Mickey Rourke is opening up about his troubled past in a brand new book. Fox obtained excerpts written by Mickey for a new book by PETA president Ingrid E. Newkirk called One Can Make a Difference: How Simple Actions Can Change the World.
In the excerpts, Rourke talks about his abusive father, and how it eventually drove him to drinking and drugs. He says:
“My stepfather used to crack my head just because he felt like it. He was big, very big, and mean. And he was physically abusive to my mother. I hated the f***er for hurting her, for making her afraid. For years, I wanted nothing more than to take him down. In our neighborhood, there was some community services center set up to give kids a place to go and to keep us out of trouble. That’s where I first found a speed [punching] bag. To me, it represented a ticket to manhood.
I couldn’t beat my stepfather, so I guess I started taking it out on everyone else over time. When I was an adult, I would fight everywhere, anywhere, for anything. Look at me sideways and you’re gone. I didn’t care about the consequences. I was drinking and taking drugs. But more than that, I was angry and crazy and ashamed of how I’d been treated. I’d been kicked around a lot, so I figured the way to fix this was to lash out.”
Mickey also says that things got so bad that it ended up ruining his career. Directors stopped wanting to work with him, and his own wife left him.
“I don’t like to talk about it because I still love her, but when my wife walked out, she said ‘You need help!’ and I thought, ‘F*** you!’ She was right; I needed to change, but I didn’t want to change. But one day I looked in the mirror and I saw myself the way others saw me; I saw the armor and I scared the f*** out of myself … Instead of going to a therapist and telling him everything, and I mean everything, it would have been easier just to go to a priest, leave some s**t out, then have him tell me to say some Hail Marys and Our Fathers and that’s that! In fact, I actually did see a priest for a while, a great one who stopped me from blowing my brains out.
We’d go in the basement, he’d pour me a glass of wine, we’d smoke cigarettes, and then we’d pray. But I needed a shrink too, so I forced myself to go. I had to learn not to let people push my buttons, find out what was triggering all this rage, and stop throwing things away. I’ve barely missed a therapy session in over a decade, and that takes willpower.”
Here’s where the PETA connection comes in. Mickey says that having his six rescue dogs by his side helped him to get back on his two feet. He writes:
“I had to look after them and watch out for them, which meant I couldn’t do the things that were not good for me to do. I was sitting in a strip club in London a year or more back. Some drunk guy came up to me and started to pick a fight over something he’d read in the paper about ‘those f***ing little dogs you got!’ I asked him to be nice. He got in my face. I stood up but I didn’t do anything. The bouncers came over and put him outside.
In earlier years, I would have done him in. It’s not easy not to react, but I work on it all the time. I’m a work in progress; every day I have to remind myself to keep on that road.”
Mickey has definitely come a long way in his career and in his life. Thanks to his dogs, and The Wrestler, he’s been able to make a major Hollywood comeback.