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David Harbour says his kitten helped him out of severe alcoholism

Actor spoke candidly about his past addiction

Annabel Nugent
Saturday 03 July 2021 20:32
Stranger Things' David Harbour gives astonishing acceptance speech at SAG Awards
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David Harbour has opened up about the extent of his alcoholism in his early twenties.

The Stranger Things star – who previously had supporting roles in films such as Brokeback Mountain and Quantum of Solace – was born in White Plains, New York.

Harbour found mainstream fame thanks to his role in the Netflix sci-fi drama Stranger Things, in which he portrays Chief Jim Hopper who is seen throughout the series struggling with alcoholism.

In a recent interview with The Guardian, the actor reflected on his own past with alcohol addiction.

The publication reports that Harbour said the problem was so intense that he at one point contemplated killing himself.

Now 46 years old, Harbour said he probably would have gone through with the act had he not owned a kitten at the time.

“What stopped me was going: ‘I love this cat! Who will take care of this cat?’” he said.

“Also I was horrified by the idea of dying in my apartment, not being discovered for a week and having a cat eat me.”

David Harbour and Lily Allen at the 2020 Netflix SAG after party

Harbour eventually found sobriety. He was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder aged 25, which he managed with medication.

In a 2018 appearance on Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast, the actor previously revealed he had been in a 12-step recovery programme for alcohol addiction since his early twenties.

Harbour – who married British pop star Lily Allen last year – will next star opposite Florence Pugh and Scarlett Johansson in Marvel’s highly anticipated blockbuster Black Widow.

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In it, Harbour portrays Soviet spy Alexei Shostakov, aka Red Guardian. Black Widow is slated for a theatrical release on 7 July.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, Samaritans offers support. You can speak to someone in confidence over the phone on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email, or visit the Samaritans website here.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.