Gerard Butler has perfected the art of self-sabotage, says Erik Hedegaard in Men’s Journal. As a Scottish law student, he visited the U.S. in the mid-1990s and stayed for a year of hard-core carousing. “Sometimes I would leave L.A. and wake up in Florida and think, ‘How did this happen?’” he says. When he returned to Edinburgh, he barely had begun his career at a prestigious law firm when he was fired for showing up at work bombed and breaking bottles over his head for a laugh. He decided to become an actor, and after some forgettable work in the London theater and British films, his macho demeanor landed him the lead role in the Hollywood sword-and-sandal epic 300, which grossed more than $450 million. Suddenly Butler was dating the likes of Jessica Simpson, Lindsay Lohan, and Cameron Diaz.
Butler no longer drinks, but says he nonetheless beats up on himself almost daily, questioning his own success. “Do I spend a lot of time in my own head judging myself? Absolutely. Have I ever thought I was a fraud? Maybe 18 hours a day. The whole banging the bottle against my head thing I did when I was a kid—it’s a metaphor for how I love to cause myself pain.”
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