Ever wonder what happened to Baywatch star Yasmine Bleeth? Well, it’s the old Hollywood tale of loss and addiction. Hollywood is a place filled with glamour and fame, but if you’re not careful, you can find yourself slipping down a deadly rabbit hole. This is precisely what happened to this young star on the rise.
Yasmine joined Baywatch as Caroline Holden, a bold and gutsy lifeguard. Her character was so popular that she remained on the show for four whole seasons. But ultimately, she was fired. Here’s the story of her troubling addiction, and how she came out of it happier than before.
Landing the Role of Caroline Holden
Back in the ’90s, one of the most successful shows was Baywatch, which, frankly, everyone watched because of the cast, not the storyline. At 26 years old, Yasmine Bleeth joined the group as Caroline Holden, a strong and brave (and obviously hot) lifeguard.
At first, Yasmine’s character wasn’t much of a lifeguard. Her skills were quite lacking, yet with the help of her sister’s guidance, she turned into an excellent lifesaver. Being on the show opened a lot of doors for the newcomer, and people had their hopes up. Yet things didn’t go as planned…
Fired From Her Most Iconic Role
During her run on the show, Bleeth was hounded by the paparazzi. Everyone went crazy for the brunette bombshell. But things went awry after Bleeth started messing around with illegal substances. It began as a social thing but progressed into something graver.
“I never expected to get into drugs,” Bleeth later told the press. She told People magazine that it started out as a way to loosen up around people, but she quickly became dependent on it, to the point of having to come up with excuses and lie to her publicist about her bloody noses.
They Drove Her Nuts
When news about her suspected drug use surfaced, pictures of her began filling the tabloid columns. In conversation with Cosmopolitan magazine, Bleeth’s former co-star Gena Lee Nolin (who played Neely Capshaw) revealed:
“[The press’s unfair treatment] was absolutely nonstop,” explained. “I remember Yasmine Bleeth, she was at the payphone where we filmed — this was before cell phones — and she scratched her nose and the Enquirer had three pictures of her, like front cover, ‘Yasmine Bleeth — there’s drugs’ or whatever. And at the time, when I knew her, there was none of that going on.”
When Did It Start?
Some rumors suggest that Yasmine’s drug use didn’t start until she appeared on the crime drama Nash Bridges. However, according to producer Douglas Schwartz, she suffered from substance problems during her Baywatch days as well.
“We had one issue with Yasmine Bleeth, who was doing drugs at the time,” the director told Esquire, saying that issues she was having in her relationships were likely the trigger. “That’s why we let Yasmine go off the show: because it was too difficult to deal with her after a while.”
Yasmine Says She Wasn’t Actually Fired
The way Yasmine Bleeth tells her story, she wasn’t actually fired from the show. According to her, after four seasons, she decided to take up another offer around the time when her contract with Baywatch ran out.
Bleeth then moved to the Bay Area to play an inspector named Caitlin Cross on the show Nash Bridges. That’s when she claims that her drug habit exploded, which is quite a different account than Douglas Schwartz gave. We wonder who’s telling the truth…
Dating Long Distance Was Tough
During that period in her life, Yasmine was dating Richard Grieco (the two were together from 1996 to 2000). They tried to make it long distance but couldn’t manage to do so. Time apart exposed some severe cracks in their love story.
For that reason, Bleeth explained, she turned to drugs. “I just wanted to feel good again,” the former Baywatch star told Glamour in 2003: “And I knew an easy way to get that feeling.” One thing led to another, and Bleeth found herself heavily hooked on illegal substances.
She Was in Denial
When Bleeth first started snorting, she considered herself just a “casual user.” However, things gradually grew worse. She suddenly found herself taking it at home alone (never a good sign). Then, she started getting bags of the drug delivered to her front door as if she were ordering take-out.
Her addiction spiraled out of control, and it started to take a serious toll on her mental health and appearance. “By the end of 1999, I’d stopped looking like myself,” she once stated. “I’m a fleshy girl, very curvy and round, but I’d lost my softness. People said I looked like an alien, that my eyes were bulging out of my face. I wasn’t anorexic-looking, but instead of being a size 6 with a 29-inch waist, I was 110 pounds and a size 0.”
Her Team Overlooked Her Addiction
In a raw and candid interview with Glamour, Bleeth dived into her past. She stated that she had never taken any drugs on set, but that she couldn’t deny that her troublesome habits harmed the career she was trying to build. The effects of the drug trickled onto the set.
“Because I was doing them until 6 a.m., I’d still be high during the day,” Bleeth recalled. “Sometimes I’d be so exhausted that I’d fall asleep in my trailer, and someone would have to come to get me.” Sadly, none of the people on her team took it seriously.
