Colin Farrell Talks Sobriety With Ellen DeGeneres

By Kelly Burch 05/10/17

Farrell announced that he was 10 years sober on a recent episode of "Ellen."

Colin Farrell on "Ellen"
Photo via YouTube

Colin Farrell appeared on Ellen this week, touching on his 10 years of sobriety before giving an awkward celebrity confession that left the host doubled with laughter. 

Farrell recalled how he used to dread when comedian Ricky Gervais would introduce him at awards shows. “He’d say something like ‘I hate the clichés, and Hollywood is full of them, things like ‘All Irish people are overblown drunken alcoholics’… ladies and gentlemen, Colin Farrell,’” the actor recalled.

Farrell said the joke wasn’t too bad, particularly since he had been three years sober at the time. “It could have been worse,” he said, joking that he was happy he hadn’t stumbled onstage and proved Gervais right.

DeGeneres congratulated Farrell on 10 years of sobriety as the audience applauded. “You look fantastic,” she told the actor who turns 41 this month.

Farrell went to rehab after filming Miami Vice in 2005. “It was interesting because I couldn’t remember a single frame of doing it,” he told The Mirror in 2013. “I was at the premiere and didn’t know what was happening next. But it was strange because I was in it.”

As soon as filming ended, Farrell was sent to rehab. “The second it was finished I was put on a plane and sent to rehab as everyone else was going to the wrap party,” he said. 

His family and friends had been pressuring him to look into rehab, and he realized that he had finally lost control over his drug use and drinking. “I'd gotten out of control—for years I could indulge in certain things," he said. "I had quite a high tolerance for various drugs for years, I thought. It accumulated to the point where I couldn't put my foot on the brake anymore.”

Ultimately he realized that he needed to get sober in order to be a good father to his son James, who was born with Angelman syndrome, a condition that causes seizures, difficulty with motor skills, and difficulty speaking. 

“We share in the smallest victories—the first words at age six or seven, being able to feed oneself and getting the seizures under control. When James took his first steps at age four, I nearly broke in half,” Farrell told The Mirror. “My proudest moments are moments I’ve experienced by proxy. James is dynamite, he’s magic, his trials and tribulations. He’s a little bit more unique than most.”

“To watch him face the hurdles in front of him, it’s an inspiration,” the proud father added. “My greatest success is watching him achieve his goals.”

On the Ellen show, Farrell did a “celebrity confession,” which resulted in a $10,000 donation to James’ school, The CHIME Institute. “They have helped my son realize his potential in a way that me and his mother would never have thought possible.”

Farrell’s confession was about doing his first sex scene in an American movie. “I had what you could refer to as ‘retro bush,’” he said, explaining that he went to the hair and make-up team to ask for a beard trimmer to prepare himself. 

“I looked down and I had a little landing strip—a lovely, lovely little landing strip,” he told DeGeneres.

Watch Farrell play Celebrity Confessions with Ellen below: 

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