Will Arnett Reveals He Relapsed While Working on Netflix Series 'Flaked'

By May Wilkerson 04/05/16

Seeing himself headed down a “dark path,” Arnett reached out to a friend he had helped get sober years earlier.

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Will Arnett Reveals He Relapsed While Working on Netflix Series 'Flaked'
photo via Shutterstock/Helga Esteb

Art imitates life in the new Netflix series Flaked, in which Will Arnett plays a struggling alcoholic who attends AA meetings while hiding his relapses.

The actor, perhaps best known for his role as Gob Bluth on Arrested Developmentrevealed to the Hollywood Reporter last week that while working on the show, he had his first drink in 15 years. “Hardly anybody knows this,” he said, “but I started drinking again.”

Arnett says he first began drinking heavily in 2000 after the cancellation of his sitcom, The Mike O'Malley Show. The actor “spent four or five months doing nothing and feeling sorry for myself,” he said, before a friend intervened and helped him get sober with the help of AA. He maintained his sobriety for a decade and a half, in time for his career to take off.

But while working on Flaked—a show he wrote and stars in about a man in recovery from alcoholism—Arnett began questioning his own sobriety. “As I was writing all this shit and I start shooting it, I started getting confused about where I was at,” he said.

"I described it at a meeting recently like a whistle off in the distance for a train you know is coming for you," said Arnett of his urge to drink. "It was a bummer, but it happens. And for me, it happened as easily as it had [the first time]: It was right there."

Seeing himself headed down a “dark path,” he reached out to a friend he had helped get sober years earlier. The actor has now been off booze again for a few months and is attending AA meetings. He credits fatherhood—he has two sons with ex-wife Amy Poehler—with motivating him to get back on track. “I’m not the smartest guy in the world, but I’m smart enough to know that this is not where I want to live,” he said. “And I’m a dad now, a parent first and foremost.”

In March, Arnett spoke about creating the show, which was loosely modeled on his own recovery. “You can't say that it's not accurate, because it's my experience,” he said. "I'm shedding a little light on my relationship with my own sobriety, which at times has been tricky at best."

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/ @alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.

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