As Daniel Radcliffe well knows, “There is no blueprint for starting young and working stuff out.”
The longtime actor, who got his very famous start as Harry Potter before he even became a teenager, newly opened up about the toll that level of attention took on him as he ventured into adulthood. In an interview for Off Camera with Sam Jones, the now-29-year-old star reflected on his late teenage years and how he had turned to alcohol to cope with the fact that people were watching his every move.
“There is an awareness that I really struggled with particularly in my late teens when I was going out to places for the first time where you would feel…again it could have largely been in my head but…you would feel watched when you went into a bar, when you went into a pub,” Radcliffe explained. “Then, in my case, the quickest way of forgetting about the fact that you were being watched was to get very drunk and then as you get very drunk, you become aware that, oh people are watching more now because now I’m getting very drunk, so I should probably drink more to ignore that more.”
Because of his experiences, the star expressed empathy for fellow young stars like Justin Bieber who have been caught up in notorious antics. “I’m always like, ‘Yeah, but you know stuff could be super crazy for him right now.'”
As the actor elaborated, it can be difficult to face normal emotions as a young star because of the lifestyle you’ve achieved. “Part of the thing is the expectation that you should just be delighted all the time,” Radcliffe said. “You have a great job, you’re wealthy, you don’t have a right to ever feel sad or to not be excited about the whole thing all the time and I think that’s a pressure as well.”
Fortunately, he figured out how to escape his coping method thanks to loved ones and ultimately himself. “It took a few years and it took a couple of attempts,” he said during the interview. “Ultimately, it was my own decision…I woke up one morning after a night going, ‘This is probably not good.'”
The actor acknowledged that he was perhaps trying to fulfill an image of how he thought he should be. “When I think of the sort of chaos that I used to invite into my life, I’m really much happier now and I think there was some part of me that was like actors have to be like crazy, cool drunks. I have to live up to this weird image that I have in my head of what it is to be a famous actor or something,” he said.
Despite the challenges, however, he never regretted taking the job.
“Even at the lowest point, I still loved my job so much and I loved going to set and there was never a day where my own s–t would affect how I was on set,” he said. “There was never a point where I was like ‘I wished this didn’t happen to me. I wish I wasn’t Harry Potter,’ like that just didn’t happen.”