Speaking out. In his first interview in nearly four years, James Franco revealed that he has been in recovery for sex addiction since 2016.
“It’s such a powerful drug, and I got hooked on it for 20 more years,” the Oscar nominee, 43, said during an interview with SiriusXM’s Jess Cagle set to air on Thursday, December 23. “The insidious part of that is that I stayed sober from alcohol all that time. … In my head, it was like, ‘Oh, I’m sober. I’m living a spiritual life.’ Where on the side, I’m acting out now in all these other ways, and I couldn’t see it.”
The 127 Hours actor has largely stayed out of the public eye since January 2018 when five women accused him of sexual misconduct and inappropriate behavior. Just days earlier, the Palo Alto author had denied previous accusations made against him after he won a Golden Globe for his film The Disaster Artist.
“In my life, I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I’ve done,” Franco told Stephen Colbert at the time. “The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate, but I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn’t have a voice for so long. I don’t want to, you know, shut them down in any way. It’s, I think, a good thing and I support it.”
In his new interview, the California native explained that he decided to take a “pause” for the past several years before saying anything about the additional allegations.
“I’ve just been doing a lot of work,” the Deuce alum said, detailing what he’s been doing since 2018. “I was in recovery before, you know, for substance abuse, and there were some issues that I had to deal with that were also related to addiction. And so I’ve really used my recovery background to kind of start examining this and changing who I was.”
Franco revealed that he struggled with alcoholism as a teenager before deciding to get sober at 17. Shortly after he stopped drinking, he gained fame as part of the Freaks and Geeks cast, which led to bigger roles in films including 1999’s Never Been Kissed and 2002’s Spider-Man. As his star grew, however, he said he replaced drinking with sex.
“I’m just trying to fill that hole and it never gets filled,” he recalled, adding that he didn’t understand he had a problem until his sister-in-law Iris Torres gave him a book about sex addiction. “When I read this book, it was like it hit me like a bullet. And it was like, ‘Oh, my God, that’s me.’”
After reading the book, Franco realized he needed to seek professional help. “It was like, ‘Oh, this is an issue that I’m not gonna solve on my own,'” he explained. “The behavior spun out to a point where it was, like, I was hurting everybody.”