How Simon Pegg’s Depression Led to Addiction

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The writer and actor kept his alcoholism hidden for years before finally getting sober.

Simon Pegg has had an impressive career as both a writer and an actor. He’s created cult comedy hits like Shaun of the Dead and been an integral part of two major film franchises: Star Trek and Mission Impossible. For science-fiction fans like myself, his full list of credits is truly awe-inspiring.

Throughout much of his public success, though, Pegg was also secretly struggling with depression and addiction. In an interview with The Guardian’s Tim Jonze, Pegg said that he had realized he had depression at just 18 years old, which was well before his film career had even begun.

For Pegg, drinking was a way to self-medicate. Interviewer Tom Jonze succinctly sums it up: “He would feel sad, he would have a drink, he would feel better.”

Even as his career skyrocketed, his mental health struggles continued, including his addiction. While filming many of his biggest hits, he was in the midst of his alcoholism.

Pegg explained to Jonez that it was easy for him to keep his addiction hidden. “I’m an actor, so I acted,” he said. In his experience, addicts weren’t at all the disorganized stereotypes as which they’re often portrayed. Instead, “they are incredibly organised. They can nip out for a quick shot of whiskey and you wouldn’t know they have gone.”

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