Philip Seymour Hoffman’s partner Mimi O’Donnell opened up about the actor’s struggles with addiction in a moving essay for Vogue. The Boogie Nights and The Master star, who made bad movies good (Along Came Polly) and good movies great (Happiness), passed away from a heroin overdose on February 2, 2014, but his issues with drugs and alcohol were a lifelong struggle.
“From the beginning, Phil was very frank about his addictions,” O’Donnell wrote. “He told me about his period of heavy drinking and experimenting with heroin in his early 20s, and his first rehab at 22. He was in therapy and AA, and most of his friends were in the program. Being sober and a recovering addict was, along with acting and directing, very much the focus of his life.” But Hoffman was an addict, and O’Donnell didn’t “understand that addiction is always lurking just below the surface, looking for a moment of weakness to come roaring back.”
It came back when Hoffman was in his 40s.
His therapist died, he lost connections with his friends in AA, and his job was taking up more time, at the expense of his personal life. O’Donnell knew something was wrong when, one night, he asked to have a drink. Later, prescription opioids came into play, and eventually, heroin. “As soon as Phil started using heroin again, I sensed it, terrified,” O’Donnell wrote. “I told him, ‘You’re going to die. That’s what happens with heroin.’ Every day was filled with worry. Every night, when he went out, I wondered: Will I see him again?”
It happened so quickly. Phil came home from Atlanta [where he was filming Hunger Games], and I called a few people and said that we needed to keep an eye on him. Then he started using again, and three days later he was dead.
I had been expecting him to die since the day he started using again, but when it finally happened it hit me with brutal force. I wasn’t prepared. There was no sense of peace or relief, just ferocious pain and overwhelming loss. The most difficult— the impossible — thing was thinking, How do I tell my kids that their dad just died? What are the words? (Via)
You can read the rest of O’Donnell’s essay over at Vogue.