Dennis Quaid has made surprised quite a few people with his revelations of cocaine addiction in his past. The seemingly clean cut actor has admitted in an essay he penned for Newsweek that he fell foul of the drug’s addictive qualities when he first moved to Los Angeles in 1974 to forge an acting career.
Quaid’s honest appeal comes at a time when his career has turned a new corner, currently appearing in Soul Surfer; the Bethany Hamilton biopic.
“It was very casual at first,” he scribed. “That’s what people were doing when they were at parties. Cocaine was even in the budgets of movies, thinly disguised. It was petty cash, you know? It was supplied, basically, on movie sets because everyone was doing it. People would make deals. Instead of having a cocktail, you’d have a line.”
Quaid’s addiction began the same as many; insecurity playing a big part thanks to his meteoric rise to fame of which he felt undeserving, and having hailed from a lower-middle-class family he found the new attention had to handle. Cocaine provided the cushion which softened the blow.
“By the time I was doing The Big Easy, in the late 1980s, I was a mess,” he stated. “I was getting an hour of sleep a night. I had a reputation for being a ‘bad boy,’ which seemed like a good thing, but basically I just had my head stuck up my ass.”
The warning signs soon came and following a gig with his band, The Electrics, there was a bust-up and the group split, “just like in the movie The Commitments, because it all got too crazy.”
In what alcoholics refer to as a ‘moment of clarity’ Quaid sought the help he needed to kick the filthy drug and clean himself up again.
A stint in rehab put him straight but his career suffered as a result. Throughout the 90’s he starred in some stinkers. His marriage to Meg Ryan lasted the duration of what he describes as a personal reshaping but in 2001 the pair divorced.
“But that time in my life — those years in the ’90s recovering — actually chiseled me into a person,” he wrote. “It gave me the resolve and a resilience to persevere in life. If I hadn’t gone through that period, I don’t know if I’d still be acting. In the end, it taught me humility. I really learned to appreciate what I have in this life.”
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