Yellowstone's Wes Bentley opened up about almost losing it all in a "fire" of addiction to drugs years ago. The 44-year-old actor, whose breakout role came in 1999's American Beauty, got candid about his past to Men's Health and revealed how close friend Heath Ledger urged him to get sober.
"I lost everything in the fire. I had no car, I had no clothes, I had no money — I was $400,000 in debt," Bentley recalled.
After moving to Hollywood, The Hunger Games star started taking mushrooms and ketamine, and while he recognized that can now be a mental health tool for some, it wasn't for him. The psychedelics just led to more drugs.
"I ended up going down the cocaine and heroin route," he explained. "Hard drugs. Hard partying. You're in clubs and you're at after-parties, and there's cocaine, and eventually it became heroin."
Bentley said he wasn't "trying to kill myself or anything," but had competitive energy when it came to doing drugs.
"That period was incredibly dark. I did really dangerous stuff. I went downtown. I went and hung with really shady people," he shared. "That was just me: Go far. Be the guy who went the furthest."
Before addiction temporarily sidelined his career, Bentley did the 2002 film The Four Feathers with Ledger. The two were close up until the Oscar winner's shocking death in 2008. Ledger accidentally died from a prescription overdose.
Bentley skipped Ledger's memorial service because he was high. "I tried to go, but I was really messed up, and I felt like that wasn't right. So I got out of the cab on the way to it. And that sits with me forever," he admitted. "That guy loved me. Outside of my family, I've never felt love from . . ."
"I'd never felt love," he continued, "from someone like him. And he didn't care what I was, or what I was like, the stupid things I was doing. He just wanted me to be better. I always thought of him as a brother, and I wish I could've given that back."
Bentley began sobbing during the interview and recalled how Ledger "even begged me to get sober in an email."
"Last email, he was beggin' me. I didn't, at first, but later, getting sober, I'd think of that email all the time. One from him and one from my dad, begging me to get sober," he shared.
After spending nearly a decade in the throes of addiction, Bentley is now sober and married with two children. He's been clean for more than 10 years and stars as Jamie Dutton on the mega hit, Yellowstone. The actor still thinks of Ledger and said he's OK talking, and crying, about his "brother."
"I'm an actor. I'm not afraid to feel things. And it doesn't make me feel worse. It makes me feel better. Because I know I love him and I did love him, but what I’ll take from that relationship is: You've gotta show people now that you love them every day," he said. "Even when you're mad at 'em, even when they're wrong to you... tell 'em you love them, because it means more than you know, to you and to them. And I didn't do that well enough with him."