Courtney Chronicles (Part 2)
Were you just on crack at the time?
Mostly crack. But I was taking it day and night. Thankfully, that only lasted a few months. It all started off as a joke.
How do you start smoking crack as a joke?
Because you’re out one night with a food star, a rock star, and some hangers-on. Then somebody calls their dealer, and orders up some crack, and you have to prove you’re the life of the party. It's a problem I have.
A few years ago, at Ted Demme’s funeral, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson dared me to walk up to Harvey Weinsten and tell him off. So I did, and then he didn’t talk to me for years. I think he still hates me. The funny thing is, I can’t even remember what I said!
Why did you do that?
Because at the time, people could convince me to do anything. I was fearless. One of my counselors at rehab told me, “You have to stop being the person that does these dares, let some other young…Angelina, let some other sucker do them.” She was right.
For some reason I don’t have the sense of self-preservation that other people do, which hasn’t always won me a lot of friends. But as Gwyneth once said to me, "Once you’re A-list, you’re always A-list," and I try to remember that.
I get offers to do a reality shows nearly every day. But I’m not going to put myself out there and whore myself out. I may be a drug addict, but I still have some self-respect.
When did you first start doing heroin?
The first time I tried smack I was about 16, I guess. It was a horrific experience. At the time, I was working at a dance hall in Taiwan, trying to earn money, so I could afford an apartment in San Francisco. I was utterly broke, so I was sleeping in a bed with a bunch of Brazilian dancers. I got crabs, and I had to get up every night to dance to Gloria Gaynor and Billy Idol's "Rebel, Rebel." After a while, I was like, “Get me the fuck out of here.” All these other dancers were constantly nodding out. We all had to wear numbers on our dress. But I had no money, and they were holding my passport, so I was kind of stuck.
So, one day I went to this doctor’s office and he had packets of Seconal lying around. I started stealing from him. I loved barbiturates, which killed a lot of people—Marilyn Monroe and a whole lot of others. Barbiturates are the most dangerous drugs in the world. Before I met Kurt, I was more or less clean, but then he earned his first million and decided to become a junkie, and I became a junkie along with him.
Soon after, some guy turned me on to heroin, which happened by accident. I was hanging out with some guy, and he offered me a few lines, and I did it because I thought it was coke. The next thing I remember is waking up on a plane to San Francisco wearing a fur coat and a Chinese wedding dress, with $10,000 in my pocket. That was my first real heroin experience. But I didn’t start doing smack regularly till much later. When I moved to New York, I got $500 from my trust fund and tried to stretch it out for a whole month. I didn't spend money on drugs at all.
Did you get them for free?
I scammed them for free. [laughs] There was this guy I knew—this half-Puerto Rican, half-Italian who was known as the “Trashcan Adonis.” He’s clean now and owns a chain of hotels, and he’s on his fifth marriage. But at the time he was working as a teacher at inner-city schools. A really smart guy. He chain-smoked Kools, and did a lot of smack, and he was very generous with me. I’d cop from him every once in a while, but I was determined not to become a junkie.
By this time, I had traveled through Liverpool and Ireland. I'd been exposed to this great school of rock. I hung out with Echo and the Bunnymen and saw New Order’s first concert. I worked on U2's War for a few days. But I also met a lot of really sad, wasted people, and I didn’t want to turn out like them. When I came back to California, I tried hard to stay sober. But one night, my boyfriend at the time, who was working for Ben Stiller, took me to this star-studded party at Charlie Sheen’s house in Malibu. Tom Cruise was there, and Madonna, and my friend Jennifer Finch, who used to be the lead singer of L7. At some point Jennifer—who has been very clean for 16 years now—convinced me to shoot up. “Come on, everyone’s doing it." So that’s when my whole heroin drama began.
I finally quit in 1996, when I gave my word to [The People vs. Larry Flynt director] Milos Forman that I would not do any drugs while he was filming that movie. In the beginning they made me take pee tests, but after a few weeks they stopped. When I give someone my word, I keep it. I promised I would never shoot heroin again, and I haven't, except for one incident in July ’05, where I shot myself up on purpose to kill myself.