It’s been over a decade since Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman divorced. In a new interview for GQ, the 47-year-old actor opened up about the split and the emotional toll it took on his life during one of the peak points in his career.
Hawke and Thurman finalized their divorce in 2005 amid rumors of his infidelity. Hawke already had two Oscar nominations under his belt—one for his 2001 film Training Day and one for his 2004 film Before Sunset. Still, the strain from his personal life took a toll on his professional one.
“It was the best moment of my career,” Hawke told GQ about his first Oscar nod. “Like, Maybe, maybe, you could be commercially viable. But I got divorced and my personal life fell apart. I don’t know if you feel this way, but when you’re depressed, it’s really easy to see everything that is fake about other people and life, and I just started seeing all that. How phony celebrity was, how phony everything is. You channel your inner Holden Caulﬁeld, you know?”
Nevertheless, he credited his work with helping him put his life “back together.” He recalled working on Before Sunset in the midst of their fallout.
“That was the height of my marriage falling apart, and getting to spend that summer with Julie Delpy and Richard Linklater, reconnecting with a part of myself that was more…what’s the right word? Idealized. A cleaner self,” he told the magazine. “That was a great summer. And it really helped me put myself back together.
Thurman and Hawke share two kids together: Maya Hawke and Levon Thurman-Hawke. It looks like his daughter caught the acting bug, too. His eldest child was cast in the third season of Stranger Things, which also features his former Reality Bites co-star Winona Ryder.
“If you know my daughter, it becomes kind of awesome, because she’s not some kind of doe-eyed victim in all this,” he told the magazine. “She’s a ferocious young person who’s gonna try to carve her own path. And so for me, that’s the energy that’s motivating everything. But it deﬁnitely feels like an acid trip.”
Hawke is now married to Ryan Hawke, with whom he shares two children: Indiana Hawke and Clementine Hawke. He’s also spending more time behind the camera. He directed a new movie called Blaze, which debuts this month.
“My best movies are not the ones that paid me: the Before trilogy, Boyhood, First Reformed, Dead Poets Society. But I’m 47 years old. I pay my alimony with my acting. I pay my kids’ health insurance with my acting. I pay everybody’s tuition with my acting. I’m helping various charities with my acting,” he said. “I’ve become a professional, and I never wanted to be a professional. I kind of hate professionals. And so when I get left alone in a room for a second and I get to be creative again, I’m like, Okay, Ethan, you get to make a movie.“
To read his full interview, check out the August issue of GQ, which Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott cover.