Samuel L. Jackson got honest about his past at the Hollywood premiere of The Legend of Tarzan
Samuel L. Jackson says his wife and daughter gave him the courage to “save” himself.
At the premiere of The Legend of Tarzan in Hollywood on Monday, the 67-year-old actor praised his wife, LaTanya, and daughter, Zoe, for giving him the tough love he needed to overcome his drug and alcohol addiction.
“You look into people’s eyes at a certain point, and you realize that they’re not punishing you, they’re actually telling you the truth. That you are at a point now that you can go this way [or] you can go that way,” he told PEOPLE at the premiere. “You have to look in the mirror and say to yourself, ‘Okay, I really need to do this for myself.’ And you become a very selfish individual.”
“They’re very important in that process,” the actor said of his wife and daughter. “But the most important thing to do is to save yourself first so that you can be of service to those people that you love, and they made me understand that. It was great.”
The comments came just one day after Jackson took home the lifetime achievement award at Sunday’s BET Awards. In his acceptance speech, Jackson spoke honestly about how his wife and daughter pushed him to seek the help he needed at one of the lowest points in his life.
“They found me passed out on the floor after I left somebody’s bachelor party and put my a– in rehab the next day and supported me and pushed me and give me a reason to get up and go and chase it day after day,” Jackson said.
He also spoke candidly about his substance abuse issues to The New York Times in 2012, noting that, during his days in theater, he would drink in between acts.
“I was a great alcoholic and drug addict like actors of old,” he said, mentioning his rehab stint in the ’90s. “I did the 12 steps, yada, yada, yada … I was tired of the way I felt on drugs.”
The Legend of Tarzan swings into theaters Friday.
• Reporting by REAGAN ALEXANDER