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Mike Sorrentino, one of the stars of MTV’s Jersey Shore: Family Vacation, always wanted to be famous. He achieved that in his early 20s, growing up in the spotlight’s glare as Jersey Shore took off like a rocket ship for MTV. However, Mike learned hard lessons as his life turned from superstardom to the depths of addiction. Yet, for all he has endured, the reality show star wouldn’t change a thing.

In an exclusive interview with Showbiz Cheat Sheet about his memoir Reality Check, Mike believes his past mistakes made him “the amazing Superman I am today.” His responses to our questions have been left in a conversational form.

Mike Sorrentino reveals how his reality show experiences shaped him

“Once I was exposed to excess and money, eventually, after bad decisions, substance abuse, and inexperience in handling all that pressure, there was an unbelievably tremendous rise again. While it is a difficult story, my life has a beautiful comeback.

“I’m very grateful for where I’m now and grateful to be alive. So many experiences and things I have spoken of in my book Reality Check could have quickly taken my life.

“But when my kids smile, I feel like I’m living the American dream. You know, all that hard work, sacrifice, all that. It’s all worth it. Maybe if I hadn’t made some of those mistakes as a younger man, I wouldn’t be the amazing Superman I am today to my family, friends, and coworkers. If you’ve watched any of those movies about time travel, if you go back and change something, the future changes.”

Mike Sorrentino always had the support of his wife, Lauren Sorrentino

“Even early on, when we were dating in college, I didn’t want Lauren to be the one that got away. When Lauren started to go after her dreams of working in fashion, I didn’t want to be left behind. I was like, ‘Well, it’s time for me to go after my dreams too.'”

“I wanted to be in entertainment. That’s when the opportunity for Jersey Shore came along. We broke up during that time, and I didn’t want to let her down when we reconnected. I wanted to take care of her and start a family with her.

“Lauren inspired me throughout my life to make better decisions and become the best version of myself. I owe it all to her. Now we have this beautiful family. I’m eight years sober, and we have two kids and one on the way.”

In a decade, Mike’s life went from the heights of stardom to ‘staring the devil in the face’

“Addiction, the prison system, career loss, miscarriages, and obstacles with childbirth, I overcame them all. When I was down and out in 2015, I was so disappointed with myself because I had finally achieved my dreams. I was world famous and had millions of dollars, the dream cars. The adoration that most people only dream up, I had it, and I let it slip out of my fingers.

“I remember sitting for the fourth time in rehab. I was homeless and dependent on drugs. The government was coming after me for millions. I was losing my girlfriend. This was my last chance, and before that, I did something that I never thought I would do. I tried a drug that I never thought I was going to try; I stared the devil in the face and tried Heroin.

“I never thought that I was going to go down that road. You know, I was a multimillionaire. I was a household name. I told myself I didn’t have to go that route. My drug of choice was prescription opiates.

“But you also have to understand how quickly and how much I had fallen. You know, I was down on my luck. I was depressed and anxious through the roof. I was homeless. The government was coming after me for millions. My lawyers would leave. I couldn’t get any lower than where I was. And there was a moment of weakness and vulnerability like that. “

His credits his wife Lauren and mother Linda for saving his life

Mike Sorrentino and Lauren Sorrentino photographed in August 2023.
Mike Sorrentino and Lauren Sorrentino photographed in August 2023 | Santiago Felipe/Getty Images for MTV

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“I just wanted to get out of the way, but my wife and mother saved me. And they were angels that were to communicate with me. My eyes and ears opened just a little enough to get that message. I couldn’t believe I had fallen so far. And I gave up right then and there. The next day, I went to rehab.

“Today, I’m the face of recovery. The face of the comeback is greater than the setback. Everyone loves my story, but they don’t know the full story until they read the book, and if they read it, they will be floored. Sometimes you have to lose everything to will to appreciate what you have.”

Jersey Shore: Family Vacation airs on Thursdays at 8 p.m. EST on MTV. Reality Check hits stores on December 19, 2023.

How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.