Alec Baldwin opens up about family, career and past addiction in new memoir

The actor speaks out about when he overdosed in a hotel room.

ByABC News
April 3, 2017, 8:06 AM

— -- Alec Baldwin, the iconic actor whose career in the spotlight spans more than three decades, opened up about his work and personal life in an interview with "Good Morning America" anchor George Stephanopoulos that aired today.

"In the business ... you got to be lucky, and I have been lucky to some degree," Baldwin said. "But I'm luckier in my personal life. And I'm glad I'm luckier in my personal life. I'm lucky in my family life, and if I had to choose, I'd pick that."

Baldwin, who is the father of four children, spoke candidly about his childhood and his relationship with his father.

"I just was obsessed with work and making money 'cause of my dad," Baldwin said. "They wanted to be happy and they were crushed by debt and money ... and that really drove me nuts.

"I remember, like, I would go my whole life going, 'I got to make money, I got to make money, I got to make money. Don't want to be like my Dad, don't want to be like my Dad," he added.

Baldwin discusses his childhood in his upcoming book, "Nevertheless: A Memoir," as well as his past battle with drug and alcohol addiction. In the book, he even describes when he overdosed in a hotel room, writing, "I have no idea what is happening ... there's a pop inside my chest ... then I black out."

Baldwin told Stephanopoulos that his overdose is something "I've kept, you now, very private for years and years and years."

The actor recalls the exact day he stopped drinking: Feb. 23, 1985.

"I think I would've got it eventually," Baldwin said of his sobriety. "I'm glad I got it when I did, 'cause not many people get sober when they're young. I got sober when I was just about to turn 27. And those two years that I lived in that white hot period as a daily drug abuser, as a daily drinker ... to my misery — boy, that was a tough time.

"There was really, really a lot of pain in there, lot of pain," the actor added.

Baldwin described how the period when he struggled the most with drugs and alcohol coincided with when he got one of his first big roles, on the soap opera "Knots Landing."

He said that his big break as an actor, the film that "changed everything" for him, was "when I went and did 'Hunt for Red October.'"

"To star in a big film, that changed everything for me," he said.

Baldwin also wrote in his memoir that producers replaced him with Harrison Ford in the sequel for "Hunt for Red October."

"Ford, in person, is a little man, short, scrawny and wiry," Baldwin wrote in his book, adding that Ford doesn't have an Oscar, "which must frustrate, if not burden him after his long career."

Baldwin, who was nominated for an Academy Award as best supporting actor for "The Cooler" in 2004, said to Stephanopoulos that he thinks Ford "makes his choices based on an entirely different set of values than me."

In his memoir, the actor confronts some darker aspects of his past, including an infamous angry message that he left for his daughter, then 11, in 2007, that garnered significant media attention at the time. In the voicemail, Baldwin called his daughter a "rude, thoughtless little pig."

In the past, Baldwin has written about that voicemail, saying it caused a "permanent break" in his relationship with his daughter.

Baldwin told Stephanopoulos that he thinks the break is "permanent, insofar as I don't think anybody ever recovers now from things like that, 'cause it's thrown in your face every day."

"I mean, as I mentioned in the book, there are people who admonish me or attack me or spit on me and use that ... as a constant ... spearhead to do that," Baldwin said. "It's a scab that never heals, 'cause it's being picked at all the time by other people. And ... I think my daughter, that's hurt her in a permanent way."

Recently, Baldwin has been making headlines for his wildly popular Donald Trump impression on NBC's "Saturday Night Live."

"So the goal was to make Trump something very simple and very clear," Baldwin said, adding that at times it can be "stressful" to play the role of the 45th president.

"It's stressful to play him because it's not somebody who I am in love [with], you know?" Baldwin explained.

Baldwin said that as a veteran actor, "I've always been kind of not interested in people's survival stories in the business."

"When I was young, people would say, 'I've been in this business for 40 years,' and I'd be like, 'Yeah, OK, great. Good for you,'" he said. "And now I completely appreciate that at my age."

Baldwin's memoir, looking back at his career in Hollywood, hits bookstores nationwide on Tuesday, April 4, 2017.