I just adore man that little
When you’re told your child will never walk, pain takes on a whole new meaning
Six years on from becoming sober and saving his Hollywood career from slipping down the drain, today Colin Farrell is immensely relieved that the stage of his life he calls ‘ the extreme phase’, is over. These days, the actor’s obsessions are his two sons and his healthy lifestyle — and he gives constant thanks that fatherhood has given him different, and more wholesome, appetites.
He’s been single for quite some time now, with not even rumours of the usual celebrity hook-ups doing the rounds. He turns 37 in May and, with the passage of time, Colin is starting to look a lot more serious and, God forbid, mature. Looking back over the past two decades, he now admits he might never had gone into the acting profession if he knew at 17 what he knows now.
‘Removing alcohol from your life does allow you to look at stuff that it was covering up. If I had the level of health I have in my life now when I was 17, I don’t think I would have become an actor,’ he says, in all seriousness. ‘I love stories and I love film, but I wasn’t brought up in an artistic house. Maybe the reasons I got involved in this profession are cloaked in intellectualism.
‘I wanted to be the centre of attention and I wanted to figure out my emotional life and it gave me an opportunity to do that. I grew up in a house where emotions weren’t really spoken, so acting did offer a container for that. But a lot of why I became an actor was to do with wanting to be popular and wanted and needed and all that s**t.’
Back home in LA now, after shooting in New York for five months, Colin is looking very fit. Yoga has become a passion and has given him a lean and toned physique, as well as mental calmness. He says he’s enjoying acting more since he stopped drinking and that, although he shows up at the Beverly Hilton with an entourage, he identifies with celebrity less and less, despite its perks.
‘ The idea of celebrity is so fickle and means so little. On a practical level, I have experienced fame and celebrity in conjunction with earning certain amounts of money where I can take care of both my boys, particularly James [ his older son, whose mother is US model Kim Bordenave, suffers from the rare neurogenetic disorder Angelman syndrome].
‘I could put my grandparents in a really nice home when they were headed towards the end of their lives and make sure they were taken care of. That’s what my experience of fame and celebrity led to. Those are the good things. The others things are built on a system of fallacy, of an illusion and when you experience it, you get to cancel the illusion that it will make you happy.
‘Don’t get me wrong,’ he clarifies. ‘While it can bring great things, I’m just railing against the idea of identifying with celebrity too much. I just don’t.’
It’s almost like a mantra with him, but fatherhood seems to be the gift that keeps on giving. Although he has about four months off a year and he’s paid in the region of US$10m per movie, Colin says he would like to work even less so he can spend even more time with his two sons, James and Henry [three, by the Polish actress Alicja Bachleda- Curus, whom he met on the set of Ondine]. ‘ By the time I’m 45, I don’t want to be doing two or three films a year. I really don’t have the interest. I’d much prefer to be at home with my kids. I’m not at that stage yet but hopefully as time passes...
‘I find it harder and harder to leave the kids because I miss them so much. They visit me and we’re constantly trying to figure it out, but the hours are hellacious and the work is quite tiresome. I like acting more than I used to, but ideally I’d like to work less ss so that I can be at home with the boys.’
Despite his legendary hellraising, womannising past, Colin has been single for some e time, so the question of introducing new girllfriends to his sons does not arise. When I ask k what is happening on the dating front, he tells ls me frankly, ‘Nil. Nada. Nothing. I don’t have e any women to introduce them to. I’m not even n joking. I did, for a long time, but not now. I’m m glad I knocked the chaos and all the other er stuff on the head and the ampl itude e of the first stage when I arrived in America. a. If I look at it like a chart, it’s been pretty y f*****g extreme over the years and it doesn’t ’t seem to be now.
‘It’s weird,’ he muses. ‘I could have a film m that does a nickel at the box office or I could d win an Oscar and yet somehow inside me [I don’t feel like I want] to ever do this again. n. I’m so glad that that chapter is over because e — although it was a lot of fun — it was also a lot of chaos and I feel more grounded now.’
His older son, James, will turn nine this year and continues to require very intense ongoing care and physical therapy. Despite the challenges, it’s clear that the child’s presence in Colin’s life has been a wholly positive one. ‘James is one of the two greatest things that’s ever happened to me by a long shot. When your child is born with a certain level of adversity that’s different from the