The First Reformed actor, 47, revealed his marriage to the actress began to fall apart after he earned an Oscar nomination for the 2001 film Training Day.
“In a lot of ways, it could have been the beginning of something. It was the best moment of my career,” he told GQ in its August issue of his nomination. “Like, ‘Maybe, maybe you could be commercially viable.’ But I got divorced and my personal life fell apart.”
Hawke, who has two children with Thurman, said he was “depressed” at the time and struggled with the ascension of his career while his marriage began to dissolve.
“I don’t know if you feel this way, but when you’re depressed, it’s really easy to see everything that is fake about other people and life, and I just started seeing that,” he said. “How phony celebrity was, how phony everything is. You channel your inner Holden Caulfield, you know?”
RELATED VIDEO: Ethan Hawke Walks the Red Carpet with Daughter Maya One Day After Teen Joins Stranger Things Cast
While it wasn’t easy getting past his depression, Hawke said he was lucky to have a support system to help him through it, including his two children with Thurman, 20-year-old daughter Maya and 16-year-old son Levon Roan.
“Work. Theater. My kids,” he said. “That’s the wonderful thing about children is they just need you every day. It gives your life balance. Meaning your whole life isn’t just about yourself.”
The father of four is now married to actress Ryan Hawke, and the couple shares 10-year-old daughter Clementine and 7-year-old daughter Indiana.
Despite being nominated for an Oscar four times in the past, Hawke said he’s accepted movie roles solely to pay alimony.
“My best movies are not the ones that paid me: the Before trilogy, Boyhood, First Reformed, Dead Poets Society,” Hawke said. “But I’m 47 years old. I pay my alimony with my acting. I pay my kids’ health insurance with my acting. I pay everybody’s tuition with my acting. I’m helping various charities with my acting.”
He continued, “I’ve become a professional, and I never wanted to be a professional. I kind of hate professionals. And so when I get left alone in a room for a second and I get to be creative again, I’m like, ‘Okay, Ethan you get to make a movie.'”
Hawke’s daughter Maya is following in both of her parents’ footsteps having been recently cast in the third season of Netflix’s Stranger Things.
In March, Hawke told PEOPLE at the Sundance Film Festival he was beyond proud of his daughter.
“Words cannot explain,” he said. “She was always an artist, writing poems, singing songs. She didn’t discover acting until junior year of high school.”
In January, his daughter starred as Jo March in the BBC adaptation of Little Women.
“It’s one of the most amazing moments of my life watching her in Little Women,” Hawke continued. “She didn’t do a good job, she did a great job. To see your child thrive, and to see her thrive at a profession that you have a lot of respect for, that I’ve dedicated my life to, I was so proud of her.”