Michelle Tauber
July 19, 2010 12:00 PM

Jeremy London arrives at the Chateau Marmont hotel in Los Angeles looking puffy-eyed, pale and bone-tired. “I sleep less than one hour a night,” says the actor, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, sipping iced tea. “Every time I try to close my eyes, all this stuff in my head starts back up.”

For London, 37, the past few weeks have been intensely, strangely head-spinning. The Party of Five alum-a recovering addict who opened up to PEOPLE in May about his longtime battle with prescription drugs-has been making headlines since June 10, when he was involved in what he calls “this weird, freaky incident.” That day, the actor claims, he was held at gunpoint and forced to use drugs by several men who had helped him change a flat tire in Palm Springs, Calif. In a July 2 interview with PEOPLE, London publicly recounted his alleged 12-hour ordeal in detail for the first time. Among his claims: The men found $600 he says he had in his rental car for auto repairs and used it to buy Ecstasy. They then pointed a gun at London and demanded he smoke a drug that “felt like getting kicked in the head by a horse.” Says London: “I was acting my way through the whole thing, telling myself, ‘Just play like you are one of them.'”

Palm Springs police have since arrested suspect Brandon Adams (see box), and a police spokesperson says there is no reason to question London’s version of events “at this point.” But London’s family-including his actor twin brother, Jason, and mother Deborah Nielsen-have cast doubt on his story, claiming that the incident suggests he is again abusing drugs. Says Jeremy: “The feeling I got was that the best thing I could have done was get killed … and then they could make a TV movie about me, and maybe [Jason] could get a chance to play me. Although I would hope they would opt for a stronger talent than that.” In a statement to PEOPLE, Jason said, “We are used to him lashing out. It’s what addicts do, but we will never let these things keep us from loving him and wanting him to get the help that he needs.”

London insists he is not using drugs again and says the regular urine tests he takes as part of his fight to win back partial custody of 3-year-old son Lyrik back him up: “I haven’t tested dirty. Ever.” But dealing with London can be a confusing swirl of excuses and murky details. Even he acknowledges that the twisted tale of his kidnapping is “outrageous. If I heard somebody saying this, I would probably doubt it as well.”

According to the actor, he had been in Palm Springs visiting Lyrik and his estranged wife, Melissa Cunningham, 39, when he got a flat tire and was helped by strangers who then asked for a ride. London-who says he got sober last September-claims the men forced him into the backseat and demanded he do drugs with them as they drove around. At one point “I said, ‘I’m a recovering addict.’ And [one of the alleged kidnappers] said, ‘Then you know what you’re doing.’ I was so scared.”

London says he was eventually dropped off near a hotel, where he called police. “I said, ‘You have to forgive me, I am high as a kite.’ It was tough trying to tell the story.”

Now London says he is focused on seeking justice and spending time with Lyrik. “I feel like God is testing me to make sure I stay strong for my son,” says London. “I’m not going to let this destroy me.”

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