“Yellowstone” star Wes Bentley credited Robert Downey Jr. for inspiring him to overcome his drug addiction in the early 2000s.
The 44-year-old actor told Page Six that the “Iron Man” star’s openness about his own struggles motivated him to get sober when he was at the height of his addiction.
“I was in the deepest throes of my addiction and in the worst place and at death’s door, I guess, or at risk of it and I saw him be so bold and brave and open and it saved me,” Bentley told the outlet at the show’s season five premiere on Thursday.
He continued, “So I thought if I do that too, I can maybe pass that on to somebody else.”
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Downey Jr. battled alcohol and drug addiction for decades before getting sober in 2003.
Bentley rose to fame after he starred as Ricky Fitts in the Best Picture Oscar-winning 1998 film “American Beauty.” However, he said that as a young actor, he was overwhelmed by his sudden success and turned to drugs and alcohol to cope.
“I never had money before,” he told Page Six. “So there was a lot of combination of things I wasn’t prepared for.”
He added, “I also knew as an actor that I wasn’t going to be really ready to do good roles until in my 30s and 40s. So I didn’t really want it to happen like that too early. I tried to go with it and hang with it, but I wasn’t ready.”
In a 2010 interview with the New York Times, Bentley described how his addiction spiraled out of control to the point where he no longer cared about acting, despite receiving “stacks of scripts, great scripts with great offers attached.”
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He told the outlet that between 2002 and 2009, he would only take on an occasional gig to make enough money to pay bills or buy drugs.
The actor was arrested in 2008 and pleaded guilty to heroin possession. He was ordered into counseling and 12-step programs but continued to relapse and use heroin until he was broke.
But in 2009, Bentley said that he met a man who helped him end the cycle of addiction and embrace sobriety.
“I met a guy who had been sober and didn’t know, that I was struggling,” he told Page Six. “He just talked about what a beautiful life he had now, and how he’s looking out the window at the trees, and I missed that.
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“And I thought I want that back.”