When Sam Worthington landed the lead role as a soldier-turned-leader of extraterrestrial beings in the James Cameron-directed film ‘Avatar,’ he seemed to hit the acting jackpot, but the aftermath of the movie marked a difficult period for the actor.
During an interview with Variety in December 2022, Worthington opened up about the ultimatum his wife, Lara ‘Bingle’ Worthington, gave him for his excessive drinking habits after the success of ‘Avatar.’
The actor expressed his feelings towards the invasion of his personal space, saying:
“I’d go haywire over someone asking me for a photograph or taking a photograph of me. If someone approached me, my anxiety would go through the roof.”
Struggling to cope with the intense scrutiny, he found solace in alcohol, using it as a coping mechanism. Worthington attributed part of this impulse to Australia’s social norms, explaining:
“In Australia, it’s ingrained in the society. We don’t necessarily talk about AA and things like that. You don’t recognize it’s an illness, and you don’t understand that some people are just wired differently.”
When asked if he was a ‘mean drunk,’ the actor replied:
“I was an emotional drunk. I got more emotional and erratic the longer I drank. I don’t think I was mean, exactly, but I could be belligerent, petulant.”
However, a turning point came when he got an ultimatum from his wife, as Sam revealed:
“[She told him] You can do what you want, but I don’t need to be around this.”
So, Worthington stopped drinking following the wake-up call he received from Lara. The actor has been sober since 2014. In the rest of the interview, he also disclosed that after he decided to stop drinking alcohol, he changed how he thought about the acting roles he accepted.
He used to pursue big movies from major studios to be the typical main character. But now, he’s not interested in that anymore. The actor explained that he wouldn’t take it if he didn’t have something meaningful to contribute to a role. He didn’t want to repeat the experience of being the basic action hero at the forefront of the story.