Model-turned-actress Amber Valletta is looking for the early signs of addiction in her teenage son after realising there's a family connection to the disease.

The 40 year old has been sober for 15 years after struggling with her vices at the height of her catwalk fame.

She went public with her secret addiction battle during a live seminar for wellness website in July (14), and was stunned when her appearance went viral.

Now she's urging other addicts to keep a close eye on their kids to make sure they don't become problem teens.

Appearing on U.S. news show Access Hollywood Live on Tuesday (09Sep14), Valletta says, "We need to stop living in the shadows of pain, and addiction is not something you can fight by sheer willpower. It is a real disease and recovery is possible.

"I see too many people and hear too many people suffering in silence and there is no reason to be ashamed if you have cancer, so there is no reason to be ashamed if you have the disease of addiction.

"I just don't believe it's about willpower... If I could have stopped, I would have stopped. I'm a very strong person, I'm a very powerful woman, I can do many things, but that I could not conquer."

And the actress admits she's determined to make sure her son Auden avoids the pitfalls she was plagued with when her modelling career took off 25 years ago.

She adds, "He's grown up with me being clean. I just tell him that it runs in your family and you definitely need to be careful but I also don't want to be the kind of parent who's not realistic. We live in a world where everything's accessible. I think it's being really smart how you talk to your kids. One time, one thing can be addictive - the first time."