What Happened To '90s Star Yasmine Bleeth?

In the '90s, iconic "Baywatch" bombshell Yasmine Bleeth won over countless hearts and eyeballs before seemingly vanishing from public view for a very long time. After years of cocaine use, CoventryLive says the popular actress was blacklisted in showbiz, and she has done very little work in the industry ever since.

In her younger years, she was named in People's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" and FHM's U.S. "100 Sexiest Women" list. She was also famous for dating Matthew Perry — whose character on "Friends," Chandler Bing, notoriously had a crush on her. But although Bleeth captivated legions of fans, she engaged in heavy substance use behind the scenes, which led to a number of dramatic and painful events, from losing her job to getting into a car accident. Since then, Bleeth seems to have done well, although she has largely stayed out of the public eye.

She was fired from Baywatch

During the height of her fame on "Baywatch," Yasmine Bleeth started using large amounts of cocaine, and it inevitably destroyed her career. In February 2003, she wrote a tell-all article for Glamour magazine in which she confessed that her addiction was so bad that nosebleeds and bouts of frequent sniffling made her cocaine use very obvious (via The Sydney Morning Herald). Although initially she only took drugs socially, she soon started ordering cocaine to her house and became increasingly reclusive. The inside of Bleeth's nose became damaged by her cocaine use, giving her an infection so bad that her doctor warned her she could have died (per Newsner).

"Baywatch" co-creator Douglas Schwartz told Esquire magazine that they ultimately chose to fire Bleeth. "We had one issue with Yasmine Bleeth, who was doing drugs at the time, and so we were dealing with Yasmine not showing up and having difficulties, again with men," he said. "That's why we let Yasmine go off the show: Because it was too difficult to deal with her after a while."

Bleeth's recovery and reappearance

In 2000, Yasmine Bleeth's condition got so bad that she fell ill and collapsed at a photoshoot for Glamour (via Newsner). She started attending rehab after that, but it took a traumatic accident for the actress to finally go straight. In 2001, she crashed her car while high and wound up in police custody. According to the Newstimes, she pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine and driving while impaired. She was given a fine, 100 hours of community service, and two years probation.

In the car with Bleeth was a man she had met in rehab — her future husband, Paul Cerrito. The accident drove her to stay clean, and in 2002, the pair married in Santa Barbara. For the most part, she gave up on showbusiness after her accident, although she appeared in "Baywatch: The Hawaiian Wedding" in 2003. After many years, Bleeth made a surprise reappearance for a role in the screwball mob comedy "Whack the Don" in 2021. In the years leading up to this role, she'd effectively "quit" Hollywood, as The Sun said in 2020. At the time of that article's writing, Bleeth was rarely seen in public — but was spotted walking her dog in Los Angeles.  

In her own words

Yasmine Bleeth's own words vividly reveal how much her addiction affected her. As The Sydney Morning Herald quotes the February 2003 issue of Glamour, she said that she would sit at home and call her drug dealer "like ordering Chinese food" delivered to her house. By 1999, two years after she got fired from Baywatch, she'd lost so much weight from drug use that she dropped from a size 8 to a size 0 and "looked like an alien." 

The turning point, Bleeth said, came when she stopped using cocaine socially and started using it alone. "Once I started doing drugs alone," The New York Post quotes her, "I stopped seeing friends, then stopped answering the phone altogether. I just listened to my messages once a day to make sure there were no emergencies. Eventually I stopped doing even that." After finishing her rehab, Bleeth said (via The Sydney Morning Herald), "Consciously trying to stay off drugs is now part of my life and always will be."

For the most part, Bleeth has kept far out of the limelight in the two decades since that Glamour article was written. And yet there are candid snapshots of her everyday life here and there on sites like The Sun, The New York Post, and the Daily Mail, and they reveal that she just might have stuck to her commitment.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).