• The Hollywood Reporter on LinkedIn
  • Follow THR on Pinterest

Dennis Quaid: Cocaine Used to Be 'in Budgets of Movies'

The "Soul Surfer" star opens up about his former addiction in an essay he penned for Newsweek.

Dennis Quaid revealed that his "greatest mistake" was his former addiction to cocaine in an essay he wrote for Newsweek.

The actor, who is in theaters in the Bethany Hamilton biopic Soul Surfer, wrote that he became addicted after moving to Los Angeles in 1974 to pursue an acting career.

"It was very casual at first," he wrote. "That’s what people were doing when they were at parties. Cocaine was even in the budgets of movies, thinly disguised. It was petty cash, you know? It was supplied, basically, on movie sets because everyone was doing it. People would make deals. Instead of having a cocktail, you’d have a line."

Quaid wrote that it was hard for him -- coming from lower-middle-class family in Houston -- to handle his sudden fame, which he didn't feel like he deserved, and cocaine helped.

"By the time I was doingThe Big Easy,in the late 1980s, I was a mess," he wrote. "I was getting an hour of sleep a night. I had a reputation for being a 'bad boy,' which seemed like a good thing, but basically I just had my head stuck up my ass."

He said he realized he needed to seek help one night after his band, the Electrics, played a show and then broke up, "just like in the movie The Commitments, because it all got too crazy."

He said he suddenly came to the realization that he would be dead in five years if he didn't clean himself up.

After going through rehab, his career faltered with bombs like 1993's Wilder Napalm.

"But that time in my life -- those years in the ’90s recovering -- actually chiseled me into a person," he wrote. "It gave me the resolve and a resilience to persevere in life. If I hadn’t gone through that period, I don’t know if I’d still be acting. In the end, it taught me humility. I really learned to appreciate what I have in this life."

Soul Surfer opened in theaters Friday, grossing a better-than-expected $11.1 million to land at No. 4 at the weekend's domestic box office.The movie also stars AnnaSophia Robb and Helen Hunt and features Carrie Underwood in her film debut.