Michael Caine Details Alcoholism In Memoir: I Drank Two Bottles A Day

By Victoria Kim 10/31/18

The iconic actor credits his wife with helping him overcome his alcoholism. 

Michael Caine

Actor Michael Caine owes a lot to his wife of over 40 years, he says. The British star, famous for his cockney accent, was in a difficult place when he met model and actress Shakira Baksh.

“By an immense stroke of good fortune, Shakira arrived in my life just in time,” he writes in his new book Blowing the Bloody Doors Off: And Other Lessons in Life.

“The empty feeling vanished and she got on my case. Then, to top it all, she got pregnant and I was given a second go at fatherhood, and soon I got myself straightened out.”

Around the time they met, Caine was in his forties and drinking too much. “I was never bombed on set, but I thought that a small vodka for breakfast was nothing to worry about, and in the early 1970s I was drinking two bottles of the stuff a day,” he wrote.

Meeting Baksh was life-changing for the film veteran, now 85. “I gave up alcohol entirely for a year and now I never drink during the day, and with dinner it’s just wine. Shakira literally saved my life.”

The couple married in 1973. The Italian Job actor also discussed his past life as a heavy drinker in a previous interview with the Radio Times in 2016. “I was a bit of a piss artist when I was younger. I used to drink a bottle of vodka a day and I was smoking several packs a day,” he said at the time.

His habits were fueled by anxiety over working in film. “Am I going to get another picture? How will I remember all those lines? I’ve got to get up at 6 a.m. and I hope the alarm works.”

Baksh was able to calm him down. “Without her, I would have been dead long ago. I would have probably drunk myself to death.”

As for non-alcoholic vices, according to the Telegraph the actor didn’t care much for them.

“He smoked a spliff once at a London party during the Sixties and got the hysterical giggles so badly, no taxi would take him home. He had to walk from Mayfair to Notting Hill and swore he’d never do drugs again,” the Telegraph reported.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr