Belfast Telegraph

Jamie Dornan says mum's death drove him to depression and drink

By Rachel Martin

Northern Ireland heart-throb Jamie Dornan revealed how he spiralled into depression following the death of his mother and spent eight years unemployed after he snagged his first on-screen acting role.

The star admitted his first role - as Count Axel Fersen in Sofia Coppola's 2006 film, Marie Antoinette - was a "fluke".

The Co Down actor said he struggled badly to find more acting work after he landed his big screen debut role.

"First audition I did and I got it," he told The Times magazine. "I thought, wow, this is easier than I thought. Then I realised after eight years of unemployment that it was a fluke."

He added: "Five per cent of all actors are employed at any time. Five per cent.

"What lunatic would want to do that? I'm just happy to be employed, with those statistics."

Dornan's career took off after his roles in hit TV series The Fall and as sadomasochist mutli-millionaire Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey made him a household name.

The father-of-two said drama provided an escape journey during his turbulent teenage years.

Dornan's mother lost her battle with cancer when he was 16 and around a year later, four of his friends died in a car crash.

"It was horrific, horrific. I'm not sure you're ever through it.

"I remember a summer when I was 19 and I'd left university, the University of Teesside, where I did one year of a marketing degree. And I came out having failed every exam I took going, 'Jesus. okay, right, something needs to change here.' So I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. I drank a lot that summer.

"My dad came home one day, and he'd been on at me about doing something: 'Will you just do something? Will you come home when you've achieved something?'

"And I'd been like, okay… So one day, we'd played some tennis and I'd broken a string, and I'd spent the rest of the day very slowly, very deliberately de-stringing the racket with some pliers.

"When Dad came home, he was like, 'So what did you do?' I was just sitting there, with a racket with no strings."

Dornan was speaking ahead of the launch of his latest film, Anthropoid, which sees him star alongside Cillian Murphy as a Czech soldier on a mission to assassinate an SS general.

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