Dennis Quaid Admits to Past Drug Addiction
Quaid, star of Soul Surfer, The Big Easy, The Right Stuff, and Any Given Sunday talks about his drug addiction in a recent article for Newsweek Magazine.
The seasoned actor confesses to being overwhelmed by the sudden pressure that accompanies fame when he first arrived in Los Angeles in the early 1970’s, and turned to Hollywood’s ubiquitous drug of choice for solace. “Coming from where I came from — lower-middle-class life, from Houston into Hollywood — and all of a sudden this success starts happening to you, I just didn’t know how to handle that, just didn’t know how to handle that. Doing blow just contributed to me not being able to handle the fame, which, at the time, I guess I felt I didn’t deserve.”
By the 1980’s cocaine began to endanger his career, “I was getting an hour of sleep a night,” he writes, “I’d wake up, snort a line, and swear I wasn’t going to do it again that day. But then 4 o’clock rolled around, and I’d be right back down the same road like a little squirrel on one of those treadmills. The lack of sleep made it so my focus wasn’t really there, which affected my acting.”
Quaid had to face the severity of his addiction after his band, the Eclectics, broke up due to a wild and fateful performance. He sought help and checked himself into rehab the following day and spent two years cleaning up. Although his career following his treatment was marred with flops such as Wilder Napalm, Quaid slowly redeemed himself after appearing in a number of critically acclaimed films like The Rookie, and Traffic.
Now 57, Quaid is focused on his career and his family. Looking back, he does not regret his turbulent experiences in Hollywood, “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.”
You can see Dennis Quaid in this month’s Soul Surfer as the father of a courageous teenage surfer who returns to the water despite losing her arm in a shark attack.