Daniel Radcliffe on Heavy Drinking as a Teen: I Wasn't 'Comfortable' Enough to Remain Sober

Daniel Radcliffe
David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage

The former child star struggled with substance abuse early in his career.

Daniel Radcliffe has abstained from alcohol since 2010 after a serious few years in which he admits he drank too much. The 30-year-old British actor appeared on BBC Radio's Desert Island Discs podcast over the weekend where he talked about his struggles with substance abuse and early fame. 

"I didn't really know in terms of behavior, and behavior in public, that was one of the first times that I felt being famous brushing up against my life," he explained. "If I went out and if I got drunk I'd suddenly be aware of there being an interest in that because it was not just a drunk guy, it's like 'Harry Potter's getting drunk in the bar' and that carries its own kind of interest for people. Also a slightly mocking interest because it is inherently funny for people." 

Radcliffe noted that it was this attention that led him to drink to excess. 

"I suppose those were the moments when I first started being 'Oh, that doesn't feel good. I don't like how I'm being looked at in this particular context,'" he said. "Then the way of dealing with that is to just to drink more, or get more drunk. So I did a lot of that for a few years.”

The former boy wizard reflected on the impact of his fame on his personal life, noting he'll never know if some of his behavior is what he would have done without his iconic career. 

“There are many questions in my life where you can say 'Is this thing, thing X, the way it is because it's in you to be that way or is it because you got famous and were in this slightly crazy situation?' That's not just the sense with my drinking, it's a few things where you go 'I wonder if that's because of Potter or I would have been that way anyway?'" he admitted. "I'll never know, so it's sort of pointless to ask. But I definitely think a lot of the drinking that happened towards the end of Potter and sort of for a little bit after it finished, it was panic and not knowing what to do next and not being comfortable enough in who I was to remain sober."

This is not the first time that Radcliffe has opened up about his struggles with alcohol. Back in February 2019, during an interview with Off Camera With Sam Joneshe talked about how he managed to get his drinking under control. 

"Ultimately it was just my own decision,” he said of cutting back on booze. "I woke up one morning after a night, going, ‘This is probably not good.’” 

He added, "I don’t miss it generally now at all. I know that varies for some people. When I think of the sort of chaos I used to invite into my life, I’m really much happier now. I think there was some part of me that was like, ‘Actors have to be crazy cool drunks. I have to live up to this weird image that I had in my head of what it means to be a famous actor.’"

Last November, ET spoke with Radcliffe's Harry Potter co-star, Rupert Grint. Here's what he remembers from his days shooting the film franchise!