Bryan Cranston Thought About Killing Girlfriend Who Overdosed

By Zachary Siegel 07/15/16

In his upcoming memoir, Cranston discusses his experience with a former girlfriend who, unbeknownst to him, was an addict. 

Bryan Cranston Thought About Killing Girlfriend Who Overdosed

You probably know him from Breaking Bad as the meth-making murderer, Walter White. Or if you’re older, as the pathetic dad from Malcolm in the Middle. But now you can get to know the real Bryan Cranston in his new memoir A Life in Parts. Spoiler: it’s littered with drugs and murder, much like his latest roles

In an interview with The Daily Beast’s Marlow Stern, Cranston describes the book as “an autobiographical memoir of short stories I’ve told of things over the years that have happened during my life.” Cranston tells Stern in devastating detail a few of the stories that appear in the book. One in particular describes a scene about a girlfriend of his who overdosed on drugs while he was with her. 

“I had a girlfriend that was very much addicted to drugs—unbeknownst to me,” he began. “I wasn’t aware enough, or she was incredibly stealthy in taking the drugs, that I never saw her taking the drugs in the year that I was with her, so it was confusing to me how her behavior was changing and aggression was increasing. I couldn’t understand it.”

Cranston continues, “It was confirmed when she OD’d and I took her to the hospital emergency room and the doctor came out and said, ‘Are you the boyfriend? We’re pumping her stomach, she OD’d. I need to know exactly what she took.’ And I said, ‘I don’t know,’ and he got very angry with me because he thought I was lying. He said, ‘What did she take? Do you want to save your girlfriend’s life?!’ I felt foolish and impotent to not be able to be of any good to myself, to her, to the situation. It was a horrible condition to be in—a great lesson to learn—and it took its toll.” 

The story takes a dark a turn when Cranston describes his emotional reaction to his girlfriend’s overdose. “The end result was having a moment of out-of-body clairvoyance that I could kill her,” he said. “I saw myself able to kill another human being, which I had never felt before, and it scared me. It really scared me to my core.” 

Stern makes an astute observation from the story above. “The whole ordeal,” Stern says, “seems strikingly similar to that which befell Jesse’s junkie girlfriend Jane, who Cranston’s Walter watches overdose and choke to death on her own vomit, failing to intervene.” From this bit, one could glean enough data to suggest Cranston is much more like Walter White than that quirky, suburban dad. 

Find out for sure by reading his new memoir.

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Zachary Siegel is a freelance journalist specializing in science, health and drug policy. His reporting has also appeared in Slate, The Daily Beast, Salon, Huffington Post, among others. He writes often about addiction, sometimes drawing from his own experience. You can find out more about Zachary on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.