Bam Margera Talks Heavy Drinking, Bulimia, and Growing Up

By Kelly Burch 10/06/17

“At its worst, I would probably just wake up around 11am and instantly start drinking vodka and purple Gatorade."

Bam Margera
Photo via YouTube

Bam Margera built a career out of making people laugh and having fun, whether it was with skateboard stunts or as the star of MTV’s hit show Jackass. However, Margera was dealing with big issues of his own, including bulimia and alcohol use disorder. 

He told Vice’s Munchies that at one point he was eating very little and drinking way too much. 

“At its worst, I would probably just wake up around 11am and instantly start drinking vodka and purple Gatorade. By the end of the night, I would probably have 10 pints worth of it,” he said. “It was pretty bad. It was weird, because there would be times where I would go on a three-day bender of drinking and then five days of not drinking. When that five days ended, I would go on a two-day bender.”

Although vodka and Gatorade was a common choice, Margera said he would drink anything, since he was more focused on escaping his demons than enjoying a beverage. “I just liked getting drunk,” he said. 

The drinking also began affecting his relationship with food. He would often drink all day and not eat anything until the end of the night when he was almost blackout drunk. “One time, I ate a frozen pizza. I was so hungry I didn't even wait to cook it, I just ate it frozen,” he said. “I woke up the next morning just regretting the shit out of it, because for all those calories from pizza and cheese it [should] taste good, obviously. It was just a frozen block with no flavor.”

Bam's struggle with bulimia was first revealed on a recent episode of the Viceland show Epicly Later'd. “When you’re on camera a lot, people have a lot to say," said his mother April. "He always wanted to have this very slim look, and it kind of happened when he became good friends with Ville Valo [the svelte lead singer of HIM]. Ville drank a lot. I mean, he is the loveliest man ever, but he never ate, he just drank. I think Bam started sipping on a beer or sipping on a something because he liked the way he looked.”

Eventually Margera focused on getting healthy—controlling his eating and cutting back on his drinking. He went to Barcelona, Spain, to get back to skateboarding and film new footage. While he was there he allowed himself to have a drink now and then, but made sure to stick to a more healthy drinking pattern, he said. 

“I would go a week to 10 days without drinking, just strictly skating, and there would be that tenth day where I'd be like, ‘I'm in Spain and I want a red fucking wine,’” he said. “Red wine was the only thing I would crave in Spain, I would have a couple of glasses, but usually not more. I was tired of blacking out and not remembering being at pubs pissing all over the window. I know Jackass shit like that is funny, but at 38, you have to realize you're not some college kid anymore.”

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.