Wes Bentley says that seeing Robert Downey Jr. open up publicly about his past drug use inspired him to seek help for a crippling heroin addiction in recent years.
“I was in the deepest throes of my addiction and in the worst place and on the verge of death I guess, or at risk of dying and I saw him be so bold and brave and open and that saved me,” the “Yellowstone” actor ” he told us at the season 5 premiere in New York on Thursday.
Bentley, who has been sober since 2009, added: “So I thought if I do that too, maybe I can pass it on to someone else.”
Bentley’s drug addiction began almost immediately after starring in the critically acclaimed 1999 film “American Beauty.”
“I’ve never had any money before,” the 44-year-old actor told us. “So there were a lot of combinations of things that he wasn’t ready for.
“I also knew as an actor that I wasn’t going to be really ready to do good roles until I was in my 30s and 40s. So he really didn’t want it to happen like this too soon. I tried to accept it and put up with it, but I wasn’t ready.”
The actor, like Downey Jr., who has been drug-free since 2003, has been open about his addiction, telling the New York Times in 2010 that he worked sporadically between 2002 and 2009, solely to earn money to buy drugs.
In 2008, Bentley was arrested and convicted of heroin possession. He was mandated with 12-step programs, but he relapsed. Finally, in 2009, he met a guy who would help him kick his drug addiction for good.
“I met a guy who had been sober and didn’t know I was wrestling,” the “Hunger Games” star told us. “He just talked about the beautiful life he had now, and how he’s looking out the window at the trees, and I missed that. And I thought I wanted that back.
“So that’s how it happened. So I went to the meetings, and the 12-step meetings really helped me a lot. I already believed in God, so that helps, the higher power thing.”
Bentley’s career has made a strong comeback with roles on “American Horror Story: Freak Show” and playing the villainous Jamie Dutton on the hugely popular Western series “Yellowstone.”
“I feel lucky to have had a second chance,” he said.