‘Yellowstone’ Star Wes Bentley Calls 1 Star’s Shocking Death the ‘Biggest Loss of My Life’

ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS

  • Yellowstone star Wes Bentley stuggled with drug addiction after finding success at a very young age.
  • Bentley admits he hit rock bottom multiple times.
  • He calls the shocking death of one particular star the “biggest loss of my life.’
Yellowstone season 4 star Wes Bentley
Wes Bentley | Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images

Yellowstone star Wes Bentley shot to fame in 1999 when he starred in the Oscar-winning film American Beauty. But after finding such massive career success at a young age, Bentley says he spiraled into drug addiction. While he was at his lowest, his best friend died of an accidental drug overdose. Bentley admits that this was the “biggest loss” of his life.

The ‘Yellowstone’ star didn’t struggle with addiction until adulthood

Bentley was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, and both of his parents were heavily involved in the United Methodist Church. His dad David is a minister, and his mom Cherie is a chaplain and ordained elder in the Arkansas Conference. After he graduated from high school in 1996, Bentley went to the Juilliard School’s Drama Division.

He told Larry King in 2015 that when he was growing up, he never had problems with drugs or alcohol. He says his drug problem happened “in a matter of days” due to the pressures of his early fame.

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“I didn’t do anything in high school. I was one of those kids in high school who looked down on people who smoked pot or you know partied and even drank,” Bentley said on Larry King Now. “It really became a problem in 2006 when it really started to take hold of me and the drugs got harder and I got deeper in it.”

Wes Bentley hit bottom multiple times

Bentley and his then-wife Jennifer Quanz separated in 2006, and he moved to an apartment where he could do heroin full-time. He says he worked just enough to pay his bills and fund his drug addiction.

“I started considering things like selling [drugs] and DJing for a living instead of acting,” the Yellowstone star explained. “Some people have one bottom, I had ten or twelve bottoms. A friend who passed away. I had no money. I lost contact with my family.”

The ‘Yellowstone’ star says Heath Ledger’s death was the ‘biggest lost’ of his life

The “friend who passed away” that Bentley was referring to was Brokeback Mountain star Heath Ledger. He says that early in their respective careers, they always pushed each other to be better.

“Whenever we got together, especially early on, we were all about pushing ourselves to be better. Not just as actors, but with our lives, too — the way we approached relationships, reading and writing poetry,” Bentley said.

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In January 2008, Ledger died from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. Bentley says that this unexpected loss is the biggest of his life.

“He was like a brother to me. We were close friends, we worked on Four Feathers together in 2000 and since then we had become very, very close,” Bentley revealed. “We had good times and bad times … [his death is] the biggest loss of my life.”

Wes Bentley and Heath Ledger were ‘as close as two people could get’

According to Nicki Swift, Bentley eulogized Ledger via a public statement. He wrote that at one point, they were “as close as two people could get without being blood.”

Bentley said their close bond was due to “sharing a similar, life-altering experience… at a young age where very few could relate.” He also noted that being a rising young star in Hollywood “would have been isolating, not to mention boring” without Ledger.

The actor also confessed in 2013 that throughout the 2000s, he would turn down meeting with big name directors like Christopher Nolan because he “wasn’t bringing his A game to any of them.” And Ledger got his role in Monster’s Ball because Bentley “pulled out at the last minute.”

“He asked me to do this for him to get him out of trouble. It was a great opportunity for me… It was a nice gift from Wes,” Ledger said in 2005.

The ‘Yellowstone’ star says finding love turned his life around

Bentley says that he doesn’t know if he could have come back from his addiction struggles and had a career resurgence without Ledger. He also credits Jacqui Swedberg — who Bentley married in 2010 — as sparking the change he needed in his life.

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“I finally met someone who I loved and that kind of turned it around and then I met somebody who was sober and I wanted what he had,” he says. “And then I worked really hard. I still work really hard.”

New episodes of Yellowstone air Sunday nights on the Paramount Network.