Sam Worthington Opens Up About Being an 'Emotional Drunk' and How He Got Sober

Worthington also revealed who gave him an ultimatum.

For the first time, Sam Worthington is opening up about how the consumption of copious amounts of alcohol consumed him, to the point he needed the booze just to get through simple tasks, like a first-class flight. But, when his wife couldn't take it anymore, the 46-year-old actor recalled her issuing an ultimatum, and it's what "pulled him back from the brink."

In an in-depth interview for the latest cover of Variety, Worthington revealed that his addiction to alcohol was so out of control that he remembered cities he visited around the world not by their local landmarks but by his favorite bars in those cities. The Avatar: The Way of Water star then recalled chugging four or five glasses of champagne before hopping on a plane. Worthington told Variety that his wife, Lara, told him she'd never seen anyone drink so much before a plane took off.

"I couldn't see it," Worthington said. "I thought it was normal. I didn't like who I was. Drinking helped me get through the day."

The actor says he would start his morning drinking, but "nine out of 10 people couldn't tell." He was, essentially, a functioning drunk.

"They could probably smell it on me, but when they looked at me, they couldn't tell," he said. "I was still doing my job -- I just don't think I was doing it very well."

After starring in James Cameron's first Avatar film in 2009, Worthington immediately was identified as the it actor, and with that came unwanted attention, including from the likes of paparazzi. When those situations arose, Worthington says he turned to alcohol to get him through it.

"I'd go haywire over someone asking me for a photograph or taking a photograph of me," he said. "If someone approached me, my anxiety would go through the roof."

The Australian native also said he turned to drinking because that's just how his people dealt with harsh situations.

"In Australia it's ingrained in the society," he explained. "We don't necessarily talk about AA [Alcoholics Anonymous] and things like that. You don't recognize it's an illness, and you don't understand that some people are just wired differently."

It got to the point, Worthington shared, that his wife told him something had to give.

"You can do what you want, but I don't need to be around this," the actor recalled her telling him.

Worthington said the ultimatum was issued "with love" and "not anger or disappointment." He admitted that the ultimatum "pulled him back from the brink."

When asked if he was a mean drunk, Worthington's described as exhibiting discomfort before answering the question.

"I was an emotional drunk," he said. "I got more emotional and erratic the longer I drank. I don't think I was mean, exactly, but I could be belligerent, petulant."

Avatar: The Way of Water hasn't hit theaters yet but already it's snagged two Golden Globe nominations -- for Best Motion Picture - Drama and Best Director of a Motion Picture. Worthington spoke to ET's Nichelle Turner at the Avatar premiere and shared his feelings about the nominations.

"There's thousands of people involved in this, I'm a very small cog," shared Worthington. "So it's a great testament to everyone's hard work and all the creative endeavors."