Chances are that even if you’re not sure who Simon Pegg is, you’ve seen or heard of his movies. A quirky and talented English actor, Pegg has starred in classics like the cult hit, Shaun of the Dead, action-packed blockbusters like Mission: Impossible III, and Hollywood hits like the Star Trek movies and the upcoming thriller film, Inheritance. In an interview with GQ Magazine, Pegg opens up about how, despite his international success, he battled with depression and alcoholism for decades.
Trying to Fill the Hole with Fame
Although Pegg first alluded to the state of his mental health in interviews last year and later confirmed his struggles with depression and alcohol in an interview with Empire Magazine, this is the first time he’s provided an in-depth look into how he drank to try and drown his demons. He first began experiencing depression at the age of eighteen, and struggled with bouts of depression through his early twenties during his time as a stand-up comedian. When his career began to take off, Pegg describes how confusing it was to experience the excitement that comes with fame while still feeling weighed down by depression. It was around this time that Simon Pegg’s alcoholism began to take root.
“I couldn’t understand why I was still feeling down,” He shares. “It was like, ‘This is all going well. Why don’t I feel good?’” These feelings persisted well into his thirties, and at first his strategy of trying to cover up his feelings by drinking beer helped ease the pain and burden on the surface. His drinking only got worse the longer his depression persisted, and began affecting his relationship with his wife, Maureen, and their baby, Matilda. Even though he knew he had to do something about his habit, like many addicts, he just wasn’t ready to give up his coping mechanism.
An All-Time Low in San Diego
Pegg hit his rock bottom when he went to San Diego Comic Con to promote his movie Paul in 2010. He had been dry for some time, having made an agreement at the time he with his wife that he would take a break from drinking. However, by the time he arrived in San Diego, Pegg felt so miserable and lonely that he convinced himself that alcohol would help turn the situation around. He ended the trip drunk on a curb in the middle of San Diego, and that’s when he knew a change needed to be made.
“When I got home, Maureen just knew I had been drinking and it was bad,” he tells the interviewer. “I knew then I needed to get help.”
Dealing with his Demons and Moving Forward
After going to rehab, Pegg said he was finally able to address the real issue and his depression. He doesn’t think addiction is something that should be seen as shameful– so many people suffer from the disease of addiction. He’s said that since he’s come forward with the story of his struggle, people have thanked him for giving a voice to what they’ve been struggling with.
Simon Pegg’s alcoholism and struggles with mental health haven’t stopped him from being successful. Pegg believes that even though it’s impossible to completely lose your demons, if you confront them you can make peace with things. He found that once he stopped drinking, things started going his way and that he could find joy in living his life sober. Since he quit drinking and got sober, the universe has finally started giving back to him. Now, Pegg has almost ten years sober– and he doesn’t regret a single moment of his sobriety.