They Ignored the Red Flags
According to Yasmine Bleeth, her colleagues saw the red flags, but they just downright ignored them. “I got a bloody nose on the set a couple of times, but the makeup artist would just hand me a tissue without saying a word and I’d clean it up,” she reported.
Yasmine’s constant sniffling on set was noticeable, but her team just brushed it off as allergies or something. They told themselves that she was having some sinus problems, no biggie. The stories we tell ourselves at times… ridiculous.
She Broke Her Dad’s Heart
Bleeth felt that it was time to pull herself together after she was confronted by her dad, who found a bag of drugs in her purse when he stopped by for a visit at one of her photoshoots. Angry that he had snooped around, she avoided him for months after the encounter.
Then, after her contract with Nash Bridges ended, she returned to Los Angeles. Her dad waited for her at the airport. “He took one look at me and started to cry,” she told Glamour. “Seeing the expression on my dad’s face and knowing his heart was being ripped out of his body… that was the first time I was confronted by how I was affecting other people.”
She Could Have Died
Bleeth’s dad urged her to let him help, and, luckily, she agreed. He took her straight to a doctor who said that she was playing with fire. “I had an infection that had completely eaten out the inside of my nose, leaving it raw and bloody,” she revealed.
The doctor put a small camera in her nose and showed her a hole, the size of a dime, in her septum. between the bridge of her nose and the tip. He informed Yasmine that had she ignored the infection, it might have progressed to her brain and resulted in death.
She Collapsed During a Photoshoot
What the doctor said frightened Bleeth, but she started taking drugs again six weeks later. Within a month after returning to her old habits, Yasmine was back to her daily usage. By the time she began working on the soap opera Titans, in the summer of 2000, her habit had taken over.
At this point, she was so deep into it that she would stay awake night after night (four nights straight!). Her habits were ruining her career. In September 2000, she collapsed during a photoshoot.
She Felt Wobbly and Weak
“I was so excited [to do the photoshoot],” Yasmine told Glamour. “Yet at four ‘o’clock in the morning on the day of the shoot, I was doing cocaine. At five, I was doing damage control, leaning over the bathtub, steaming my face to fix it.”
She somehow managed to keep it together during the hair and makeup process. She was all smiles when she was handed the gorgeous dress she was going to be snapped wearing, but, then, her knees turned to mush, and her brain grew fuzzy.
They Postponed the Shoot… Indefinitely
As photographer Walter Chin fixed his camera, Yasmin felt wobbly and weak. She closed her eyes while he was changing film and then… a gust of wind threw her off balance. “Walter turned a huge fan toward me and the breeze literally knocked me over,” she reported.
The next thing she knew, she was sitting in the makeup chair, surrounded by dozens of concerned faces. Yasmine reassured them that she just needed to rest for half an hour, and she would be fine, but the crew decided to wrap up.
The “Cocaine Robin Hood” visited Yasmine Bleeth
After her fainting episode, a good friend dropped by and collected her from the shoot. She drove Yasmine home and put her to bed but made sure to take a few of her personal belongings while she was at it. “When I woke up, my car keys were gone and my wallet was missing,” Yasmine told Glamour.
“When I looked in the drawer where I usually kept my stash, I found only a note that said, ‘I’m the cocaine Robin Hood, I took your cocaine and gave it to someone who really needed it — the toilet.'” To this day, Yasmine still has that note.
Her Friends Were Deeply Concerned
Yasmine’s friend also grabbed her address book, so that she wouldn’t be able to buy drugs. “She didn’t know that I had my dealer’s number memorized,” Yasmine later stated. A month after the incident, Bleeth was cornered into another intervention.
This time, two of her close friends showed up at her house. Their words deeply affected her. “They just said, ‘We really miss you, we’re there for you and this is really hurting us’.” According to Yasmine, this was the tipping point. She now took the idea of rehab seriously.
Rehab Wasn’t Very Hard
To get back into shape, Yasmine Bleeth was given a few weeks off of shooting Titans. Thankfully, she had enough time to go participate in a month-long rehab program. She admitted that she was still using on the day she entered rehab.
Luckily, she found quitting easier than she had expected. “Rehab was easy,” Yasmine revealed. “There were only about twelve of us there, and I had a single room. We were on a tight schedule: up at seven o’clock every morning, doing chores like cleaning the kitchen or bathroom, then attending individual and group counseling sessions.”
She Found Love
Yasmine didn’t enter rehab expecting to find her significant other, but by the time she left the clinic in Malibu, she was head over heels in love. In rehab, she came across Paul Cerrito, and, according to the former Baywatch star, it was love at first sight.
