Simon Pegg reveals battle with depression and alcohol abuse in revealing new interview

The Shaun of the Dead star has spoken openly to Empire about his illness and recovery  

In a candid interview with Empire magazine, Simon Pegg has revealed that he has struggled with depression and alcohol abuse in the past.

Whilst Pegg has hinted about suffering with mental health issues in the past, this is the first time the 48-year old star has revealed the full extent of his difficulties.

Speaking to journalist Chris Hewitt in Empire, the star explained that the depression began just as his career was beginning to take off: I was depressed. I had always been susceptible to it. But at the same time as I started to ascend into what would conventionally be regarded as a success, I was going down.”

He continued: “The more material success presented itself to me, the less I could understand why it wasn’t fulfilling me in any way. It wasn’t that it wasn’t fulling me, it was because I was depressed. It’s not a mood. It’s a condition.”

The star described turning to alcohol in order to deal with the depression.

“I just drank more heavily…Eventually I crashed out. At Comic-Con in 2010 — I’ve never told anyone this — we were promoting Paul and I sort of went missing for about four days. I got back to the UK and just checked myself in somewhere.”

The actor explained that after seeking help, he recovered in 2010 although he still finds it difficult to look back at his illness.

“I got well in 2010. I stopped drinking. I got a little bit of help. If you look at Burke & Hare, I’m bloated and fucking dead-eyed…I look at it now and think, “Fuck me, I was in a dark place then.” I was drunk a lot of the time and I was profoundly unhappy.”

After being cast as Benji Dunn in the Mission Impossible series alongside Tom Cruise, Pegg said the team there helped him when he was at the peak of his struggles.

“They took care of me and it helped me to get out of this dark place and realise that life was enjoyable. By the time I finished Ghost Protocol, I was better.”

“J.J. [Abrams] unending faith in me makes me teary to think about it. He’s always stuck by me.”

The revelations come in one of Pegg’s busiest years to date. Pegg has starred in Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, appeared alongside Oscar nominee Margo Robbie in the film noir Terminal and the next Mission Impossible – Fallout will hit cinemas on July 28th.

Pegg has also teamed up again with Nick Frost to write and produce Truth Seekers, a new television sitcom about a team of paranormal investigators. The sitcom is being made via their new production company, Stolen Picture, and will see the stars returning to TV for the first time since Spaced last aired in 2001.

The actor also revealed that he will be directing his first film later this year.


The full interview with Simon Pegg is in the current issue of Empire magazine, on newsstands now.