‘Big Sky’ star Dedee Pfeiffer talks addiction recovery

Dedee Pfeiffer is back on the small screen.

Since 2020, the “Cybill” alum has starred in David E. Kelley’s hit ABC crime drama “Big Sky,” which she describes as a “rebirth” after a 10-year hiatus to battle addiction issues and raise two children as a single mother.

“If you are actively dealing with your illness, you are the identified problem. The moment you recover… the day you say I want to change, you become the identified opportunity,” Pfeiffer, 58, told Vidak For Congress in an exclusive new interview.

While away from Hollywood, the actress also went back to school and earned a master’s degree in social work from UCLA.

A selfie of Dedee Pfeiffer.
The “Big Sky” star took a 10-year hiatus from Hollywood.
Instagram/Dedee Pfeiffer

She says she put ten years of acting behind her and gave her a reality check as she got to work with the homeless and the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.

“To really immerse myself in the real world, in the guts of the real world, for 10 years and then come back, was really shocking,” she tells us.

Pfeiffer’s family played an important role in changing her life.

She says her loved ones approached her and “wanted to offer help”, to which she admitted “shockingly” that she was already looking for guidance, but did not know how to initiate it.

“At that point my answer was: [that] I was already looking for 800- [and] anonymously [helpline] numbers I wanted to call. I just didn’t know how to ask for help,” she recalls. “I was on my knees in shame, I was on my knees in shame, I was on my knees feeling like a failure because I couldn’t stop and I didn’t know how to stop. I kept trying, but I couldn’t, which just makes you feel like you’re yourself.’

Dedee Pfeiffer on a red carpet.
“If you are active in your disease, you are the identified problem,” she said.
Ron Galella Collection via Getty

Now, on the other side of her illness, Pfeiffer is urging others to understand that “help is there for you” — but only if they’re prepared for it.

“The support you’re going to get is so beautiful,” she says enthusiastically. “It saved my life.”

As for the advice she would give her younger self, the “For Your Love” alum says she always felt like she was “out of the box” and “couldn’t fit in.”

“I kept fighting for that seat at the table until I realized someone said, ‘If there’s no seat at the table, make your own damn table,'” she says. “But when I was young, I was so busy trying to be what everyone wanted me to be. I never felt comfortable in my own skin. And now I feel like I’m in a generation – at age 58 – [where] I can finally say, ‘This is who I am, and if you like it, great — if not, that’s okay, sit at another table,’ and I’m totally fine with that.”


Pfeiffer denied that her famous sister Michelle had anything to do with her addiction problems.

Instagram/Dedee Pfeiffer

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Pfeiffer denied that her famous sister Michelle had anything to do with her addiction problems.

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Pfeiffer also wants to set the record that having an ultra-famous sister, Michelle Pfeiffer, did not play a part in her personal struggle.

“For me, it was all about my insecurity and then this undiagnosed trauma and addiction,” she explains to Vidak For Congress. “I think people would like to say that being Michelle Pfeiffer’s sister has something to do with my problems, and – excuse me – I can tell you now, no, no and no.”

Dedee raves about the Oscar-nominated actress, adding, “She’s one of the most amazing, beautiful, smart, compassionate women I know, and I’m lucky enough to say she’s my sister. kidding? That’s a plus, not a minus.”

Dedee says she wanted to change her life to show people that it is possible to change and to set an example for those around her.

“I have decided that in this generation I will not die from my disease,” she says. “I’m going to show my boys and my family and my friends that you can change. You can change an entire generation by stopping now and making those decisions, you know?”

Dedee Pfeiffer in "Big sky."
Pfeiffer plays Denise Brisbane in ‘Big Sky’.
ABC via Getty Images

And Dedee has some big names in her corner, including her ‘Big Sky’ co-star Reba McEntire, who she says is “cut from the same cloth.”

“When I met her, I turned into a crazy weird fan,” she admits of the country singer. “The fact that she liked my character – [or] that she even knew who I was – was huge. It was like these two women got together, not knowing we knew about each other and how she loved my job, and I’m madly in love with her job – especially in the 90s.”

While Dedee can’t tease what viewers can expect from the show — or her character, Denise Brisbane — she’s excited about what’s in store for her.

“[We have] an incredible season with amazing and exciting guest stars who are so talented,” she exults.

“Big Sky” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

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