Ethan Hawke opens up about the one thing—other than his children—that helped him through dark times

By Gillian Telling
September 06, 2018 11:59 AM
Advertisement

To deal with depression, some people go to therapy, while others exercise or take medications.

But actor Ethan Hawke, who recently admitted he went through tough times after his 2005 divorce from Uma Thurman, says that other than his kids, there was one thing that really lifted his spirits again: The theater.

“I’ve never been anti-Hollywood,” says Hawke, 47, who has been busier than ever as of late, releasing three film projects in the past four months. “I just really decided that I needed to get close to what I really love about what I do.”

ethan-hawke-uma-thurman
Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman
| Credit: Rabbani and Solimene Photography/Getty; Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

The Juliet, Naked star and director of the new biopic Blaze (who also starred in First Reformed in May) adds, “If you live long enough, sometimes you have to have a gut check moment—and the theater has been that for me.”

Hawke, who split from Thurman in 2005 and recently celebrated his 10th anniversary with his second wife Ryan Hawke (with whom he has daughters Clementine Jane, 10, and Indiana, 7), says he loves doing stage work between film projects because it brings him back down to earth.

TimesTalks with Ethan Hawke, New York, USA - 23 Aug 2018
Credit: Griffin Lipson/BFA/REX/Shutterstock

“It’s much harder,” he says. “It requires a higher level of discipline. Nobody goes to get you coffee. You don’t get paid a lot of money. You’ve got to get yourself to work everyday.” He adds, “You get to keep your sense of humor.”

RELATED: Ethan Hawke Walks the Red Carpet with Daughter Maya One Day After Teen Joins Stranger Things Cast

For more on Ethan Hawke, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on stands now.

Though Hawke has been busy with his movies over the past three years, this winter he’ll be back on Broadway in the play True West, with actor Paul Dano.

“I started actively thinking, “S—, it’s time to get on stage again. It just feels like what I should be doing next. I spent a lot of energy on these three movies, with directing, then doing a really serious movie, and then a comedic performance in Juliet, Naked. I feel ready to go on stage.”

As for his incredibly varied career? Hawke, who is also a novelist and screenwriter, says, “Curiosity makes life so much fun. When you start losing your curiosity, then everything just kind of gets sanded down and all the joy diminishes. If you’re looking at everything with the eyes of a student, it all becomes dynamic again.”