Jamie Dornan had a really rough go when he was still a teenager. The Fifty Shades of Grey star explained in the new episode of the podcast Out to Lunch With Jay Rayner that he turned to booze to deal with his depression.
“I must’ve been depressed … My mother [died] when I was 16,” he told his host in the episode posted April 29. “That was impossible, life altering, insane, horrendous thing to happen.”
But his mom Lorna dying from pancreatic cancer after a two-year battle wasn’t all a young Dornan had to deal with. “Then I had four of my mates killed in a car crash when I was 17, so I had a very rough couple of years that I guess, oh Jesus, I’m still dealing with both of those things today, every day,” he admitted. “And I drank a lot of everything, really.”
He recalled that there was one summer when things were particularly bad. “I just had this summer where I’d go away a lot, drink, not really achieve anything,” the 37-year-old shared. “I spent a whole day once de-stringing a tennis racket. And my dad came back from work and said, ‘What have you done today?’ And I was actually quite proud of myself. I said, ‘I actually took all the strings off this racket, Dad!’ I remember he took me into this room we don’t use very often and had a chat. He said I was wasting my life, what was I doing, did I have any goals.”
The Once Upon a Time alum said that this was when his loved ones really stepped in. “At this point, my whole family started scrabbling around. ‘How can we help Jamie?’ as families do, I guess,” he said. “And my sister had seen this ad for this thing called Model Behavior, which was like, I guess a really early reality TV show.”
The actor explained that he wasn’t really into the idea of becoming a model, which was the premise of the show, but admitted “it got me out of the house.” Dornan managed to convince one of his friends who was a “pretty handsome dude” to join him. His pal nearly bailed on him at the last minute, but the star was able to convince him to go through with it.
“I did OK on the show!” Dornan revealed. “I sort of bulls–tted my way into it. I kept calling the agency, saying, ‘Would you like to represent me?’ Luckily, they just caved in and they did. … I did all right!”
Dornan went on to land a seven year contract with Calvin Klein. “Total fluke!” he laughed. “I’m not a handsome dude!”
While modeling did work out for Dornan before he made the switch to acting, he also told Rayner that he hadn’t even realized he was suffering from depression until he was on a job interview.
“I had a summer, I dropped out of university and I was doing a marketing degree and no interest in any aspect of marketing, and I thought, ‘Well f–k this! I’m going to leave!’” he recalled. “I remember having this idea that I wanted to change and I knew I wasn’t on the right path, and I needed to do something else. I got into an interview once and I was explaining what I got up to that summer, and the interviewer goes, ‘So you’re depressed,’ and I was like, ‘Oh, s–t, yeah.’”