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Drinking Seder wine aged seven set me on the road to addiction, confesses Hollywood actress Selma Blair – The Jewish Chronicle

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Legally Blonde star’s searingly honest new book also reveals her affinity with Anne Frank
BY Keren David
Selma Blair (Photo:Getty Images)
Hollywood star Selma Blair has revealed that her road to addiction began when she first got drunk aged seven on Manischewitz wine at the family’s seder.
She recalled: “A light flooded through me filling me up with the warmth of God. I felt at one with my ancestors.”
Writing in her searingly honest new book, Mean Baby: A Memoir Of Growing Up, the American star and recovering alcoholic describes her grim realisation that the glow she felt came not from God but the refilled glass.
A young Selma with her mother, Molly (Photo: Instagram)
She said: “It wasn’t spiritual; it was scientific. That was heartbreaking to me, because it was like finding out that Santa Claus wasn’t real. It was also very convenient that I made this discovery at the table, where there was a glass of wine in front of me.”
That night she got so drunk that she woke the next morning with no memory at all of having been put into bed.
The incident is part of an exclusive extract from the book in today’s JC Life section, which describes the star’s relationship with Judaism, and her difficult relationship with her mother.
In the book, described by the Daily Telegraph as a “jaw-flooring memoir”, Blair writes about her childhood and how she was nicknamed the “mean baby” by her unloving mother.
She outlines her upbringing as the daughter of a Jewish father and a mother who “never called herself Jewish” but who nonetheless sent her children to a Jewish school.
Selma Blair alongside Matthew Davis in Legally Blonde (Photo: Getty Images)
“I knew, given the usual metric of Judaism passing down through the matrilineal line, I wasn’t really a Jew. But at school, no one could know this. We needed to keep it a secret,” she writes. She officially converted to Judaism when she was in second grade.
She also reveals her affinity with the teenage diarist Anne Frank.
“I truly deeply identified with Anne Frank,” she says, especially as Frank was a secular Jew who “wrestled with her belief in God like me”. In 2010 she was asked to voice an audio version of Anne’s diary, and was “overcome” as she started the recording. She came to realise that her identification with her stemmed from a feeling of being trapped and silenced by her alcoholism, “of feeling as if you were no longer in control of your own destiny”.
Unlike Anne, she adds, she had the luxury of years to “try to get it right”.
Spanning her career in Hollywood – including roles in Legally Blonde, Cruel Intentions and Hellboy – her book also covers her battle with alcoholism, and the trauma of being raped.
She writes too about giving up drink and being diagnosed with the neurological disorder multiple sclerosis.
You can read the full extract here

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©2022 The Jewish Chronicle


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