Family members threaten to sell stories to press, says actor Jack O'Connell
British actor Jack O'Connell has revealed that members of his family have threatened to sell stories about him to newspapers because they assume his Hollywood career has made him very wealthy.
O'Connell, who became famous in teen drama Skins and recently starred in Angelina Jolie's Oscar-nominated war film Unbroken, said he has a complicated relationship with people back home in Derby.
He will soon be seen in Money Monster opposite George Clooney and Julia Roberts and revealed people think he is as rich as his co-stars.
He told ES Magazine: "There's a lot of assumptions made. People assume that I'm wealthy beyond belief - and I ain't. I still need to work for a living.
"I have family members come out with claims, trying to threaten that they're going to go to the newspapers about me ... Where it becomes intrusive is that if somebody's giving me a hard time and I feel like I'm in a position where I have to defend myself, I can't do that either. I have to get punched in the head and walk away."
O'Connell told the magazine his tough background, which included a suspended prison sentence, has helped him to become the person he is today.
He said: "Whatever I went through then backs me up as a human and as an adult nowadays. I wouldn't wish that on anyone growing up, but now it's done me the world of good to see genuine hardship, genuine suffering, genuine poverty and to see humour in amongst them as well - to see people just getting on with it. I grew up knowing a lot of strong people.
"So yeah, for me as an adult now, wherever I am in the world I can always feel sturdy on my feet."
However, the suspended sentence has impacted his career.
Speaking about that time, he said: "It was all stacked against me ... I'm not going to make out that I sailed through it all feeling very cocky and sure-fire, like.
"I was f***ing terrified. But that was because of what I was potentially gonna lose. It was a case of putting a good version of accounts over to the court - for them to say, 'Well, there's a chance he might make something for himself if we don't send him down this time.' Thankfully they gave me a suspended sentence.
"It's been hard enough trying to get into America with all of that said and done. So I can't imagine, if that conviction had amounted to anything, how different things would be."
The full interview appears in this week's issue of ES Magazine, which is out on Thursday May 12.