Dustin Hoffman says being a teenager was the "worst" time of his life.
The 75-year-old star may be one of the biggest names in Hollywood, but he hasn't always enjoyed such success. When he was growing up, Dustin suffered from crippling self-confidence issues and never felt he measured up to his older brother.
"I think that what you feel about yourself the first few years never leaves you. My brother was the 'A' student and the star athlete and I was neither," the actor said in an interview with UK newspaper The Independent. "And I couldn't concentrate in school and I feel now that I should've loved school, because I loved learning and I loved reading, but I was programmed somehow to think he was a success, I was the failure, and it never left me. My childhood, my teenage years, are the worst memories I have in life."
Dustin only began to find himself when he got involved with acting. The star realised he felt happiest when he was losing himself in another person's story.
"I never had a sense of myself, ever. I always felt fragmented, without knowing it consciously," he explained. "And the first time I felt centred, ironically, was by playing someone else."
Dustin continued to battle nerves and anxiety as he grew older. The star has recalled having a panic attack as he got ready for bed just hours after receiving a lifetime achievement award in 1999 for his illustrious career. He believes the accolade made him worry that the best years of his life were already behind him.
"And I never had one before. I understand now what it feels like because you want to jump out the window. It's a visceral pain, it's awful," he revealed. "You feel like you're eating yourself up. I felt the opposite of one being celebrated, because I felt that was it - it was like a eulogy and my life was over, and I felt I hadn't even begun to do what I wanted to do."
Dustin is relieved that his career has continued to flourish. He has landed roles in movies such as I Heart Huckabees, Kung Fu Panda and Meet the Fockers as well as recently making his directorial debut with Quartet.
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