huge thing for me," she said.
Chiara, a student at a college in California, said she has attended an "outpatient treatment center" in New York City and sees a therapist. Her outpatient treatment has been completed, a video graphic said.
"I’ve had depression, like clinical depression, for my entire adolescence, so that’s been something that I’ve always dealt with," she said, adding: "My mom was trying really hard to help me, just like any little thing she could, and my dad was doing the same, but obviously he was really busy."
Although Bill de Blasio has made his family a centerpiece of his political campaigns, he has been somewhat circumspect about Chiara. There had been rumors for months, until Tuesday unconfirmed, that Chiara had faced a substance abuse problem.
In the video, Chiara said: "Getting sober is always a positive thing, and it’s not easy — by no means is it easy: It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done."
Her parents’ statement said: "Her courage to speak out demonstrates a wisdom and maturity far beyond her 19 years, and we are grateful every day for her commitment to lifting up those who need to know that they are not alone."