TV News

Michaele Salahi Joins – and Leaves – Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew

03/09/2011 at 12:20 PM EST

Michaele Salahi Celebrity Rehab
Michaele Salahi (left) and Dr. Drew Pinsky
Adam Olszweski/Bravo; VH1
Reality check?

Stars like Janice Dickinson and Dennis Rodman have appeared on VH1's Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew to fight their addictions to alcohol and other substances, but Michaele Salahi, a star of The Real Housewives of Washington D.C., wanted to appear on the reality show for a different reason.

"Michaele doesn't have an addiction," her husband and Housewives costar Tareq Salahi tells PEOPLE. "She's leaning on Dr. Drew to help treat her [multiple sclerosis], which has been directly affected by our ordeal with the White House. What she needs is help managing her stress and her illness."





But producers of Celebrity Rehab weren't interested in treating stress in Salahi, who was involved in a scandal at the White House during President Obama's first State Dinner in 2009, and she has been released from the show.

Why? "The treatment program that Celebrity Rehab documents is intended for individuals with serious substance abuse and addiction issues," VH1 said in a statement to PEOPLE. "Prior to the taping of the current season, producers were advised that Michaele Salahi met the criteria to be treated in this setting. However, professional assessments spanning from that time to the present, found that she did not meet such criteria. As a result, she is no longer participating in the program."

When asked by PEOPLE about being axed from the show, Tareq said of his wife, "She is devastated ... in worse shape now than when she went in."

With reporting by CHARLOTTE TRIGGS and CYNTHIA WANG

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