Belfast Telegraph

Ethan Hawke burned through savings by 40

Ethan Hawke is fascinated by addiction.

Actor Ethan Hawke "pressed the panic button" when he turned 40 years old.

The Hollywood A-lister had a huge reality check after reaching the age milestone, when he realised he had a stack of responsibilities.

"I basically pressed the panic button," he tells Rolling Stone magazine, noting the pressure inspired him to book more roles in films. "When I was young and everybody wanted me to be a movie star, I was like, 'Eh, we'll see.' But all of a sudden I turned 40, and I just wanted to work. Put me in, coach. I want to play."

The leading man shares two daughters - Clementine, seven, and Indiana, four - with his current wife Ryan Hawke and he is also father to 17-year-old daughter Maya and 14-year-old son Levon, his children from his marriage to Uma Thurman.

Ethan, who is now 45, believes his mid-life crisis was particularly hardcore because life as he knew it completely disintegrated following his split from ex-wife and Gattaca co-star Uma in 2005.

"All of a sudden you're staring at a divorce, and child support, and college coming up, and you've got new babies and you've kind of burned through the savings..." he shares. "It creates a loud noise in your head: 'Is everybody OK?'"

Playing late jazz musician Chet Baker in 2015 biopic Born to Be Blue made Ethan reflect on the importance of loved ones even more. Chet, a notorious heroin user, died with the drug in his system at the age of 58, in 1988.

Ethan has had deep personal relationships with other artists who died from drug overdoses, including late actors River Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman, and he is happy he didn't follow them to the grave.

"It scares me," Ethan says. "(I) spent my life around Chet Bakers. For a guy like Chet, drugs became an easy way around a giant mountain. I see a lot of young people who think that if they indulge their depression and insecurities, it will create this gift, when, in truth, I think artists like River or Phil or Chet are succeeding despite the addiction.

"Yes, the pain and agony might create something - but there's got to be a really big talent there to begin with. Otherwise, you're better off getting sober and working every day like the rest of us."

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