Gerard Butler Finally Opens Up About Rehab: "I Haven't Had a Drink in 15 Years"

Celebrity News Oct. 19, 2012 AT 3:45PM
Gerard Butler
Gerard Butler Credit: Sam Jones/Men's Journal

Gerard Butler is coming clean after getting clean earlier this year.

The Chasing Mavericks actor, 42, appears on the November cover of Men's Journal. In the accompanying article, he opens up for the first time about why he decided to seek treatment at the Betty Ford Clinic in February. "I think, on a basic level, I have a pretty addictive personality," Butler tells the magazine. "Both good and bad."

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Butler, who is dating Romanian lingerie model Madalina Ghenea, began taking prescription painkillers after sustaining an injury while shooting the movie Shattered in 2007. The actor experienced mild discomfort for the next three years, but his back problems intensified when he filmed Coriolanus in 2010.

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"It was like somebody sticking a spear in there," Butler recalls. "It would get bad, and I'd take something. But I would always stop." The Scottish star injured himself yet again in December 2011 when he shot a surfing scene for Chasing Mavericks. "I started taking more," Butler says of the pills. "And I started taking them very quickly."

Credit: Sam Jones/Men's Journal

Though it never reached the point of full-blown addiction, Butler feared it could if he continued. "I was actually taking a minimal amount when I went in," he explains. "It was more about becoming a mental warrior and not letting pain bother you. The [instructor] would say, 'I don't want to hear about your f-cking MRIs or your f-cking X-rays. Let's go do kung fu, let's meditate, and let's learn how to say to the pain, F-ck you.'"

Butler stayed in treatment for three weeks. "They really do rip you apart. But it's like spring cleaning, you know? You get rid of a bunch of sh-t, realize a bunch more sh-t, and you make a plan."

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The leading man also denies reports he had been drinking and using more illicit drugs. "That really pissed me off," Butler says. "I haven't had a drink in 15 years."

"Maybe a stronger person wouldn’t have needed to go," he tells Men's Journal of his time in treatment. "When you hear the word rehab, you think, 'He's a mess, he's f-cked up.' But I'm glad I did it. I've made a sh-tload of wrong decisions in my life. But I know I've made some right ones as well."

The November issue of Men's Journal is on stands now.

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