Daniel Radcliffe reveals starring as Harry Potter made him an alcoholic

Danny Thompson
Daniel Radcliffe attends the "Guns Akimbo" premiere during the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival at Ryerson Theatre on September 09, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

Daniel Radcliffe has revealed he relied heavily on alcohol towards the end of and straight after his stint as famous wizard Harry Potter.

In a tale as old as showbiz itself, Radcliffe rocketed to fame in 2000 at the tender age of just 11 as he landed the role of the bespectacled hero of JK Rowling’s series of children’s novels about witches and wizards who learn magic at a school called Hogwarts.

The books were already hugely successful, but the Potter franchise was elevated to household status with the success of the movies, which also starred Emma Watson and Rupert Grint alongside the cream of British acting royalty.

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But Radcliffe grew up very much in the public eye, with the final Potter film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 coming out in 2011 when he was 22, and he admits he took to drinking due to the “panic” of not knowing where his career was going.

Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint, August 21, 2000 (Courtesy of Warner Bros./Newsmakers)

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs he said: "I definitely think a lot of the drinking that happened towards the end of Potter, and for a little bit after it finished, it was panic and not knowing what to do next, and not being comfortable enough in who I was to remain sober."

However, he does admit he often wonders if he’d have drink even if he wasn’t famous.

He said: "I will always be fascinated and frustrated by the question of: is this something that would have happened anyway or was this to do with Potter?

"I will never know. It runs in my family, generations back. Definitely not my mum and dad, I hasten to add."

Actors Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson attend the premiere of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2" at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center on July 11, 2011 in New York City.

The now 30-year-old, who has starred in a series of hit movies since his role as Harry Potter came to an end, says he understands why child stars often turn to drink or drugs to cope.

He said: "I think a huge problem for a lot of people is they get into a situation where they start doing something when they're 10.

"They are committed for several years, and they stop enjoying it.

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"They are, by that point, the breadwinner for their family, so multiple people are reliant on them continuing to do this job and they feel pressured into it.

"If they don't enjoy it they go 'well, I will enjoy all the other things this life gives me, even if I hate the work'. So I think that's why you can see people going to drugs.

"You can also just see people go to drugs and drink because it's fun and they're available and it seems like a good idea, and there's nobody around you talking about the consequences or being honest about that."

Desert Island Discs is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 or you can listened on BBC Sounds.