01/10/2003 at 12:00 AM EST
Former "Baywatch" babe Yasmine Bleeth -- in the headlines over the past two years for her drug problem (in Nov. 2001 she pleaded guilty to possessing less than 25 grams of cocaine and to driving while impaired) -- discusses her addiction for the first time in the new issue of Glamour magazine.
"I never expected to get into drugs," says Bleeth, 34, admitting that her five-year battle began with a social habit but quickly graduated into something more.
During the time she was costarring with Don Johnson on "Nash Bridges" ("Baywatch" had ended in 1997) and living in San Francisco, "I'd spend hours plucking my eyebrows, putting on tanning cream, doing a facial. But mostly, I'd shop on the Internet ... Shopping was instant gratification," she writes in the article. "Just like the drugs."
She stopped socializing and suffered frequent bloody noses. "And if I was sniffling, my publicist would tell people I had sinus problems, which I do."
By the end of 1999, having shrunk from size 6 to size 0, she "looked like an alien," she writes, and she finally collapsed during a photo shoot in July 2000.
The following November she checked into the Promises rehab facility in Malibu, though two weeks after her release, while on cocaine, she hit a roadway median in Detroit. As part of a plea agreement, she is serving two years of probation and submitting to regular drug tests.
On the plus side, last August she married Paul Cerrito, 32. The two had met at Promises.
Before the wedding, Bleeth spent time at his mother's house in Michigan, gaining weight -- she's put back on 20 pounds -- and facing the fact that "consciously trying to stay off drugs is now part of my life and always will be."