People

How Daniel Radcliffe’s friends supported him through his alcohol dependence

Posted by
Hannah-Rose Yee
Published

“I met some really key people, some actors, some of them not, who just gave me great advice and really cared for me.”

Daniel Radcliffe was 11 the year he was cast as Harry Potter.

The then-unknown actor had only one other credit to his name when he landed the leading role in what would become a hugely successful eight film franchise. He was only 11 and new to the industry, and yet he was forced to shoulder the burden of this massive undertaking, alongside his co-stars Emma Watson and Rupert Grint.

In a new interview, Radcliffe has revealed that his unhealthy coping mechanisms for the pressure of the role and the intense scrutiny of the spotlight included alcohol dependence.

“The quickest way to forget about the fact that you were being watched was to get very drunk,” Radcliffe told Off Camera with Sam Jones in the US. “Then as you get very drunk you become aware, ‘Oh people are watching more now because now I’m getting very drunk so I should probably drink more to ignore that more.” 

Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint in the first Harry Potter movie

He might have been a wildly successful and wealthy actor, starring in the most popular film franchise of the time, but Radcliffe explained that none of that mattered when it came to his mental health.

Some people even suggested to Radcliffe that he had no right to be struggling, because “you have a great job, you’re wealthy, you don’t have a right to not be excited about the thing all the time,” the actor explained.

“I think that’s a pressure as well,” Radcliffe continue. “You suddenly start to feel, ‘Man, if I am just feeling the human emotion of sadness, does that mean I’m doing this wrong? Am I not good at being famous?’”

You may also like

Demi Lovato powerfully reminds us there is no ‘cure’ for addiction

Radcliffe quit alcohol in 2010 after filming wrapped on the final Harry Potter film. “I have been unbelievably lucky with the people I had around me at certain times in my life,” Radcliffe said. “I met some really key people, some actors, some of them not, who just gave me great advice and really cared for me.”

“It was just my own decision,” Radcliffe added. “I woke up one morning after a night going, ‘This is probably not good.’”

This is an important lesson on the nature of addiction: that there is no cure. You have to want to get better, and that you have to work towards that goal. It is a long-term, progressive illness that, while treatable, has no quick-fix cure. Recovery is a lifelong commitment. 

Daniel Radcliffe has spoken out about how his friends helped him through his alcohol dependence

Speaking to The Telegraph in 2016, Radcliffe admitted that sobriety has been a long and difficult journey at times, with a relapse in 2012. 

“I change when I’m drunk. I’m one of those people who changes,” Radcliffe explained. “There is something in any person who drinks in a way that’s clearly not good for them, something that is attracted to that chaos.”

Since becoming sober, Radcliffe said he had regained his love of reading. “I was a really voracious reader in my teens and that was one of the things I found drinking took away from me, bizarrely, as a side effect,” he said. “I didn’t have the compulsion or energy to read anything. So I’ve got that back.” 

If you are struggling with addiction, Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. In the US, contact the National Drug Helpline at 1-888-633-3239. 

Images: Getty, Warner Bros

Topics

Share this article

Author

Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.

Recommended by Hannah-Rose Yee

Life

A Star Is Born teaches us a vital lesson about addiction

Warning: this article contains spoilers for Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s Oscar-nominated film

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published
People

Ben Affleck may have left rehab, but his alcohol addiction will never be ‘cured’

“I am fighting for myself and my family,” writes the Batman actor

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published
People

Davina McCall on how she beat her heroin addiction: ‘I lost everyone’

The TV presenter has spoken candidly about her struggles with drug abuse

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published
People

Drew Barrymore is writing a book about her roller coaster life

From child star to rehab and beyond

Posted by
Abi Jackson
Published
Long Reads

This is what sex addiction is like – by a woman who has it

Sex addiction has now been classified as a mental health disorder

Posted by
Emily Reynolds
Published