Gerard Butler Once Shared That Getting Into Acting Saved His Life

Actor Gerard Butler has carved out a successful Hollywood career for himself. But the profession was more than just a means to make a living for the star. Butler once confided that acting played a significant part in saving his life.

Gerard Butler originally wanted to be a lawyer

Gerard Butler posing while wearing a white shirt.
Gerard Butler | Valerie Gache / Getty Images

Acting wasn’t Butler’s first career choice. The Law Abiding Citizen star originally had his sights set on becoming a lawyer. Although Butler believed he was more than capable enough to practice law, it was a field he quickly lost interest in.

“Becoming an actor was a massive transformation for me, but I didn’t have the heart to stick it out as a lawyer. I would have made a good one, except I hated the work – I was partying every night and I got fired. But my bosses also knew that acting was my passion,” Butler once told Square Mile. “They were very realistic with me and said I should just go and do what I really wanted to be doing instead of wasting my time at the office. They were right.”

Butler’s lawyer ambitions proved to be useful to his acting career after all. The star felt that studying law helped mold his ability as an actor.

“I feel a lot of my acting skills came when I was training as a lawyer because every day was a performance to me. I was pretending to be a type of character in the office that really wasn’t myself, as if I was somebody of that ilk who was interested and curious and passionate. In truth, I wasn’t really. It had its moments, but so does a root canal,” he confided to Jetset.

Gerard Butler once shared that acting saved his life

Butler once admitted to being a bit of a troublemaker in his youth. From his mid-teens to early twenties, the 300 star admitted to living a directionless style.

“I know what it’s like to feel crazy, lost, aggressive, fearful and to be screaming out at the world that you have no use or no purpose and the best thing to do is to go down screaming and take as many people with you as possible and get really f***** up along the way,” Butler once told Seven (via Yahoo).

But finding acting gave Butler exactly what he needed. It not only gave him the direction he was seeking, but he credited it for saving his life.

“If I hadn’t found acting, it seems very easy to say that I’d be dead but yes I’d be dead. But to find that I could act, make a living out of it and challenge myself, tell stories, affect people,” he said. “When I grew up, I loved watching movies and coming out wanting to take the world on, wanting to fall in love, wanting to be as cool as Spencer Tracy or Steve McQueen. And to think that I can now have that impact on people is a beautiful thing.”

Gerard Butler considered quitting acting after a motorcycle crash

Butler once revealed that he’s had a few difficult times in his personal life these past three years. Apart from losing a loved one during a breakup, he was involved in a serious motorcycle crash. The injuries he sustained from this accident made him second-guess his career choices.

“It all happened at the same time. Actually, during this last three years I’ve had a bunch of stuff going on health-wise, that at one point made me reconsider my whole career,” he said in an interview with News AU. “I had a surgery that went wrong, which then became seven surgeries. I had a motorcycle accident that almost killed me and I suddenly thought, ‘There has to be something more.’”

Although the Geostorm star is grateful for his career, he’s wondered if there’s more he can do in the world.

“The things I’ve been through, not as an actor but as a person, make me think about a different kind of impact I could leave behind. So it’s started me on a full-blown quest, which I’m in the middle of right now,” he said.

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