Dax Shepard reflects on messy 2004 Conan interview in which he fell over while ‘blackout’ drunk
Dax Shepard continues to share his addiction journey after his relapse last year.
The Parenthood actor, 46, appears on Thursday’s episode of Blake Griffin’s podcast The Pursuit of Healthiness and talks about his “lowest moment” amid “multiple, multiple [rock] bottoms.” He detailed an out-of-control and dangerous trip to Hawaii, during which he smoked crystal meth, and being so out of it on Late Night with Conan O’Brien in 2004 that he was banned from the show.
“In popular television shows and pop culture, we do have this notion of ‘a bottom,’ but most of the recovering addicts I know, there’s multiple, multiple bottoms,” Shepard said in a preview clip. “There’s multiple suicidal ideation moments.”
He said for him, he would always get sober for film roles. He previously detailed how he did it for his first movie 2004’s Without a Paddle and then 2006’s Idiocracy. However, before he was to sober up to make 2005’s Zathura, he went on a trip to Hawaii where things turned dangerous. He got in a car accident there while going to buy cocaine — and the cocaine turned out to be meth, which he used anyway.
Shepard recalled the “super dangerous” trip during which he was “smoking meth” to Griffin and saying he was so “physically sick from this week in Hawaii that I’m not even going to be able to get on that plane unless I get like a good 6 or 7 Jack and Diets in me. So I’m at the bar,” at the San Francisco airport waiting for his connection home to L.A. “and I’m just pounding Jack and Diets and there’s a mirror next to me — and I’m also paranoid someone from AA is going to see me because I had been sober before — so I’m like tucked into the corner of this bar, I’m so afraid someone’s going to see me.”
The star, who got his start on Punk’d, continued, “I’m about to start a movie and make the most amount of money I’ve ever made in my life, people in Hawaii recognized me, I’m now famous. And I recognize: I have every single thing I’ve ever wanted, and I’m at my lowest point emotionally and something has got to be very broken about that. If I have everything I said was going to make me feel good and I feel terrible, I’ve got to look at some other thing” inside that he was trying to mask by using drugs and alcohol.
Shepard, who’s now married to Kristen Bell, said it was the “scariest place you could be.” Also around that time, he appeared on Conan O’Brien’s then-talk show — and it was messy, per another podcast preview. He did a pre-interview with producers to come up with talking points for his appearance but did so while “blackout” drunk. Twenty minutes before he was to be on the show, a security guard woke him in his hotel bed. When cameras rolled, he could barely walk — or make a sentence.
“I show up on the show, I don’t know what he’s talking about,” Shepard recalled. “I can tell he’s queuing me up for stories I’ve told, but I don’t know any of the stories. So, I’m just doing what I can to be funny out there and I am a mess.”
At one point, he fell over a chair and broke a table.
“Now, the audience dug it,” Shepard said. “It was fine for the audience. But for him, what a disaster. I didn’t know any of the stories. I broke a coffee table. So I was banned from that show for some years, until I got sober and I got myself back on it and now I’ve been on it a bazillion times, but that was probably the only career wreckage-y thing I did.”
In September, Shepard — who shares two children with Bell — revealed on his own podcast, Armchair Expert, that while he claimed to be 16 years sober, he had secretly relapsed, taking pills like Vicodin and Oxycontin. At the time, he was seven days sober but said for eight weeks prior, he’d been on pills “all day.”
Shepard said that while he got sober in 2004 after battling an alcohol and cocaine addiction — and celebrated his annual sobriety milestones publicly — he started being “shady” with pills in 2012. Some of stemmed from pain from various injuries, but he also took a Percocet with his late dad before he died, saying that the only thing they had in common “was we were both f****** addicts.”
He regularly speaks about his addiction on Armchair Expert, including recently with guest Prince Harry.
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