Gerard Butler: “I didn’t care if I died in my sleep”

Gerard Butler said his alcoholism left him not caring whether he lived or dies (Picture by Siebbi)

HOLLYWOOD star Gerald Butler has revealed his battle with alcoholism left him wanting to die in his sleep.

The Paisley-born actor, who has starred in films such as 300 and How to Train your Dragon, hit the bottle while studying law at Glasgow University.

By the time he graduated he had a serious problem, and eventually got fired from his trainee role with a top law firm.

He said: “I’d gone from a 16-year-old who couldn’t wait to grasp life to a 22-year-old who didn’t care if he died in his sleep.”

He added that the experiences as an alcoholic helped in his preparation for his latest film role.

In Machine Gun Preacher he plays Sam Childers, a man who went from being a Hells Angel inAmericato helping disadvantaged children inAfrica.

Butlerwas able to identify with the real-life Childers when he met him prior to filming.

He said: “I know what it’s like to feel lost, crazy, aggressive, fearful and to be screaming at the world that you have no use of purpose and the best thing to do is go down screaming and take as many people down with you as possible and get really f***ed up along the way.”

Butler has now been tee-total for more than a decade.

Butler made his comments to a Scottish-based newspaper ahead of the film’s release.


He said that Sam Childers had been sceptical about the actor’s ability to portray him.

He said: “I know he had his doubts, he has doubts about all of Hollywood to be honest.

“I think anybody like that will think ‘He’s an actor, how can he be a badass? But I am.”

After visiting Mr Childers at his Pennsylvania home, Butler said he was able to connect with the man who saved children from militia group, the Lords Resistance Army.

He said: “I connect with people who have a lot of pain. Much as I could have fun with Sam, I really connected with him when he talked about his life or the guilt that he felt. It made me want to hug him and do justice to the story.”

In the film, Butler portrays Childers who was born to a religious family in Pennsylvania.

He fell into a life of crime and drugs, eventually becoming an armed guard for drug dealers.

After meeting a stripper named Lyn, who would go on to become his wife, he was reintroduced to the church and started his own construction company.

In 1998 he travelled to Southern Sudan to repair huts damaged by war.

During the mission he discovered the body of a child which had been ripped apart by a landmine.

From then on he dedicated his life to helping people in the area, establishing an orphanage and rescuing children kidnapped by the Lord’s Resistance Army.

In the 13 years since the founding of the Angels of East Africa children’s village it has cared for and educated more than 1000 children.