MOVIE NEWS – Tom Felton, who played Draco Malfoy in the eight-film franchise, says he wants to do something about mental health and the destigmatization of rehab.
In his recently published memoir, Beyond the Wand: The Magic and Mayhem of Growing Up a Wizard, popular actor Tom Felton spoke openly about how he started drinking as an “escape” when he was in his twenties. Now 35, the actor says it wasn’t long before the drinking got out of control and split over into his professional life.
“Drinking becomes a habit at the best of times.”
“When you’re drinking to escape a situation, even more so. The habit spilled out of the bar and, from time to time, on to set,” Felton writes in an excerpt shared with Entertainment Weekly.
“It came to the point where I would think nothing of having a drink while I was working. I’d turn up unprepared, not the professional I wanted to be. The alcohol, though, wasn’t the problem. It was the symptom.”
Eventually, Felton’s loved ones became concerned about his addiction and stepped in, convincing the actor to go to rehab.
“Everyone in the room had written me a letter. I listened to Jade [Olivia, Felton’s former girlfriend] and the others as they told me how concerned they were about my behaviour, about my drinking and my substance abuse. I was in no state to hear them,” he wrote.
Felton says he was angry, and in denial, but in the end, the letter from the person he “knew the least” in the room ended up having the biggest impact on him.
“My lawyer, whom I’d barely ever met face to face, spoke with quiet honesty,” he said of the warning that finally reached him. “‘Tom,’ he said, ‘I don’t know you very well, but you seem like a nice guy. All I want to tell you is that this is the seventeenth intervention I’ve been to in my career. Eleven of them are now dead. Don’t be the twelfth.'”
Felton eventually needed several rehabs to get back on track.
The actor says he shares his story to help erase the stigma associated with mental health and rehab. To help others who may be struggling. The star of the Harry Potter films can now face his past.
“I am not alone in having these feelings. Just as we all experience physical ill-health at some stage in our lives, so we all experience mental ill-health too. There’s no shame in that,” he wrote. “It’s not a sign of weakness. And part of the reason that I took the decision to write these pages is the hope that by sharing my experiences, I might be able to help someone else who is struggling.”
“I’m no longer shy of putting my hands up and saying: I’m not okay. To this day I never know which version of myself I’m going to wake up to,” he continued.
“Which takes us back to the concept of rehab, and the stigma attached to the word. By no means do I want to casualize the idea of therapy – it’s a difficult first step to take – but I do want to do my bit to normalize it. I think we all need it in one shape or another, so why wouldn’t it be normal to talk openly about how we’re feeling?”
Beyond the Wand: The Magic and Mayhem of Growing Up a Wizard is now available in stores and online.
Source: Entertainment Weekly