“What can I say? We fell in love immediately,” Bleeth said. “Nothing used to make me feel as good as cocaine until I fell in love. Now the feeling I have when I’m with Paul is better than how I felt on cocaine.” A while later, in 2002, they said “I do” in a private, low-key wedding.
Yasmine Bleeth Crashed a Car
Yasmine Bleeth and Paul were planning on flying from Detroit to Los Angeles on the day of the 9\11 terrorist attacks. With all the airports shut down, they convinced each other to do something terrible – they bought drugs and checked into a hotel room.
“The next evening, I was still high when, around 9:30, the two of us got into our rental car,” she confessed years later. The result? She lost control of the car and crashed into the median. Before long, she was surrounded by an ambulance and a number of cop cars.
She Thought They Wouldn’t Recognize Her
“It hadn’t even crossed my mind that they might know who I was,” Yasmine shrugged. But then, she heard her name over the radio. “It’s Yasmine Bleeth,” they said. What followed is a moment Yasmine will never forget.
The cops found syringes in her purse. She admitted that she was high but acted completely stunned when she was arrested. “I remember saying, ‘But I didn’t hurt anybody, you’re arresting me?’ Then it occurred to me – oh, that’s right, drugs are illegal. That’s the scary thing, I’d really forgotten that what I was doing was illegal.”
She Hasn’t Acted for a Long Time
Yasmine starred in several movies in the late ’90s. She tried her best to turn her TV success into a career on the silver screen. Sadly, her acting didn’t impress people much. There’s one role in particular that they absolutely despised.
Yasmine’s role as Trey Parker’s partner in the 1998 comedy Basketball was heavily criticized. The movie itself had received mixed reviews across the board, but Yasmine’s character, Jenna Reed, really ticked everyone off, to the point where she was nominated for worst actress at the Golden Raspberry Awards.
Her Career Stalled
Yasmine Bleeth’s career stalled when the drama Titans failed to become a regular series in 2001. Following the disappointment, Bleeth vanished. She became a ghost, a has-been. And even when she was finally hired to work on something, like the time she was cast for a scary movie called Beautiful Evil, it never saw the light of day.
Yasmine’s last credit on IMDb is Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding, filmed in 2003. No one knows whether Bleeth left Hollywood to recover, or if she simply couldn’t manage to find any worthy roles. Hollywood is a tough place, no doubt about it.
An Unfortunate Ending to a Star on the Rise
In her heyday, Yasmine Bleeth was everywhere. While the influential star didn’t win an Oscar or anything, she still made it on FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women in the World list. She graced their list between the years 1996 and 2001.
Yasmine was what every man wanted and who every woman wanted to be. Sadly, her career was completely derailed by the drugs, and as she grew older, it became more difficult to bounce back from her washed-up reputation.
She Finally Came Out of Hiding
After years away from the cameras, the paparazzi started catching glimpses of Yasmine in 2015. At the start of the year, she attended the 55th annual Penguin Plunge ceremony in Venice Beach. This was the first time she had her photo taken by the paparazzi since attending Carmen Electra’s engagement party in 2003.
Since then, Yasmine has been seen on a few other occasions: at times with Paul Cerrito (the two were photographed out and about near their home) and other times with her four-legged buddy (photos of her and her dog were snapped in 2020).
Recovery Is a Life-Long Battle
As any person who has struggled with drug addiction knows, recovery truly is a lifelong battle. One will always have temptations when they’re working in a place like Hollywood, but one has to develop other hobbies and interests in order to overcome their urges.
For Yasmine, her journey to recovery reminded her of “enjoying the simple things.” In her interview with Glamour, she told the magazine that she was finding joy in “being social… When I was taking drugs, I lost my love for all that.”
It’s a Daily Choice
Yasmine says she is happy to have found some stability in her life but told Glamour that staying sober is still a struggle. Over the years, she’s found things like going to bars and parties difficult, because they instantly throw her back into her drug-fueled days.
She talks herself into walking away from it. “I mentally walk myself through the entire scenario,” she told Glamour, “the end result of which is me alone in my apartment, not speaking to my friends, not speaking to my family. And probably without my husband… Every day I have to make the choice again.” According to Yasmine, she chooses love.
She and Her Husband Live a Quiet Life
As of today, Yasmine and Paul live a happy, quiet life in Southern California. The actress rarely makes public appearances, but in 2020, after she was spotted walking her dog around town, she received a ton of backlash for her looks.
She seemed happy and smiled for the camera, but the public focused on her weight, and that fact she had put on some pounds. This gave way to (what a surprise) a surge of mocking and disrespectful comments. People weren’t very nice, but Yasmine couldn’t care less.
For our next article, we are looking into the life of Zoë Isabella Kravitz.