In an Exclusive ENQUIRER INTERVIEW with the late JAMES GANDFOLINI he revealed his debauched drug filled, boozy and sex-crazed lifestyle that may have caused his sudden death at age 51.
The Sopranos star went one on with The ENQUIRER’s executive editor of news, Barry Levine, in a no-hold-barred interview in 2002 speaking candidly about his drugs and booze nightmare after bombshell charges were made by his wife Marcy during their divorce proceedings.
“God, I can’t believe I’m doing this,” he told The ENQUIRER. “I’ve watched celebrities do this. It’s like a rite of passage. But I’m clean and sober now. I’m done with everything.”
In the interview Gandolfini said he hit rock bottom with his substance abuse three years earlier in 2009 before he started back on the road to sobriety. But there were moments he struggled in his battle against drugs and booze.
“With these things, to anyone who has ever had a problem, there is a certain point when you say to yourself “I have done everything I can with this nonsense.”
But Gandolfini told The ENQUIRER that his drug and booze problems started well before he rocked to fame as Tony Soprano on the hit HBO series.
“When I was 20 or 18 it started. And it progressed through the years,” Gandolfini confessed.
The cocaine and alcohol abuse peaked after Gandolfini was arrested in Los Angeles for DUI on Sept. 26, 1997. “I was racing someone and I was over the limit,” he confided.
“Let me say it was the best French toast I ever had when they woke me up in the Beverly Hills jail!”
But it got worse, Gandolfini said, with his coke and booze use escalating when he married Marcy and she gave birth to their child. “It was a dark time for me.”
Then a pal told Gandolfini he needed help and packed him off to a farmhouse style rehab center in upstate New York.
“The Sopranos had ended, I had needed a break,” he said. “I needed to go off by myself.”
Even his castmates knew James was struggling with his demons.
“They knew me and they knew that when I was ready, I would stop.”