What You Didn't Know About Dr. Drew

Born on September 4, 1958 in Pasadena, California to Morton Pinsky, a doctor, and Helene Stanton, a Las Vegas singer, Dr. Drew Pinsky eventually went into the same line of work as his father (via The New York Times). However, it wasn't until 1983 that Dr. Drew started to become a household name on his nationally syndicated radio show, "Loveline" (via IMDB).

Dr. Drew has been in the limelight ever since, especially once "Loveline" got picked up by MTV to air on television. Dr. Drew and his cohost, Adam Corolla, talked all things sex, relationships, and life with viewers who'd call in to ask their personal questions. Since shooting to stardom status from the show, Dr. Drew has found himself in a range of controversies, yet millions of fans continue to have his back.

Interestingly, the public figure has managed to keep his private life pretty, well, private, so even his fans may not know some of the good and bad things that have happened in his life. Here's everything you don't know about Dr. Drew Pinsky.

Yes, he is an actual physician

Despite naysayers who claim that Dr. Drew doesn't have the credentials to be helping people with things like addiction and teen pregnancy on the many shows he's hosted, Pinsky actually holds several accolades to his name. And, yes, he is a real physician who can treat real patients.

According to his official website, Pinsky continues to treat patients as a doctor of medicine. Pinsky graduated from and completed his residency at the University of Southern California's School of Medicine. He's also a Diplomat of the American Board of Addiction Medicine and the American Board of Internal Medicine and a fellow with the American College of Physicians (FACP). Pinsky also served as the chief resident at Pasadena's Huntington Hospital.

In the decades since graduating college, Pinsky has used his expertise to practice medicine and inform others through books and TV shows. Pinsky also co-authored an academic study on celebrities and narcissism in 2006, which was published in the Journal of Research in Personality.

The radio show that made him a celebrity

While you may be more familiar with Dr. Drew Pinsky from MTV's "Loveline," the series first began as a radio show and ended up lasting about 30 years until its end in 2016. Pinsky hosted the syndicated radio show primarily, but other hosts and guest hosts cycled through. In 1996, the first episode of "Loveline" aired on MTV, bringing in a whole different wave of viewership, making Dr. Drew somewhat of a household name.

Still, the radio version remained on the air five nights a week with Pinsky as host until he announced his departure in 2016. In order to keep the show running, he had to stop taking a paycheck. "It's been strictly pro bono for a year and virtually pro bono for two years," Pinsky told IndieWire in 2016. "I took a profit share, whatever was left over. And there was nothing." Pinsky admitted that he kept doing the show anyway because he was committed to and enjoyed it, but he ultimately decided to end the show after his co-host Mike Catherwood stepped away.

He's made a lot of changes to stay relevant in media

Dr. Drew Pinsky has ventured into all kinds of media since beginning with "Loveline" in the early '80s. A career that started in radio soon found a spot in television, websites, social media, and podcasts. The media climate has changed a lot throughout Pinsky's career. Yet, he's managed to remain relevant throughout all the massive shifts — something few celebrities can do, especially those who've built a career on medicine.

Dan Schawbel of Forbes interviewed Dr. Drew in 2017 to discuss how he'd managed to maintain such a solid career despite so many rapid changes to the media landscape. Pinsky admitted that media was never the primary focus of his career. He never intended to become a celebrity so the fact that it happened was simply a bonus, and he's been able to navigate the wave of changes to get where he is now. Pinsky also explained that he "learned to trust people that create media." He continued, saying, "[That] really has not been my thing, it is more [that] I have been partnering with people who create media and just trying to find ways to shape it to do something good or to participate in it such a way that it does something good."

He's had a tumultuous time as the host of the Teen Mom reunions

Add MTV's "Teen Mom" to the list of many series Dr. Drew has hosted or appeared on. Pinsky has hosted the reunion specials for years, bringing together the teen mom stars and their children after each season to discuss everything that's been happening in their lives.

While many fans of the show consider him a staple of the franchise, others condemn him for things he's said to the moms. Some Reddit and Twitter users have called him "condescending" and noted that he seems to have a double standard when it comes to how the dads versus moms raise their children (via PopCulture). One Twitter user complained that Pinsky called a father, who is portrayed on the show to be less-than-present in his daughter's life, a committed dad while chastising devoted moms.

Dr. Drew has said he's had a rough time with some of the moms on the show, specifically calling out Farrah Abraham. Pinsky admitted on "Juicy Scoop with Heather McDonald" that "at times Farrah was horrible to me, awful. She would come out and do some of the wildest stuff because she was angry" (via The U.S. Sun). Still, he avidly defended others, like Amber Portwood, which seemed to irk some viewers. "These people who want me to somehow attack a brittle mental health patient [like Amber], as though that's going to straighten her out?" Pinsky said. "Gimme a break!"

