All that changed when he was talent spotted by some visiting casting directors. But along with the success came addictions.
In 2005 Rhys Meyers checked himself into the Promises rehabilitation facility in California for his problems with alcohol (his mother, who died last year, was also a heavy drinker). In 2007 he returned to the facility to maintain his sobriety. A few months later he was arrested in Dublin Airport and charged with being drunk and in breach of the peace, and last year in Paris at Charles de Gaulle Airport he was arrested again for being abusive and threatening to airline staff.
The Irish, let’s face it, have a higher threshold for the bad behavior associated with drink, but even Rhys Meyers had crossed it. Clearly he has a significant and ongoing problem.
Of course his fans say cut him some slack. At the end of 2007 he lost his mother Geraldine, to whom he was exceptionally close, and they say he should mourn her and work though his grief in whatever way he can.
There’s something to be said for that point of view. But when his behavior becomes so riotous and loutish that he makes a nasty public spectacle of himself then sympathy turns to contempt.
In Hollywood producers and studios are well used to eccentric behavior from the stars they employ. But actual racial abuse, whether its directed at a person or simply used as an epithet, is considered such bad form it can actually end your career, so if he did indeed use the “n” word during this latest confrontation at United Airlines, it could cost him dearly.
Rhys Meyers is walking on a particularly perilous tightrope this week and his publicists must be working around the clock to contain the fallout.
Some speculate that Rhys Meyers is imploding because his public face conflicts sharply with his private one, and the tension between the two is always erupting. After Elton, a gay U.S. based website, has listed him as number 44 on its Gay Icon List (although he has denied all the rumors about his orientation).
The truth is we don’t yet know what’s behind his self-destructive behavior. But Rhys Meyers is no fool and fans must be hoping he can still pull it together to fight his own addictions.
As he said himself in an interview just before his latest public drinking binge, “Growing up in Ireland, I saw many a handsome young man walk into the bar with great dreams. Then I saw the same man sitting there 15 years later, still nursing the pint.” Let’s hope he can remember that.