James Franco Reveals the Addiction That Led to a 'Moment of Crisis' and How It Affected His Love Life
By Antoinette Bueno
James Franco is ready to face his feelings.
The 39-year-old actor covers GQ Australia's September/October Big Style Issue, and opens up about having an addiction that he says is actually supported by society -- being a workaholic. Franco has 17 projects scheduled for this year alone, but reveals he had to take a break and evaluate himself last November, when he realized he couldn't do it anymore.
"I really had a moment of crisis," he tells the magazine. "I hit a wall."
He also says he was greatly affected when Donald Trump won the presidental election over Hillary Clinton.
"I feel like it's not a total coincidence that I hit my own personal wall at the time that I did -- last November," he muses. "I think a lot of people have been questioning their lives lately in the States and what they're doing, how they're living."
Franco says he eventually realized he was using work to hide feelings of loneliness and vulnerability.
"It was a gradual thing," he recalls. "I hadn't been in a relationship in a long time and was, like, realizing how much I was running from feelings and people. And how much of my identity was wrapped up in work. I knew who I was on a movie set. But take me away from that and it’s like, 'Oh sh**, I have to interact with people outside of the dynamics of a movie set? That's really scary.'"
“But as soon as I took a step back and stopped working, it was like, 'holy sh**,'" he continues. "All the feelings flooded in and it was like, this is what I was running from. This is what I was using work to hide from. This is why I had to occupy myself every minute of the day, 24 hours a day. Because I was running, running from emotions and being vulnerable and being around people. Being myself."
Franco likens his feelings to the experiences of heroin addicts.
"I've never done heroin in my life, but I imagine if you get off heroin, people talk about facing reality, all these feelings coming back," he explains. "Whether you know it or not, you want to bury them with the drug. And when you're turning to things outside yourself to fill yourself, there's never going to be enough."
"The thing about work addiction is our culture supports it," he adds. "We reward hard work and success. But it can really mask addictive, escapist behavior."
His workaholic lifestyle also affected his love life.
"I was a person that was incapable of settling down with anyone because I was so self-consumed before," he acknowledges. "I was incapable of sharing my heart with anyone. I was so scared to be vulnerable that I made myself busy every minute of the day, so I had an excuse. But I didn't realize until it started to hurt enough."
However, the actor admits it's his own "ego" that fuels the addiction.
"I'm still just dealing with all of it, but with addiction, a lot of it comes down to ego. And in Hollywood that might even be more dangerous because the mirror that reflects your ego back is like 100 miles wide in Hollywood," he says.
These days, the star is enjoying taking a step back and reflecting on turning 40 next year.
"What I'm really conscious of is that I realize what a great life I have, so I'm truly trying to be grateful," he shares. "Forty is a big milestone, but I feel like I went through my own version of a midlife crisis -- so I don't think I'll hit another one at 40."