Lee Daniels says that while it’s “a bore,” his sobriety is very important to him.
“I’m angsty and I’m sober, so that is really weird to be going to the Met Ball and to other social activities not intoxicated,” the “Empire” creator told New York Magazine. “I hate f–king being sober. It’s a bore. It’s a f–king snooze.”
Daniels, 59, said he initially got into drugs and alcohol because his father couldn’t cope with his being gay.
“I don’t do anything. It’s really hard, but believe me, I’ve done enough for everybody,” he shared. “I never really even liked to drink, but I drank because my father told me if he ever saw me with a man he would kill me. And until I was 22, I had to get drunk to actually go through with the process. And then the drug scene came.”
The start of the AIDS epidemic only furthered Daniels’ addictions, as he turned to drugs and alcohol to help numb the pain of all the people he had lost.
“And then all your friends start dying of AIDS. Not one, not two, not three, I’m talking intimate friends that you’ve had sex with, you’ve had dreams with, hopes with, people that are better souls than you, gone,” he explained. “And you can’t figure out, ‘Why the f–k am I still here?’ So then it was like me on drugs and drinking, not even knowing I was an addict but just erasing all the pain.”
Still sober, “The Butler” director didn’t use when dealing with the fallout from Jussie Smollett’s allegedly staged racist and homophobic attack, though he certainly struggled in dealing with it.
“I’m beyond embarrassed. I think that when it happened, I had a flash of me running from bullies,” he recalled. “I had a flash of my whole life, of my childhood, my youth, getting beaten.”
Though Smollett was cleared, Daniels admitted he’s still skeptical.
“Of course, there’s some doubt,” he said. “I’m telling you that because I love him so much. That’s the torture that I’m in right now, because it’s literally if it were to happen to your son and your child, how would you feel? You would feel, ‘Please, God, please let there be that glimmer of hope that there is some truth in this story.’ That’s why it’s been so painful. It was a flood of pain.”
Daniels, who wrote Smollett out of the fifth season of “Empire” and confirmed he wouldn’t be returning, also admitted he never read the news coverage surrounding the case because he was “too busy putting out fires,” but he ultimately decided to distance himself from Smollett and the controversy because it was affecting his personal life.
“I had to detach myself and stop calling him, because it was taking away the time I have for my kids, the time I have for my partner,” Daniels shared. “It was affecting my spirit and other shows, everything.”
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