Comedy legend Chevy Chase underwent rehab treatment for an addiction to painkillers, inspired by the public plight of former US President's wife BETTY FORD. The FLETCH star visited the Betty Ford clinic in the 1980s after becoming hooked on painkilling drugs prescribed for back pain. He insists he would never had sought help had he not read about the treatment Ford underwent for alcoholism. Writing in the New York Times about former president GERALD FORD's death at Christmas (DEC06) at the age of 93, Chase says, "If it hadn't been for the courage of Mr Ford's wife, Betty, for admitting to an alcohol problem, I would never have received the help I needed. "During my short stay there. I often saw Mrs Ford personally surveying the clinic and generously offering a helping hand." After his stay Chase - who regularly impersonated President Ford on Saturday Night Live - became close friends with the First Couple.