When Wes Bentley took the role of Ricky Fitts in ‘American Beauty’ in 1999, he became a rising figure in the entertainment industry and started gathering attention from the media. He reflected on this in a chat with the New York Post that year, saying:
“I’ll just take it as it comes, as I do everything else in life. I’m prepared for a change if it does happen, and I’m prepared for it not happening. Everyone is talking about [my career taking off], but I can’t help thinking, ‘What if it doesn’t?’ Then I’ll stay where I am.”
But the fame that came after the movie brought along some struggles for the actor. Bentley found himself battling drug and alcohol addiction to the point of thinking about quitting acting to become a dealer.
In the early 2000s, the news reported that the actor’s marriage with his first wife, Jennifer Quanz, ended in 2009 due to his addiction problem. His condition also caused issues on the sets of the films ‘P2’ and ‘Weirdville.’
That’s why, talking about the exposure ‘American Beauty’ gave him, he told Insider in 2016:
“It was a blessing as an actor. Personally, it was tough. It was tough to follow up on that. I feel I have a skewed vision of it. It was so weird and felt extreme. I was young and had a lot of big lessons learned, and a lot of that had to do with the attention that came from the movie. At the end of the day, I just didn’t know what to do at that moment as far as dealing with the attention.”
Bentley relapsed after completing a treatment program that followed his arrest in 2008. But he re-started to work on his recovery process after meeting his wife, Jacqui Swedberg, during a project in Canada.
The actor talked about this period in an interview with Men’s Health this year and explained:
“I met a girl, and this girl was awesome and funny and just had the weirdest sense of humor and made me laugh and made me want to live again – like, live live, not go deal drugs.”
Around those years, Bentley got help through a 12-step program again and rebuilt his career by taking part in the off-Broadway production of ‘Venus in Fur’ by David Ives. He has reportedly remained sober ever since.