‘I didn’t like who I was’: Avatar’s Sam Worthington reflects on alcohol and how he beat the bottle

Avatar: The Way of Water star Sam Worthington has opened up about his alcohol addiction for the first time – and revealed wife Lara Worthington played a key part in his sobriety.

The Aussie actor admits that he lost control of his life after James Cameron’s first Avatar blockbuster thrust him into the spotlight in 2009.

Worthington, who was relatively unknown before he was cast in Avatar, said he struggled with his newfound fame.

He began heavily relying on alcohol to cope with his new reality – even starting off his mornings with a drink.

“Nine out of 10 people couldn’t tell,” Worthington told Variety.

“They could probably smell it on me, but when they looked at me, they couldn’t tell. I was still doing my job — I just don’t think I was doing it very well.”

While he was often able to conceal his drinking problem, his addiction was noticed by his wife, Aussie model Lara Worthington (née Bingle).

He said that he was blind to his addiction to alcohol, and it almost cost him his relationship.

“‘You can do what you want, but I don’t need to be around this’,” he recalled Lara saying, adding that she said so with “love, not anger or disappointment”.

Worthington recalled one instance where he downed four or five glasses of champagne before boarding a first-class flight.

Lara said she’d never seen anyone drink so much.

“I couldn’t see it,” he said. “I thought it was normal. I didn’t like who I was. Drinking helped me get through the day.”

Sam Worthington alcohol addiction

Lara and Sam Worthington at the US premiere for Avatar: The Way of Water. Photo: Getty

Worthington drew parallels with Australia’s drinking culture.

“In Australia, it’s ingrained in the society,” he said.

“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.”

Worthington also attributed drinking as the main factor for his less-than-stellar off-camera moments.

Regrets of an ’emotional drunk’

In 2014, Worthington was arrested and charged with assault after hitting a member of the paparazzi in New York City.

In the interview, Worthington said he was an “emotional drunk” and struggled with the attention he received in public.

“I’d go haywire over someone asking me for a photograph or taking a photograph of me,” he said. “If someone approached me, my anxiety would go through the roof.”

Worthington says he has now been sober for eight years.

The Worthingtons will soon also celebrate their eighth wedding anniversary later this month, having wed in December, 2014.

The couple share three children – Rocket, 7, Racer, 6, and River, 2.

Worthington says he has settled and matured considerably since the first Avatar came out, and learnt to manage his emotions.

“In my 30s, I was young and arrogant,” he said.

“The older you get, the calmer you get. When I was young, I’d yell and be hotheaded and be adamant about my ideas.

“If you yield a bit and compromise and communicate, you find something that’s better than anything you’d come up with.”

Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter.
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.