Why Daniel Radcliffe Started Drinking During the Last ‘Harry Potter’ Movies

Daniel Radcliffe became an overnight celebrity at the age of 11. And over the course of his eight Harry Potter films, he turned into one of the biggest movie stars in the world. The actor is now opening up about the difficulties of being a child actor, and how he started drinking during the last films of the franchise. 

Daniel Radcliffe
Daniel Radcliffe | Matteo Chinellato/Corbis via Getty Images

Daniel Radcliffe spent his teen years filming ‘Harry Potter’

When Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone premiered in 2001, Daniel Radcliffe was just 11-years-old. The actor spent the next 10 years working on the franchise and played the titular role in all eight movies

Alongside his co-stars Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Tom Felton, and Matthew Lewis, Radcliffe grew up on the set and in the eye of the public. In a 2010 interview with Reuters, he talked about filming the final movie — Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 —and how it felt to leave the franchise. 

Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter
Harry Potter | Warner Bros.

“There was just some very primal reaction,” Radcliffe said at the time. “When you’ve spent 10 years in a certain place with a group of people, suddenly that goes,  you do sort of go ‘What am I going to do now?’ It was bizarre because I knew I was doing a musical next year but that was all done. I knew that was going to happen, and I knew there was a definite option of one of about three films, but at that moment I was really thinking, ‘What am I going to without all of you?’ because it was those people I had learned so much from.”


The actor started drinking heavily during the last ‘Harry Potter’ films

Daniel Radcliffe comes across as one of the most centered actors around, and he always presents himself with poise and maturity. However, in a recent interview with BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, the actor revealed how his immense childhood fame and the media scrutiny drove him to drink.

“A lot of drinking that happened towards the end of Potter and for a little bit after it finished, it was panic a little bit, not knowing what to do next,” said Radcliffe. “Not being — comfortable enough in who I was to remain sober.” 

Harry Potter cast (Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson)at the premiere of Deathly Hallows Part Two
Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson at the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 | Jim Spellman/WireImage

The actor said that even when he was drinking. people would look at him through the lens of his film role. “If I went out and if I got drunk I’d suddenly be aware of there being interest in that because it’s not just a drunk guy, it’s ‘Oh Harry Potter’s getting drunk in the bar,'” he said.

When asked if the pressures of Harry Potter added to his drinking, Radcliffe noted that some of his family members had the disease. “It runs in my family, generations back,” he explained. “Definitely not my mum and dad,  I hasten to add.” 

How Daniel Radcliffe quit drinking

Luckily, the Daniel Radcliffe fans see today is completely sober. When talking to The Off Camera Show, the now 30-year-old revealed how he was able to quit drinking.

'Harry Potter' Daniel Radcliffe coronavirus rumor
Daniel Radcliffe | Jim Spellman/Getty Images

“It took a few years and took a couple of attempts,” Radcliffe told the outlet. “But I think I have been just unbelievably lucky with the people that I’ve had around me at certain times in my life. And I’ve met some really key people, some of them actors, some of them not, who just gave me great advice and really cared for me.”

But ultimately, the actor says the decision to get sober was ultimately his. “I woke up one morning after a night going like ‘This is probably not good,'” he said. “And I don’t miss it, generally, now at all — When I think of the sort of chaos I used to invite into my life, I’m really much happier now.”