"My dad didn’t really get sober until I was 19," Ben Affleck told The New York Times

By Dana Rose Falcone
February 19, 2020 10:26 AM
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Ben Affleck is reflecting on his family’s history in hopes of bettering his future.

“There’s a lot of alcoholism and mental illness in my family,” the actor, 47, told The New York Times in an interview published Tuesday. “The legacy of that is quite powerful and sometimes hard to shake.”

Affleck, who has been open about his own struggles with addiction, is starring in an upcoming sports drama The Way Back, which echoes his own experience with alcoholism and divorce.

He says his father, Timothy, was also an alcoholic. “My dad didn’t really get sober until I was 19,” notes the actor.

The legacy of mental illness and substance abuse reverberated throughout his life. He also had an aunt who was a heroin addict, The New York Times reports. His paternal grandmother died by suicide in a motel when she was 46, and an uncle ended his life with a shotgun.

Celebrity Sightings In Los Angeles - January 22, 2019
Ben Affleck
| Credit: Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Now a father to three children he shares with ex-wife Jennifer Garner, as well as a recovering alcoholic, the star says, “The older I’ve gotten, the more I recognize that my dad did the best he could.”

RELATED VIDEO: Ben Affleck Reveals He Completed Rehab for Alcohol Addiction: ‘I’m Lucky to Have the Love of My Family’

Affleck says it took years to admit his own struggles. “It took me a long time to fundamentally, deeply, without a hint of doubt, admit to myself that I am an alcoholic,” he continued to the Times. “The next drink will not be different.”

Still, as Affleck continues to work on his recovery, he acknowledges, “It’s not particularly healthy for me to obsess over the failures — the relapses — and beat myself up.”

Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck in The Way Back.
| Credit: Richard Foreman/ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

“I have certainly made mistakes. I have certainly done things that I regret,” he added. “But you’ve got to pick yourself up, learn from it, learn some more, try to move forward.”

The Way Back opens March 6.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.