Daniel Radcliffe Talks Heavy Drinking as a Teen to Deal With His 'Harry Potter' Fame

Daniel Radcliffe at TCA Turner Winter Press Tour 2019
John Sciulli/Getty Images for Turner

The ‘Harry Potter’ star says he'd get “very drunk” when he thought he was being watched.

Daniel Radcliffe can relate to other child stars who have struggled with addiction. 

The 29-year-old Harry Potter star opened up about using alcohol to cope as a teenager during a recent interview with Off Camera With Sam Jones

"There is an awareness that I really struggled with, particularly in my late teens when I was going out to places for the first time where you would feel — again, it could have largely been in my head — where you would feel watched when you went into a bar, when you went into a pub,” the British actor explained. "In my case, the quickest way to forget you were being watched was to get very drunk. Then as you get very drunk, you become aware, ‘Oh, people are watching more now because now I’m getting very drunk, so I should probably drink more to ignore that more.’ It can affect your psyche.”

He noted that getting out of that head space “took a few years and it took a couple of attempts."

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

As for his wilder past, 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.’"

Radcliffe sympathizes with stars who grew up in the business and have had their struggles publicized. 

"There is no blueprint for starting young and working stuff out,” he said. "That’s why whenever people are having a go at Justin Bieber drag racing cars or whatever, I’m always like, ‘Yeah, but you never know. Stuff could be super crazy for him right now.’"

He said there was also an “expectation” and a “pressure” to always appear like he was in a good mood, but added that one thing that helped was his genuine love for his work. 

"Even at the lowest point, I still loved my job so much and I still loved going to set. There was never a day where my own s**t would affect how I was on the set,” he explained. "There was never a point where I was like, ‘Oh, I wish this hadn’t happened to me. I wish I wasn’t Harry Potter.’ That just didn’t happen.”

Radcliffe has opened up about his drinking issues in the past. In a 2012 interview with Heat magazine, he admitted to showing up to the Potter set drunk from the night before. 

“It was bad. I don’t want to go into details but I drank a lot and it was daily — I mean nightly,” he said at the time. "I can honestly say I never drank at work on Harry Potter. I went into work still drunk, but I never drank at work.”