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Ben Roethlisberger Admits He Was Addicted to Alcohol & Porn
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

It’s safe to say Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has gone through trials and tribulations throughout his football career. He’s a two-time Super Bowl champion and six-time Pro Bowl player but has suffered numerous injuries, including an elbow injury that required surgery.

Off the field, he suffered a nasty motorcycle accident during which he wasn’t wearing a helmet in 2006. Then of course there were the infamous two incidents in which he was accused of sexual assault in 2009 and 2010. He was even suspended for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

Big Ben now appears to be a happy family man when he’s not on the football field or dealing with Antonio Brown. He met his wife, Ashley Harlan, through a Steelers fan and married her in 2011. They have three children together.

But as the 38-year-old attempts a comeback from injury, he admitted he’s struggled with addiction in the past.

Ben Roethlisberger Reveals Porn, Alcohol Addiction Struggles

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

RELATED: Big Ben Met His Wife Through a Fan, Then Had 3 ‘Killer B’ Children

Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger attended a virtual conference on Father’s Day called ManUp Pittsburgh. Hosted by Urban Impact, Roethlisberger was joined by Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and former Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle to emphasize how Christian men can become “godly leaders.”

During the event, Big Ben revealed he was addicted to porn and alcohol at one point in his life.

“It’s not always easy,” Roethlisberger told former Steelers player Tunch Ilkin about his past addictions, per ESPN. “People don’t realize all the time that us athletes, we’re human. We sin like everybody else. I am no different. We make mistakes. We get addicted to things. We sin. We’re human. I think sometimes we get put on this pedestal where we can’t make mistakes. I’ve fallen as short as anybody. I’ve been addicted to alcohol. I’ve been addicted to pornography, which makes me then not the best husband, not the best father, not the best Christian I can be.

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“But you have to dedicate yourself and understand that you can get out of it because of the grace of God and him saying, ‘Listen, you’re good enough for me the way you are. You don’t have to be perfect.'”

Roethlisberger is obviously far from perfect. He allegedly engaged in sexual misconduct in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, in 2009 and Milledgeville, Georgia in 2010 — The NFL quarterback was never charged for either incident. Still, it has prompted chatter over his career. He was even ridiculed by Comedy Central’s “South Park” as a “sex addict.”

Big Ben said during the 90-minute session that he began to lose his way from his faith while in college at Miami (Ohio). He was baptized for the second time in 2017.

“Now more than ever, it’s cool to be a Christian, especially professional athletes,” Roethlisberger said, per ESPN. “One of the things I want to tell guys and tell people out there, I can be a really good athlete and a Christian. It’s not one or the other. I can do both. I want it to be known to all of the young men out there, it’s cool to be Christian and be an athlete. Go ahead and be the best athlete you can be and see if you can be a better Christian. And that’s what I’m trying to do now. I’m trying to be a better Christian than I am athlete and football player. I push myself every day to do that, and it starts here. It’s not always easy.”

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“I just felt that I needed to do that,” he said of being baptized again. “I wanted to have a closer walk, a better relationship with Jesus, my wife, my kids, my family — become a better person.”

What Is Porn Addiction?

According to Medical News Today, porn addiction “refers to a person becoming emotionally dependent on pornography to the point that it interferes with their daily life, relationships, and ability to function.”

Considering porn is, and always has been, a highly controversial subject, some don’t consider it to be a real condition. Some do, however.

Take into account that studies have found connections between adult film addictions and alcohol addictions and Roethlisberger’s struggles seem completely legitimate.

Other Athletes Who Had Porn Addictions

Big Ben isn’t the only professional athlete that had trouble staying off naughty browsers.

One of the more well-known cases was NBA player Lamar Odom, who admitted he needed to cut back on porn after confessing to being a sex addict. He even once said he’s had sex with more than 2,000 women.

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New Zealand Olympic athlete Nick Willis also admitted his struggles with porn. Actor Terry Crews, who briefly played in the NFL, too told his story of how porn messed up his life.

It’s an issue that some (well, at least one) teams have addressed publicly. The MLB’s Kansas City Royals held an anti-porn seminar during 2018 Spring Training, which was unprecedented.

Of course, alcohol addiction is more commonly talked about. One notable case in football is former New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath, who turned his life around after an embarrassing live TV interview with ESPN’s Suzy Kolber.

Roethlisberger’s Incident With a Porn Star

Roethlisberger’s past also includes a weird, alleged incident with a porn star back in 2006, the year after he won a Super Bowl.

Adult film actress Stormy Daniels revealed a story of Ben Roethlisberger escorting her to her hotel room after she allegedly had sex with Donald Trump in ’06. As Daniels detailed in her book, “Full Disclosure,” he “terrified” her. Per USA Today:

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, wrote that Roethlisberger requested a “good night kiss,” CNN reported. She denied the overture and said he pushed her hotel room door lightly.

“I was terrified. I am rarely terrified,” Daniels wrote, adding that Roethlisberger responded, by saying, “‘Come on.'”

After she closed the door, Daniels wrote that Roethlisberger “stood outside, not leaving” and knocked several times before, eventually, leaving.

Whew, that is not a good visual. Hopefully, Roethlisberger is a better man than he was in the past. His focus this offseason is on coming back after last year’s elbow injury.

As far him stepping forward to talk during the coronavirus pandemic about his past addictions, that takes some guts.

MORE: Jimmy Garoppolo Dated a Porn Star, But Still Hasn’t Found Love

Patrick has spent parts of the last four years covering University of Florida athletics and spent two seasons with Major League Baseball. He's a baseball junkie who spends his days defending Derek Jeter and the Miami Marlins. A recent Gator grad, Patrick currently resides in Gainesville, Florida.
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