James Franco Talks Sex Addiction and Damage He Caused Others

James Franco is opening up about his sex addiction and how his struggle with the issue impacted the lives of those around him.

In a clip of his in-depth interview on SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Podcast that debuts in full on Thursday, Franco admitted that he had little regard for the feelings of his partners until he began dating his current girlfriend Isabel Pakzad.

“I had girlfriends. I could never be faithful to anybody. I cheated on everyone before Isabel,” said the Spring Breakers star.

“I was completely blind to power dynamics or anything like that … I didn’t wanna hurt people,” Franco, 43, continued in the interview.

“When I was a teenager, I was addicted to alcohol. I got into a lot of trouble, I got sober when I was 17,” Franco continued. “Once I couldn’t use alcohol to fill that hole, it was like, ‘Oh, success, attention, this is great.’ I got addicted to validation or success or whatever that is.”

He added, “Along the road of trying to get success and climb the top of that mountain, attention from women, success with women also became a huge source of validation for me. The problem with that is, as I’m sure you can guess, is that there’s never enough. I’m just trying to fill that hole and it never gets filled.”

Franco also recalled an instance in which he said his sponsor attempted to advise him.

“[He said,] ‘Look the cheating is dishonest, I don’t think that’s good for your sobriety. But, if you’re not dating someone and you want to go and hook up, whatever happens between two consenting adults is fine,'” Franco recalled. “The problem was, I took that and I ran with it, and used it as an excuse to hook up all over the place.”

“And I, in fact, I wasn’t like really a one-night-stand guy,” he said.

“Like people that I, you know, got together with or dated, like I’d see them for a long time, years. It’s just that I couldn’t be present for any of them. And the behavior spun out to a point where it was like I was hurting everybody.”

Franco and Pakzad have reportedly been dating since early November 2017, according to InStyle.

In 2018, Franco was accused of sexually inappropriate behavior by five women, four of whom were his acting students, in an article published by The Los Angeles Times in January 2018. That same month, one of the alleged victims, Sarah Tither-Kaplan, told Good Morning America that Franco “abused his power by exploiting the non-celebrity women that he worked with under the guise of giving them opportunities.”

Earlier this year, Franco reached a deal with Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, another one of his former acting students who filed a sexual misconduct lawsuit against him in 2019. Records obtained by PEOPLE from the Los Angeles Superior Court at the time stated that he agreed to pay $2,235,000 in the settlement.

Jess Cagle’s full interview with James Franco, as part of the latest episode of SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Podcast, will be available on Thursday, Dec. 23. The interview will also air on SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Show on SiriusXM Stars (ch. 109) on Thursday, Dec. 23 at 2:00 p.m. ET. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.

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