Daniel Radcliffe reveals the pretty dark way he overcame his 'Harry Potter' fame
For the decade between 2001 and 2011, Daniel Radcliffe was almost constantly in the limelight as Harry Potter. When the film franchise first started, Radcliffe was only 12 years old, meaning we all got to see him grow up before our very eyes. Now, however, at 29 years old, the actor reveals that there were some sides of him we never witnessed.
Earlier this week, during an episode of Off Camera with Sam Jones, Radcliffe confessed that, on more than one occasion, he would deliberately drink excessive amounts of alcohol in order to cope with the overwhelming fame.
"The quickest way to forget about the fact that you were being watched was to get very drunk," he said. "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.’"
The Woman In Black star went on to say that the constant media attention really affected his "psyche", and that he turned to drink as a way of coping.
"Part of the thing is the expectation that you should just be delighted all the time," Radcliffe explained. "You have a great job, you’re wealthy, you don’t have a right to not be excited about the thing all the time. I think that’s a pressure as well. You suddenly start to feel, ‘Man, if I am just feeling some human emotion of sadness, does that mean I’m doing this wrong? Am I not good at being famous?’"
He also admitted he felt that "actors have to be crazy cool drunks," and so he drank to fit the mould. "I had to live up to this weird image that I had in my head of what it means to be a famous actor."
Getting out of the habit took years, he said.
"I have been unbelievably lucky with the people I had around me at certain times in my life. I met some really key people, some actors some of them not, who just gave me great advice and really cared for me," Radcliffe said. "Ultimately it was just my own decision. I woke up one morning after a night, going, ‘This is probably not good.’"
Fans responded to Radcliffe's interview in a heartwarming way, with many of them expressing gratitude at seeing someone speak so candidly about an issue that affects a lot of people.
"He's just such a self-reflective and self-aware person, I really admire him for dealing so well with everything so well," said one person.
"The thing I admire about him is the way he talks about fame’s expectations and how inherently damaging they are," commented another. "It’s easy to criticize former child stars for having breakdowns but it’s much more difficult to realize what it must be like ... How could anyone be well-adjusted in a circumstance like that? I’m glad Dan had such great people around him during that period in his life to give him the space to recenter himself."
Now that he's on the other side of his struggle with alcoholism, Radcliffe can see that his coping mechanisms were not healthy. Fortunately for him, he had people who could help him through it, and the resources to get better before the habit caused any serious damage.