Two years have passed since comedian Artie Lange was released from jail after violating probation for cocaine and heroin possession.
For more than a year, Howard Stern’s former sidekick has remained mainly off the grid, which left many fans fearing the worst and wondering: Where did he go?
The Post can now reveal that Lange, 53, is doing well as he continues in an intensive New Jersey drug court program — and he hasn’t forgotten about his loyal supporters.
His lawyer, Michael Robbins of West Orange, New Jersey, told The Post that Lange has been sober for the past 2½ years and continues to live at his home in Hoboken.
“He is working on completing his drug court program and resuming his career,” Robbins said. “Artie is grateful for the continued support of his friends and, of course, his fans.”
Former sidekick of the self-proclaimed King of All Media for nearly a decade, Lange is now focusing on his sobriety and is currently living with his mom, Judy Lange, in his two-bedroom, two-bathroom riverfront condo which he purchased back in 2001 for $615,000, a separate source revealed.
“His mom suffers from severe cataracts. She’s legally blind, so she had to move in with Artie,” the source told The Post.
“Also, she can cook for him and make sure he eats properly. [You know], Italian mothers,” the insider quipped.
Fans have been wondering where the former “Crashing” star went after taking a social media hiatus since mid-November 2020, following a nearly eight-month break prior to that.
But the insider explained that staying sober for Lange has been a full-time job.
“People have to understand … He was doing $1,800 worth of cocaine and heroin a day for several years — that’s got to do something to you mentally once you stop doing it,” the source told The Post.
Typical cases for individuals in a New Jersey drug court program last over three years, from the time they enter to the time they successfully complete the program. At any point an individual breaks probation or the rules of the program, which includes testing positive for substances, it can resort in jail time and being kicked out of drug court altogether.
In March 2020, a little over a year after leaving prison, Lange assured fans he was determined to stay on the right track this time, despite years and years of struggles with addiction.
“I’m not sick and [I’m] not using (I’d be in jail if I was). Just have crazy anxiety and [I’m] fighting it hard. In the past I would have just done drugs and gone to work (or canceled last minute) but I won’t do that now. Instead I cleared my schedule. I’ll be back soon though. Peace,” he wrote in a March 13, 2020 tweet.
Lange spent nearly two months in prison starting in May 2019 before heading into an intensive, seven-month drug court program in Hudson County, which he admitted was what saved his life.
“This time, they kept me away for longer than I ever was,” Lange revealed in a November 2019 interview with Joe Rogan. “I was doing, like, a two-week bid. A week bid in jail,” Lange said. “This time I was in jail for two months, then I kicked, then I went to a long-term rehab. And I got locked away from it.”
Lange credited his mom for helping him stay sober.
“I started to think clearer and think about the consequences, and think about my mom,” Lange admitted. “The fact that my mother is this great Italian woman who, you know, I thought just needed money from me … My old man on his deathbed said, ‘Take care of your mother.’ As an Italian guy from New Jersey, you think that means money, it doesn’t mean anything else. So I kept giving her money, not knowing she was worried about me dying all the time. So I thought about her pain and I said, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ ”
His legal woes stemmed from an initial 2017 arrest for cocaine and heroin possession, although he has struggled with drug addiction for years.
In May 2019, Stern gave a rare interview with the New York Times Magazine in which he admitted he loves his one-time sidekick but reached a point where he had to let him go.
“What’s happening with Artie makes me very sad. We’ve lost touch, and that’s my doing,” Stern said. “I got my fingers crossed for the guy. And it wasn’t a clean break.
“It was many years of wanting Artie to get help. I know that a lot of fans want me to talk about Artie and feel it’s a cop-out for me not to. I’ll take that. I don’t want to do anything that would rock his boat,” Stern continued. “I get sad talking about Artie. He was a tremendous contributor. But we had to move on.”
In Lange’s most recent interview with radio and podcast host Nick Di Paolo in November 2020, Lange revealed some of the things he has done to stay sober.
“I took it down a couple of notches,” Lange shared. “I came back and I’ve stayed clean and sober, that’s like a full-time job. I go to meetings on Zoom. In the summertime, they had some AA meetings outdoors that I attended. Gotta work the program.
“I just thought I had to retreat a little bit from the work I was doing to make that happen,” Lange continued. “And stay out of jail. Stay out of rehab. But I’ve been clean now for almost two years. It’s a different life.”