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‘Harry Potter’ Star Tom Felton Says Emma Watson Encouraged Him to Write About Rehab Stints and Escape in New Memoir

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"Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2" New York Premiere - Arrivals - Credit: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

“Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2” New York Premiere – Arrivals – Credit: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

British actor Tom Felton, who played Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter film franchise, credited his co-star and longtime friend Emma Watson with encouraging him to write about his struggles with alcoholism and multiple stints in rehab in his new memoir.

In Beyond the Wand: The Magic and Mayhem of Growing Up a Wizard, Felton says he began drinking more heavily after he moved to Los Angeles, “craving normality” in the thick of Hollywood. It took Felton several tries to get sober, and he says his first stint in rehab didn’t last long, with the actor walking off the grounds after just a few days.

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In an interview with USA Today, Felton said he initially wasn’t going to share the story about his escape in his book, but he said Watson convinced him otherwise.

“Emma was a big force of encouragement to be like, ‘This will resonate with people,’ ” Felton said. “It wouldn’t really seem right just to talk about all the fluffy stuff. … After encouragement, I was given a bit more confidence in myself to go, ‘You know what? This happened, and this is part of my life.’” (Watson also wrote the foreword for Beyond the Wand.)

Felton added, “She’s one of the first people I think I’d spoken to about [the book], really. I was slightly reluctant to talk about my family about my personal life, about not just the great moments, but some of the bad ones too. There’s obviously gonna be trepidation about sharing that with the world. She was a massive influence to say, ‘No, put it all out there. Trust yourself. People will really connect with this.’”

In the book (via Entertainment Tonight), Felton admits he started “drinking to escape a situation,” writing, “I went from being not particularly interested to regularly having a few pints a day before the sun had even gone down, and a shot of whiskey to go with each of them.” He adds that he soon began to drink on set and would show up “unprepared” for work.

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Eventually, Felton’s agents, managers, lawyers, and then-girlfriend, Jade Olivia, staged an intervention and convinced Felton to enter rehab (Felton writes that his team threatened to drop him as a client if he didn’t go). He shares a surreal anecdote from the day he arrived at the facility when the nurse checking him in offered to give him a name tag with an alias due to his celebrity.

“If people recognize me from the Harry Potter films, it’ll be because of my face,” Felton writes. “It won’t be because of what’s written on my name tag. You could write ‘Mickey F**king Mouse’ on my chest, and they’re not going to think I’m him.”

Despite the brevity of that stay, Felton says the experience still gave him some clarity. After ending things with Olivia, he decided to check himself into a different facility, calling that program “life-changing” and crediting it with helping him recognize the “state of absolute numbness” he’d been living in. Still, Felton bristled at some of the rules and ultimately got kicked out after being found in another woman’s bedroom.

Though Felton wrote that his life seemed back on track after that, a couple of years later, that aforementioned “numbness” returned. He again sought help but said it was “one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make.”

Felton goes on to admit that he still struggles with mental health issues, but he doesn’t want to keep them tucked away. “I’m no longer shy of putting my hands up and saying: I’m not okay,” he writes. “To this day, I never know which version of myself I’m going to wake up to.”

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