During a lengthy and candid profile in GQ that covered everything from his graying hair to being rocketed to fame overnight thanks to the breakout success of MTV’s Jackass in the early 2000s, stuntman-turned-actor Johnny Knoxville ran into one challenge that still gives him pause: Talking about his friends’ and co-stars’ struggles with addiction. While Knoxville isn’t afraid to get knocked unconscious by a bull or severely injure his urethra in a motorcycle stunt (this happened, he discussed it with glee), the Jackass star showed his vulnerable side when the conversation turned to how others handled their sudden fame.
After touting Steve-O’s sobriety and stating how proud he is that his co-star is doing “terrific” and is a “different, different man,” Knoxville danced around the dark cloud hanging in the air: Bam Margera. Margera was cut from Jackass 4 for allegedly refusing to stay sober on the set and has been blasting Knoxville in the press and recently went on TMZ to accuse his Jackass family of “betraying” him. It was a topic that Knoxville was hesitant to discuss, but he eventually aired his feelings. Via GQ:
“I think each of us was responsible for his own actions,” he said, measured. “And when someone’s struggling, everyone tries to help that person. And at the end of the day, that person has to want help. Sometimes they don’t. Yet.”
I asked him if he was speaking about anyone specifically.
He looked away, visibly emotional. Half a minute passed.
“We want Bam to be happy and healthy and get the help he needs,” he said. “We tried to push that along. I think that’s all I really want to say about it.”
The conversation was also darkened by the death of Jackass co-star Ryan Dunn who died in a DUI accident in 2011. While Dunn was closer to Margera thanks to the two growing up together in eastern PA, it affected the whole crew, and Knoxville admitted to GQ that watching his friends struggle has been “challenging.”
Not wanting to get into a “public back-and-forth,” Knoxville ended the subject by expressing his hopes for Margera. “I just want him to get better.”