Dr. Drew was criticized for Celebrity Rehab

"Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew," a show on VH1 that aired from 2008 to 2011, helped celebrities beat addiction over five seasons. The show highlighted the stories of stars like Daniel Baldwin, Gary Busey, Janice Dickinson, and Dennis Rodman as they battled severe alcohol and drug addictions. While the show was well-received by VH1 viewers, Dr. Drew faced some harsh criticism behind the scenes. That criticism stemmed from the deaths and relapses of celebrities that once starred on the show. Jeff Conaway and Rodney King were among the stars who died after appearing on the show due to addiction-related circumstances. And others, like Brigitte Nielsen and Seth Binzer, later relapsed (via Just Believe Recovery Center).

According to Today, Pinsky received much of the blame for the celebrities' fates, eventually causing him to end the show in 2013. "I'm tired of taking all the heat," said Pinsky. "It's just ridiculous. To have people questioning my motives and taking aim at me because people get sick and die because they have a life-threatening disease, and I take the blame?"

Nevertheless, Pinsky seems to be interested in bringing the show back. However, its fate is unknown, as of this writing. Dr. Drew told "The Unpopular Podcast" in April 2021, "The [original] producer has talked about it periodically, but he has talked to VH1, and they own it, and they won't let us do anything" (via Daily Mail).

He's a prostate cancer survivor

Blink, and you missed it — but that's because Dr. Drew Pinsky didn't talk about his prostate cancer diagnosis much as it unfolded. It wasn't until a while after his diagnosis and cancer surgery that he finally opened up about the treatment and recovery process.

Pinsky said that he first knew something was wrong when he returned from vacation feeling sick (via USA Today). After originally being treated for an inflamed prostate, further testing revealed that he had prostate cancer. Initially, Pinsky opted for frequent monitoring and regular biopsies rather than having surgery. However, when his symptoms worsened, his doctor suggested that surgery was the best option, for which Pinsky is grateful. "You go to doctors for their judgment, their instinct, what to do, how to make the right call," he explained to Forbes.

In July 2013, Dr. Drew had a successful surgery. "I'm cancer-free. The erectile function is normal, sex drive is normal, bladder works normally. And I don't have to worry about prostate cancer," Pinsky told People a few months later (via USA Today).

He's a dedicated family man

You may not know it by watching his TV shows, listening to his podcast, or seeing him on his many guest appearances, but Dr. Drew is a happily married man and father. Although he keeps his family life mostly private from Hollywood, his wife, Susan, and triplets, Douglas, Jordan, and Paulina, are the apples of his eye.

In 2011, Dr. Drew wrote an essay for Parade detailing what it was like sending his triplets off to college. "I hope Susan and I can hold it together when we send them off. Fortunately, the planning, packing, and sheer logistics of the task are so distracting we probably won't have time for an emotional meltdown," Pinsky wrote. "After 18 years of defining ourselves as a family rather than as a couple, it's a little scary — who are we if we're not the parents of triplets? ... Somehow, this is a part of the journey that I didn't anticipate when we started out."

And even after college, Dr. Drew remains proud of his kids and how far they've come. In 2014, Pinsky spoke with Entertainment Tonight about his daughter's struggle with anorexia and bulimia. "We are so proud of Paulina and her outreach to help others and particularly empower women," he said. "When she recognized she needed help, she sought treatment and actively engaged in the process."

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, or know someone who is, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).

Dr. Drew wrote a book with his daughter

Dr. Drew Pinsky has penned several books over the years, including one about celebrity narcissism and another about painkillers and their addictive properties. But a more recent book of his tackled something he hasn't done yet: writing with one of his kids. The 2021 book titled "It Doesn't Have to Be Awkward: Dealing With Relationships, Consent, and Other Hard to Talk About Stuff" covers relationships and sex and how to open the lines of communication with teens, parents, and trusted adults.

Pinsky told ET that he pulled his daughter Paulina into the writing process to have a younger person's point of view for the book. Additionally, the parent-child relationship made the book even more relatable. Dr. Drew said that the pair was able to provide several personal anecdotes for readers to latch onto, along with helpful resources and suggestions to build relationships between teens and their parents. And, according to Pinsky, "We got closer as a result. I learned about what's going on in her mind, and there's a lot going on, and it's pretty nice. I like what I found there."

He made his singing debut in a costume

Season 2 of the super-popular singing show, "The Masked Singer," found Dr. Drew Pinsky singing his heart out as the gigantic Eagle that judges assumed was Howard Stern. Pinsky's rock-and-roll vibe and tall, thin stature had everyone fooled. After all, the Eagle acted nothing like the calm, cool, and collected Dr. Drew that America often saw on TV. But after only one performance, the Eagle unmasked, revealing everyone's favorite doctor/host.

