Colin Farrell on Rehab: "I Was Dying"

Actor told British talk show he was "drunk or high for 16 years" before getting help

By Gina Serpe Oct 14, 2008 2:25 PMTags

Colin Farrell is opening up about his rehabbing past for the first time, candidly speaking about the demons that drove him to get help on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross, the BBC's answer to David Letterman.

The Irish actor revealed that he checked himself into a five- or six-week program in 2005 after completing filming on Miami Vice, saying, "I was just done." (His sober musings kick in at the 3:25 mark.)

"I was pretty sick," he said, calling the experience of sobering up "a nightmare."

"I began to come out of the haze that I was in and had burrowed myself into so deeply...Basically, I'd been fairly drunk or high since I was 14. I was very drunk and high for 16 years, so it was a tough life change, and I was dying. I'm one of the lucky ones."

The 32-year-old went on to say that while he was able to continue working while under the influence, it was an uphill battle to maintain any semblance of professionalism.

"So much of the work that I did I was struggling so hard to keep my s--t together," he said. "A lot of my energy was going into trying not to have a complete meltdown in front of Al Pacino."

Farrell and Pacino worked together on 2003's The Recruit.

"Desperation will allow you to do incredible things in the name of survival...I had created an environment for myself, a way of living for myself which, on the outside, seemed incredibly gregarious and vivacious."

Farrell went on to say that he takes full responsibility for his problem and isn't looking to scapegoat his predilection on genetics.

"I don't believe I have any chemical predisposition towards depression, but let's just call it...I was suffering from a spiritual malady for years and I indulged it," he said. "You can feel very alive when you're in pain."

Not that it's a feeling he's chasing any longer.

"I'm glad I'm out of that cycle of my life. I'm very lucky."