ABC says Elizabeth Vargas is in rehab for alcohol

9:18 PM, Nov 6, 2013   |    comments
(Photo: Charles Sykes /Invision/AP)
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(USA TODAY) -- ABC News reporter and 20/20 anchor Elizabeth Vargas has been off the air because she's in rehab for alcohol dependency, the network said Wednesday.

Vargas, 51, last appeared on ABC in October. The network confirmed a New York Daily News story that said she has been in a treatment facility for a few weeks and has a few weeks more to complete the program.

"Like so many people, I am dealing with addiction," Vargas said in a statement. "I realized I was becoming increasingly dependent on alcohol."

She said she was grateful to her family, friends and employers for support. She is married to singer-songwriter Marc Cohn; the couple have two children.

"Like so many others, I will deal with this challenge a day at a time," she said. "If coming forward today gives one other person the courage to seek help, I'm grateful."

Vargas has worked in network news since 1993, first with NBC and then ABC. Besides 20/20, she was named co-anchor of World News Tonight with Bob Woodruff following the death of Peter Jennings, but that pairing was cut short when Woodruff was seriously injured in an explosion while reporting in Iraq. Vargas also frequently filled in for Good Morning America's Robin Roberts when the latter was on medical leave for a bone marrow transplant.

ABC issued a statement expressing full support for Vargas.

"We are proud of the steps Elizabeth has taken and are pulling for her recovery," said spokesman Jeffrey Schneider. "We look forward to having her back home at ABC News where she has done so much distinguished work over the years. Elizabeth is a member of our family and we will support her in every way we can."

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