What many didn't know was that Pinsky actually has some background singing opera — and, he admitted, it's part of the reason he decided to go on the show. In an interview with People, Pinsky also said that he suffered a vocal cord injury while prepping for his Eagle role that could've cost him the singing competition altogether. "Right when I took this show, I started singing again, and my middle range was just gone. So I ended up going to an ear, nose, and throat doctor, and lo and behold, I had [a] hemorrhage on my vocal cord," Pinsky explained. "So I was left with three-quarters of my voice. But The Masked Singer has a group of vocal rehab people who really helped me out."

He's made some controversial statements about COVID-19

Dr. Drew Pinsky is used to being in the limelight, but it hasn't always been kind to him. He's had his share of controversies relating to "Celebrity Rehab," "Teen Mom," and other shows and endeavors he's been a part of. But not many have matched the backlash he received after referring to the COVID-19 pandemic as panic triggered by the press. He also stated that he didn't think the virus would be as harmful as the flu (via USA Today). Although his comments were given in 2020 in the early stages of the pandemic, many have yet to forget his words.

Pinsky apologized soon afterward in a video he released publicly, stating, "I wish I had gotten it right, but I got it wrong" (via USA Today). He also admitted that he got wrapped up in talking points used by others and suggested that people follow the guidance offered by the CDC and Dr. Anthony Fauci.

In late December 2020, Dr. Drew tested positive for COVID-19. After posting a video on his Instagram to give his followers an update, some expressed well wishes, but many commenters negatively responded with clapbacks like, "If I didn't know any better, I'd say karma is real."

His statements harmed his nomination for a commission seat

In early 2021, Kathryn Barger, the Los Angeles 5th District Supervisor, nominated Dr. Drew Pinsky to sit on the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) commission. The organization partners with the city of Los Angeles and its health department agencies to fund housing projects, services, and programs for homeless families in the area (via LAHSA).

While many supported the idea, opposers of Dr. Drew were quick to share their criticism of him winning the seat. Much of the controversy surrounding his nomination stemmed from his comments about the COVID-19 virus, homelessness, and other topics he's been very vocal about. However, Barger admitted that she agreed with Pinsky's stance on homelessness, which asks that the focus be placed on addiction support and recovery and treatment for mental health (per Daily News).

However, Barger's support couldn't curtail the significant pushback against Dr. Drew's nomination. Not long afterward, she publicly announced the withdrawal of his nomination, mostly because it became a distraction from improving homelessness, the real issue at hand (via Los Angeles Times).

Dr. Drew isn't a fan of vaccine passports

Dr. Drew Pinsky has never been one to bite his tongue in favor of pleasing others. Instead, the outspoken doctor remains very vocal with regard to his beliefs — even if they're controversial. And that includes letting the world know what he thinks of mandatory vaccine passports, an idea some states have considered an attempt to curb the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In early 2021, only a few months after Pinsky recovered from the COVID-19 virus, he opened up about the topic. Specifically, he tweeted that vaccine passports could "segregate people and strip them of their freedom to travel internationally." While he encouraged COVID-19 vaccination, he continued, asking, "How would you feel if international travel also required other vaccinations?"

Many Twitter users responded, pointing to flaws in his argument as many countries already do require proof of vaccinations to travel. Nevertheless, Pinsky didn't back down. In an August 2021 tweet, he highlighted what he perceived as the unfairness of vaccine passports in relation to the Black community. "The CDC reported today that only 28.4% of the black community have received the COVID vaccine," he wrote. "With states like CA and NY mandating vaccine passports to enter restaurants and businesses, the black community would be most affected by this modern-day segregation."

He witnessed a restaurant shooting

Even the biggest Dr. Drew fans may not know that the TV doctor was a witness to a horrifying sight during a night out with his family early in 2021. The New York Post reported that a man opened fire just outside Peter Luger Steak House in New York City, injuring two innocent bystanders. The incident occurred as a result of the gunman's intoxication and a fight over a woman. He'd already had several warrants out for his arrest.

Pinsky was at the restaurant that night with his wife, daughter, and his daughter's boyfriend. Once Pinsky heard the commotion and saw a woman on the ground, he tried to help her but was told to stay back and "get down" (via Page Six). Pinsky and his family joined other restaurant-goers on the floor in a pile as they attempted to stay out of harm's way. Fortunately, they and the other patrons remained safe. Pinsky told Page Six, "The waiters were exceptional. They stood tall. They were calm. They should get a commendation."