Daniel Radcliffe Stops Drinking Because He Can Stop Anytime He Wants

6 years ago

Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe, 22, says that drinking alcohol is a problem for him, and he has stopped. 

The boy wizard's alter ego and the face of his wildly popular character for all of the films based on J.K. Rowling's legendary series, says that as he began coping with the pressures of fame, he drank too much to "enjoy stuff," and this is no longer the life he wants to lead. He told GQ UK: 

I became so reliant on [alcohol]...There were a few years there when I was just so enamored with the idea of living some sort of famous person's lifestyle that really isn't suited to me.

Not unusual for kids in his situation, right? Radcliffe was 12 when Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone -- the series' first film -- dropped in 2001 to immediate acclaim. This put Radcliffe on the path to "child stardom" that has both rewarded and plagued young people for decades in the entertainment industry. From Judy Garland to Dana Plato to River Phoenix, the path from Hollywood to superstardom is littered with sad stories of kids who hit it big and had to cope with the side effects -- money, constant exposure to partying and people who wanted to get close by whatever means necessary. And most of these stories do not have happy endings.  

Radcliffe seems determined to be the exception. He hasn't had a drink since August, 2010, which he says makes him easier to live with for the most important people in his life.

I'm actually enjoying the fact I can have a relationship with my girlfriend where I'm really pleasant and I'm not ****ed up totally all the time. I'd just rather sit at home and read, or go out to dinner with someone, or talk to someone I love, or talk to somebody that makes me laugh.

The star actually skipped the Deathly Hallows premiere to stay home and watch the Discovery Channel.

He does not identify himself as an alcoholic, but does say that he is not the kind of person who can stop after a drink or two. 

As much as I would love to be a person that goes to parties and has a couple of drinks and has a nice time — that doesn't work for me. I do that very unsuccessfully.

Radcliffe has, as the cliche goes, everything to live for. With the last installment of the Potter film series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, due in just over a week, he is the UK's highest paid actor under 30, is currently starring on Broadway in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and has another film, The Woman in Black, on deck for release next year. Of course, what fame and its alleged attendant happiness looks like to the outside world is often an illusion, so his legion of fans -- who are undoubtedly pulling for him as he makes healthier choices for his life and his future -- will have to hope that this wisdom for a 22-year-old is real. 

Dumbledore doesn't typically show up to save the day in modern-day London, and wands aren't unfortunately the answer, either. Radcliffe's attempt to tell the truth, and to discuss the futility of the child star, reveal a wisdom beyond his years. He told the Huffington Post: 

I just want the next generation of child actors to not have to answer all those bloody questions in interviews, 'So, how long do you expect this to last?' Essentially, that is what we get asked. A lot. I have had that phrased that way. So I just want the next lot of kids who want to act not to have to deal with those questions.

The face of Harry Potter with an alcohol problem is a new concept, for sure. The question is, what effect could this have on kids, if any? Respect for Radcliffe's lifestyle choice, or an identification with the character that makes it shocking that he could possibly drink at all? 

What do you think?  Is Daniel's approach a responsible one for the generation who looks up to him?

Contributing Editor Laurie White writes at LaurieWrites. Her photos are on Flickr.

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