Tom Felton reveals he checked into rehab three times for alcohol abuse while struggling with his mental health. After rising to fame as a child, the “Harry Potter” actor – who played Draco Malfoy in the big screen adaptations of J.K. Rowling’s novels – turned to drink “to escape” in his mid-20s as he found himself “craving normality.”
“The alcohol, though, wasn’t the problem. It was the symptom. The problem was deeper,” he wrote in his book “Beyond the Wand, The Magic and Mayhem of Growing Up a Wizard“.
The 35-year-old star would have “a few pints a day before the sun had even gone down, and a shot of whiskey to go with each of them.” His issues got so bad that his girlfriend at the time – who also worked as his manager – and his agents staged an intervention.
He received a call from his lawyer who told Tom that he had seen 17 interventions in his career with 11 people dying, and he didn’t want the actor to be another. He checked into rehab but left less than 24 hours later, while a stint in a second facility saw him kicked out after being caught in a girl’s room.
After a few years, “the numbness returned” and he checked himself into rehab for a third time. He wrote, “I can honestly say it was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make.”
“But the very fact that I was able to admit to myself that I needed some help – and I was going to do something about it – was an important moment. I am no longer shy of putting my hands up and saying, I’m not okay.”
He noted he is “not alone in having these feelings” and pointed out that there’s “no shame” in struggling with mental health, just like physical health. And he has decided to open up about his battles in a bid to convince other people to go to therapy when they need to.
He said, “By no means do I want to casualize the idea of therapy – it’s a difficult first step to take – but I do want to do my bit to normalize it. I think we all need it in one shape or another, so why wouldn’t it be normal to talk openly about how we’re feeling?”