Tom Arnold Recalls Staging Intervention for Chris Farley Before Overdose: 'He Did His Best'

“I told him early on, ‘You can’t be super fat and do drugs, that’s death,'” Tom Arnold said of his friend and SNL star Chris Farley, who died in 1997 at age 33

Tom Arnold, Chris Farley
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Tom Arnold is reflecting on his friendship with Chris Farley, and what actions he took as the late Saturday Night Live star's sober sponsor.

In a recent interview with PageSix, Arnold, 63, opened up about his struggle to get Farley the help he needed, discussing his friend's cocaine and heroin addictions.

"I told him early on, 'You can't be super fat and do drugs, that's death,'" Arnold said. "'You've got to make a choice. It's best you don't do either but you cannot do both.'"

The True Lies star recalled the moment Farley was staying at his Los Angeles home when he staged an intervention for the comedian alongside Rob Lowe and one of Farley's brothers.

"He sits down and we tell him how much we love him and we want him to go to this rehab, it's all set up," he told the outlet. "And he's like, 'I'm gonna do this but I need to run back to New York just to grab some stuff,' and that means, go back to New York to get some more heroin."

Arnold explained that Farley only checked into rehab after being convinced by a therapist.

"The therapist said, 'Actually if you come with now, the first thing we do at rehab is give you drugs because we don't want you to have seizures,'" he shared, noting that Farley only agreed because he was excited to be "f—d up" with the drugs.

Chris Farley and Tom Arnold
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The actor said Farley admitted himself into rehab 16 times before he died in 1997 of a drug overdose at age 33. "He did his best, it's terribly sad," Arnold added.

Arnold previously discussed being Farley's sobriety sponsor after the friends were first introduced by SNL creator Lorne Michaels.

"Lorne Michaels called me and he said, 'You have a lot in common with Chris Farley. Would you please spend time with him?'" Arnold said back in 2021 during an interview with Howard Stern.

"You know, he wanted to be sober," he added of Farley at the time. "And I think Lorne really worried about that. So I was his sponsor for a few years."

Describing their relationship as "very close," Arnold said the two comedians bonded over growing up in the Midwest and football. "He liked to have fun," Arnold said of Farley, "he had too much fun. [I was] very sad when he died."

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.

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