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Jon Hamm Opens Up About His Late Parents and What It Means to Be a Family

by Raphael Chestang 5:29 PM PDT, October 19, 2016
Photo: Getty Images

Jon Hamm dissected the lingering pain felt from the loss of his parents in a rare candid interview with Elle.

"[My dad] was twice widowed," Hamm told the magazine for its November 2016 issue. "He was divorced from my mom when she died, but even so, there's a deep sense of tragedy in that. I never had the opportunity to, as an adult, sit down and talk to him about that. It's a real loss."

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Hamm lost his mother to colon cancer when he was just 10 years old. By the time he was 20, his father died, leaving young Hamm to be "quasi-adopted by [his] friends' families."

"Even today I get e-mails or cards from these women who, for lack of a better word, were my mom," Hamm shared. "We talk about what it means to be a family. Mostly it's about showing up. And being aware enough to check in and say, 'How are you doing?' I've been incredibly lucky to have these people in my life."

The 45-year-old Keeping Up With the Joneses star, who grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, moved to Los Angeles after college with $150 to his name and a dream of making it in Hollywood. While he had to wait until his mid-30s for his big break in Mad Men, Hamm doesn't regret those early lean years of paying his dues.

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"The best thing you could say is 'Appreciate it. Struggle is part of the journey,'" he said when asked what advice he would give his 20-year-old self. "That's what I've learned in my 40s: This too shall pass."

The Golden Globe winner certainly isn't afraid to face his flaws, and in February 2015, he admitted himself into a 30-day treatment facility for alcohol addiction.

"It has all these connotations, but it's just an extended period of talking about yourself," Hamm recently explained to Mr. Porter's The Journal. "People go for all sorts of reasons, not all of which are chemically related. But there's something to be said for pulling yourself out of the grind for a period of time and concentrating on re-calibrating the system. And it works. It's great."

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