Robert Pattinson’s life, much like our own, seems to be filled with drama, tragedy, and mystery.
The 26-year-old Scottish actor has spent the past couple of years battling alcoholism and other substance abuse issues, and even more recently he’s been dealing with tragedy, as his girlfriend, FKA twigs, publicly revealed they were engaged when they checked into a hotel in Italy in December 2017.
But in an interview with Esquire, Pattinson reveals the source of much of his recent pain. Addicted to pills and unable to properly function without them, the actor has turned to heroin, which he first tried during a press conference for the adaptation of William Shakespeare’s classic Othello, in which he plays the title character. The drug has since become a part of his life, and while he’s been fortunate enough to avoid overdosing, he’s not been able to kick the habit completely.
While some may argue that the use of opiates is responsible for much of the problems in society today, Pattinson sees it as an essential part of his life. In fact, he’s so in love with the drug that he named his dog after it.
But why is an opiate-addled, famous multimillionaire actor, with a history of alcohol, substance abuse, and mental health issues, turning to heroin?
In an effort to understand why Pattinson became so enamored with heroin, we need to examine his journey thus far, which began in the late 2000s and has included a period of homelessness, the usage of ecstasy, and the destruction of much of his early career.
Pattinson’s Early Career
Pattinson started his acting career in 2007, appearing in small roles in British TV soap operas before landing the leading role of Lee, a young man torn between the love of two women, in the 2009 film adaptation of Tracy Letts’ acclaimed play, August. While Letts’ play is lauded for its portrayal of the perils of contemporary dating, the film, which centers on a brutal fight for possession of a laptop, received mixed reviews.
Pattinson’s career took off following this success, and in addition to the leading role in the film adaptation of David Peace’s Graffiti Queens, he played the male protagonist in the 2010 film adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and starred in the 2011 British independent film The Rover.
Pattinson’s performance in Flynn’s 2012 film adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s novel, The Continental Divide, won him widespread acclaim, and he was subsequently nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. In 2017, he starred in the movie adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, and landed a leading role in the upcoming biopic, Pattinson, about the life and career of the British actor. Set for release in 2019, it will mark the culmination of nearly a decade of struggle for the talented young man.
Homelessness, Mental Illness, And Addiction
While on the surface Pattinson’s life seems to be charmed, it’s not without its darker undercurrents. After the birth of his daughter, Rose, in 2014, the actor suffered a mental breakdown, which saw him spend a month in a mental institution. Since then, he’s not been the same.
In an interview with The New York Times in 2018, the actor revealed that since his release from the mental institution, he’s engaged in “intensive therapy,” which he says “is helping. It’s not going to solve everything, but it’s certainly improving my mental health.”
The incident was later revealed to be a relapse of bipolar disorder, for which he’s been treated and monitored for most of his life. Additionally, Pattinson has long suffered from alcoholism and occasionally uses ecstasy, both of which he says have helped him to cope with the pain and trauma of being Robert Pattinson.
Alcoholism And Addiction
Pattinson has been open about his alcoholism and addiction for some time now, and in the Esquire interview, he further discusses these issues, opening up about his early attempts at recovery and why he believes it’s so important to talk about one’s addiction. He also talks about how difficult it can be to maintain a healthy and sober lifestyle as an adult. As he says: “[A]nd if I’m ever fortunate enough to find love again, I’ve got to try my best not to let this hinder my relationship.”
He continues: “I’ve been lucky enough to stumble upon a 12-step program, which is helping me to stay sober and not let things get out of hand. I’ll be forever grateful to AA for giving me the tools to fight my addiction.”
While he may be working hard to stay sober, in an interview with the UK’s Daily Telegraph in July 2019, Pattinson admits that he sometimes doesn’t handle his drink well. “I have a glass of wine every night and sometimes I feel like I need another glass, but then sometimes I don’t,” he says. “It’s a very tricky one. I’ve definitely been lucky that my drinking hasn’t caused any problems so far.”
Pattinson’s Relapse And Recovery
While Pattinson has largely remained sober since his initial recovery, he did experience a minor relapse in 2018, when he had a drink after 14 months of sobriety. Since then, he’s been working hard to stay clean and sober, and in the Esquire interview, he talks about the importance of seeking help if one feels oneself to be dipping back into alcohol. He also speaks frankly about the damage his addiction has caused him, and how he’s determined to make amends where he can.
It’s worth noting that while he may be working hard to recover, at present, his attempts to lead a sober lifestyle are being hampered by the fact that he can’t seem to stay away from heroin. As he says in the Esquire interview: “It’s a catch-22. What do I do? I can’t stop taking heroin because it makes me feel better. So I should probably just accept that and try to deal with it.”
While it’s fair to say that heroin has undoubtedly been a positive factor in Pattinson’s life, it’s also worth remembering that it’s not completely responsible for his recent behavior. In the same interview, Pattinson reveals that he has also been taking Valium for a long time, and has recently been prescribed a much higher dosage than usual. Whether or not Valium has had anything to do with his recent problems, it’s clear that heroin and Valium present a serious threat to his sobriety. Furthermore, he has a prescription for Clonazepam, which he says he takes “when I have really bad dreams that I can’t sleep off.” Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine, a type of drug known for its ability to relax the body and reduce anxiety, which makes one wonder what is producing all this anxiety in the first place.
As difficult as it may be to accept that one’s mental and physical health are more important than one’s appearance, especially when one is surrounded by people who value your looks more than your brain, it’s ultimately what’s best for you and your long-term well-being that matters. If you or someone you know is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, please reach out to them and offer your help in any way that you can. Remember, you’re not alone in this world and we’re all here to help.