May 27, 2020
Ben Affleck is one of Hollywood’s biggest actors and creatives, but behind the curtains it has been anything but easy for the two-time Oscar winner.
Now the 47-year-old is opening up about his personal struggles, including his divorce, his alcohol addiction and his first foray into sobriety in 2001.
“I was sober for a couple of years and then I thought, ‘You know, I want to just drink like a normal person and I want to have wine at dinner.’ And I was able to for about eight years,” he recalled, speaking to ABC News’ Diane Sawyer in an interview that aired this week.
But eventually, between marrying actress Jennifer Garner in 2005 and starting a family, he started to drink more. And more. And more. “And it was really hard for me to accept that that meant I was an alcoholic,” the “Argo” director told Sawyer.
“I started drinking every day. I’d come home from work and I’d start to drink and I’d just sit there and drink until I passed out on the couch,” he continued.
Affleck talked at greater length about his behavior in an interview this week with the New York Times.
“People with compulsive behavior, and I am one, have this kind of basic discomfort all the time that they’re trying to make go away,” he said. “You’re trying to make yourself feel better with eating or drinking or sex or gambling or shopping or whatever. But that ends up making your life worse. Then you do more of it to make that discomfort go away. Then the real pain starts. It becomes a vicious cycle you can’t break. That’s at least what happened to me.”
Affleck’s ongoing struggles with addiction and depression are rooted in a dark family history, he revealed.
His grandmother, he told Sawyer, died of suicide amid alcohol and barbiturate use. His aunt fought addiction. But it was his father’s alcoholism that hurt the most.
“He was drunk every day and that was just life,” Affleck said of his dad. “And as that got worse, that was really, really painful. And I always said, ‘That’ll never be me. I am never gonna do that.’”