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New Details About Tom Hardy's Drug Addiction Struggles — And How He Got Sober

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Tom Hardy's Drug Addiction Struggles

Before he was a star, Tom Hardy was spiraling out of a control due to his addiction to drugs.

Popular actor and all-around dream-boat, Tom Hardy has made a career out of being the bad guy on the big screen. But that hasn't stopped fans from all over the world from swooning at his feet. 

While many actors incorporate difficult personal experiences into their work, Tom has a deeper well to pull from than most.  

You see, before he was an A-lister, walking the red carpet and receiving accolades, Tom Hardy was spiraling out of a control due to his intense addiction to drugs. 

Tom has been really open when it comes to talking about his addictions to alcohol and drugs. He began experimenting with illicit substances when he was still really young.


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According to an interview with The Mirror:

“When he was 11, the police visited his school and warned his class about the dangers of sniffing glue. But he thought: “I know where to find that now — bang.” Hallucinogens, he says, were “fun and games” and by 13 he had careered off the rails and was dodging the police. He was expelled from his boarding school, Reed’s in Surrey, for stealing, and eventually plunged into an alcohol and crack cocaine addiction which was to govern his life until his mid-20s.”

Tom doesn’t like to go in-depth about everything he lost due to his years of drug and alcohol addiction, but he does intimate that it was responsible for the dissolution of his first marriage.

When Tom was just 13 years old he began experimenting with drugs. Before long he was a full-blown addict, wrestling a problem with crack-cocaine and "whatever else I could get my hands on," said the actor. His addiction was so intense that he once remarked that he would've sold his own mother for access to more drugs. Yikes! 

But things really began to fall apart when he was arrested for gun possession and grand theft auto at the age of just 17. Those charges would eventually be dropped but Tom didn't take his good luck as a sign that it was time for him to clean up his act; it just made him more cautious about his bad behavior. 

“I didn’t want anyone to know I was out of control, but I couldn’t hide it,” Hardy said. “Eventually, the body gives up. I was completely kaput. I was lucky I didn’t get hepatitis or AIDS.”

When Tom began to take acting seriously, he wrote off his drug and alcohol addictions as being artistic. When he began studying method acting, he could accuse his behavior as being that of character he happened to be playing.


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In 2003, while working on the film Black Hawk Down, Tom woke up after one night of partying in a puddle of his own vomit on a crowded city street. The doctor who treated him the following morning planted the seed in Tom that would lead to his sobriety:

“I was told very clearly, ‘You go down that road, Tom, you won’t come back. That’s it. All you need to know,’" Hardy said. “And that message stayed with me clearly for the rest of my days.”

Waking up that way was a demoralizing moment and his friends and family urged him to seek treatment. He went into rehab then but he didn't exactly go in with the right mindset: 

"I went in thinking I’d do it for a little bit until I can go out and drink and people forgive me. But I did my 28 days, and after listening to people who had been through similar circumstances I realized I did have a problem.”

Unlike other stars, Tom Hardy is very candid about how each and every day is a fight he must wage against the demons of his own addiction:

“I’m just a frightened bloke. Everything scares me. Not being in control, not knowing, anticipation, waiting for something to go wrong.”


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Now 39, Tom Hardy has been sober since he was 25 and credits his realistic and honest relationship with his sobriety and recovery for that. While he's remained sober for years, that doesn't mean it's always been easy and Tom is incredibly aware of all of the different ways his lifestyle can serve as triggers. In fact, he sometimes compares working on the movies he makes to following up one beer with another:

“Sometimes it’s like drinking the next beer, I will do the next film and the next, keep going, keep going. If I stop working, they might take it away from me. People will say ‘Tommy you’re doing well’ and I say ‘Am I?’ I love what I do, but it’s driven by a fear of not being able to do it. It’s the same with drinking — if I stop then who am I? What have I got?”

Tom also credits fatherhood with keeping him on the straight and narrow. He has two children: a 7-year-old daughter with ex-girlfriend Rachel Speed and another daughter with his wife Charlotte Riley. 

 “I wouldn’t say having children saved my life, but it definitely changed my life. That was when the penny dropped that there was no longer very much time for me to think about myself anymore — about what I might like to do or who I want to be — because there is somebody now on the planet who really needs me to get my act together and focus on something that is more important than me.”

Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cast, Batman and Margo. She hosts the love and dating advice show, Becca After Dark every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:15 pm Eastern. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.

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