Jared Leto spoke candidly about his past experiences as a “professional drug user”— and the “epiphany” that turned his life around.
“I grew up in an environment where there were drugs around,” the 30 Seconds to Mars musician, 51, shared with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1 on Thursday, September 14. “I knew what the smell of weed is as a very, very young kid.”
Leto remembered “walking by some trees” when he was in fourth grade and telling other kids there was, “someone’s smoking pot there.” At the time, his peers “didn’t know what that certain spice was.”
However, for Leto, it was “pretty normal” to be around drugs, which is what got him “interested” in the first place.
“I was always interested in an experience. I was always interested in taking some risk,” he explained. “And I think that’s probably common for people that like to experiment or explore probably some common things.”
Leto further discussed how his experimentation became an addiction, later quipping that he wasn’t “a bad [drug] dealer either.”
“Taking drugs is one thing, but does it start taking you?” he wondered. “My experience was certainly one that I took it for a ride and then it took me for a ride, for sure.”
The only way Leto was able to “get off the ride” — as host Lowe referred to it — was through a “moment of clarity.”
“I had an epiphany,” Leto said. “I knew that I wanted to hopefully accomplish things in my life that I was proud of, to do something special with my life.”
He continued: “There were two paths that I could take in life … a sudden moment of clarity — to say for the third time, I guess — is the only way I can describe it. And I took that path and I’ve had very close friends that didn’t. And they’re not here anymore.”
This isn’t the first time Leto has addressed drug use in his youth. During a 2016 Rolling Stone profile, the singer said he was “too busy taking drugs” in high school to play any sports.
Leto joked his drug use “was kind of a sport,” noting at the time that he was “essentially” on the straight and narrow now.
“There’s all kinds of ways to change your state of mind or to get out of yourself,” he said. When it comes to dabbling in psychedelics, Leto replied, “No, only at Burning Man. Only if I’m having an orgy at Burning Man will I take that.”