Jared Leto, the acclaimed actor and musician, has reflected on his past struggles with addiction and the pivotal “epiphany” that catalyzed his journey to recovery.
Speaking to Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1, Leto delved into his unconventional upbringing, characterized by artistic influences intertwined with drug use.
Jared Leto’s Unconventional Path to Recovery
Born into an environment where artistry thrived, Leto acknowledged that creative pursuits and drug experimentation went hand in hand. He candidly admitted, “We wouldn’t be here obviously if we didn’t have that exposure to the arts, and creativity,” before adding, with deadpan humor, “and the drugs.”
His early exposure to drugs and the unmistakable scent of marijuana left an indelible mark on his formative years.
As Leto matured, he found himself increasingly drawn to experimentation, a desire to explore and take risks. This fascination led him down a path where he straddled the roles of an art student and, humorously, a “professional drug user” and even a proficient drug dealer.
However, Leto’s experimentation ultimately spiraled into addiction, prompting him to confront a pivotal moment of reckoning—an “epiphany.” He explained that he realized he wanted to achieve meaningful accomplishments in his life and veer away from the destructive path of addiction.
This epiphany, a moment of clarity, prompted him to make a life-altering choice that some of his close friends did not make, tragically leading to their demise.
Subsequently, Leto garnered acclaim for his role as Harry Goldfarb, a character grappling with heroin addiction, in the 2000 film “Requiem for a Dream.”
This revelation about his past drug use was not the first time Leto had publicly discussed it. In 2016, he candidly disclosed his extensive experience with drugs, highlighting the moments of enjoyment as well as the harsh consequences.
He made a conscious decision to pursue alternative dreams and leave behind the perilous allure of drugs.
In the present day, Leto employs various strategies to maintain his mental well-being. A devout practitioner of Vipassana Meditation, he found solace and clarity during the COVID-19 lockdown period, attributing his preparedness to insights gained from a 12-day silent meditation retreat in the desert.
Moreover, Leto has emerged as a vocal advocate for individuals grappling with mental health issues. Following the tragic suicide of his friend, Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington, Leto addressed the audience at the MTV Video Music Awards, emphasizing that no one should suffer alone and encouraging those facing mental health challenges to seek help.
In his music, particularly in the 2018 music video for “Rescue Me” by 30 Seconds to Mars, Leto has channeled his commitment to reducing the stigma surrounding mental health struggles.
He described the song as an exploration of the inner battles people wage against fear, depression, and anxiety, concluding with links to mental health and suicide prevention organizations, further underscoring his dedication to this cause.