If anyone knows there’s not fate but what we make, it’s John Connor.
Edward Furlong shared a fantastic update this week after a rough several years — and it has us filled with hope for the Terminator 2 star’s future.
After rising to fame as a teen in the ’90s, Furlong spent his 20s in a downward spiral of drug abuse that we frankly grew to expect would claim his life. He spent years doing meth and heroin, getting in trouble with the law over and over — even losing custody of his then-6-year-old son after allegedly exposing the boy to cocaine. If that was rock bottom, he didn’t bounce back from it right away. It took six more years to get clean.
But at 44 years old, the former child star is five years out from his last arrest — and has revealed he’s four years sober! Whoo!
In an interview with DailyMail.com, the American History X actor spoke out after finishing filming on a new project, a movie called Charlie’s Horse, in Texas. Speaking about returning to the big screen after several years, this time having kicked his bad habits, Edward gushed:
“It feels great to be back on set and sober too. I didn’t feel hungover when I went to work. There’s other sober people at work which is weird because if you’re not sober, you’re not hanging out with the other sober people. It was cool.”
On whether this is a whole renaissance for Furlong, he teased:
“I really enjoyed it and I feel like I can be more in the moment. I love to work. We’ll see what happens.”
It would be really great to see.
Edward became a star overnight due to the enormous success of T2. Recalling that whirlwind experience for DM, he mused:
“The whole thing was a shock. I don’t know if I ever completely absorbed it. Picked up from nowhere, just auditioned for it and before I knew it, I was doing it. I was in the movie. When I look back on it, I’m like damn, that’s pretty crazy. When I was younger, I was pretty driven and somehow manifested that into my life.”
Hilariously, amid that blur he does specifically remember learning how un-glamorous the whole Hollywood thing is — it’s just a lot of folks doing a job that results in the magic you see onscreen:
“I remember the first day like it was yesterday — getting up at four in the morning and really hating life. Getting to set and just seeing how a hundred people are doing different jobs. There’s so much that goes into it and learning very quickly that this is actually a really boring process. When you’re running away from a piece of tape or whatever and then you see it all together with the music — you’re like wow, these people really know what they’re doing. It’s pretty wild!”
Unfortunately becoming a star was the worst thing that could happen to him because of how few parental figures were in his life taking care of him. He was set up to fail because he didn’t have any guardrails, as he explained:
“When I was younger, I didn’t have too many people looking out for me and I was left to run wild. I didn’t know how to manage my money. If I was older, I wouldn’t have made so many bad decisions.”
Edward says he felt impostor syndrome in Hollywood, feeling like he “was pulling something over on everyone” and would get caught. But he didn’t feel like he fit in with other kids either because he was living, as he puts it, “a very un-normal life.” But the drugs made that anxiety go away:
“When I was high, I had camaraderie with other people. Just drinking and partying. All of a sudden, I felt like I was with people and I fit in somehow. That’s how it started.”
He started partying every day. What people saw was a hot young actor walking the red carpet with the likes of Paris Hilton. But behind the scenes things were just getting more and more depressing. Weed and alcohol became cocaine and heroin. Partying became binging. He explained:
“It’s a whole other thing when you get to the hard drugs. In my twenties, I was partying and wanting to go out every night, but I was so tired and I’d be drunk and want to do more cocaine so I could wake up and drink some more. But that all spirals into, now I’m whacked out of my head and want to go to bed, so now I need something to put me to sleep which would be Xanax or heroin. Then I’m not even going to parties anymore — I’m just wanting to do the coke and come down and I’m sitting there alone.”
He clarified he’s not trying to sell some kind of D.A.R.E. message — just relaying his own experience:
“I know it doesn’t turn into that for everybody. I’m not anti-drugs or anything. I know it turns into that for me.”
His marriage to The Ring actress Rachael Bella lasted only three years. It was long enough for him to have a son, Ethan. But becoming a father didn’t slow him down. Even nearly dying didn’t stop him from using. He says:
“It’s amazing I’m still alive — there were a couple of close calls. I definitely OD’d but that’s the cycle you know.”
It was an arrest in August 2016 that finally set him on the right path. At his 2017 sentencing hearing he was offered probation — if he completed six months in rehab. Instead he went for a year. It was the hardest thing he ever did:
“Once you get in there, it’s so hard to see a way out. That’s what I’d want people to understand — there is a way out but it’s hard. It’s the bravest thing I’ve ever done in my life to not use. I’m not someone who likes to be controlled by anything or anyone and I didn’t want to be a slave to it anymore.”
It worked — and is still working today! He said:
“I’ve learned as time goes on, it’s easier than I thought it would be. I like myself better, people definitely like me better sober.”
Everything is different now, including with Ethan. He proudly revealed:
“My son and I have a wonderful relationship. I like how simple my life is these days. I get to wake up and not worry I’m going to go to jail. I’m not hungover and wondering what I did last night. There’s so many awesome things and reasons I do it for. I hope to keep it up.”
He added happily:
“It’s the greatest thing I’ve ever done. I’m blowing myself away every day. It’s cheesy when I get those year chips but I can’t wait to get my five-year chip.”
That’s so great to hear! Now he’s focused on getting the rest of his life back in order! He told the outlet:
“Things are slowly turning around and I just want to get my life back to what it was and what I was doing in the first place.”
It’ll take more than being sober to get back to being a movie star. He admitted:
“I f**ked over so many people when I was on drugs, gaining back the trust of the people that work with you when you’ve flaked on them so much is a long process. It’s like the friendship that happens after a bad breakup — people are learning to trust me again. It’s great and things are slowly starting to get going again.”
In addition to Charlie’s Horse, Edward has two other projects coming up, a crime film called Karma, and a supernatural thriller called The Endless Whispers. Sounds right up the alley of the Crow: Wicked Prayer star.
But coming back to acting required a big undertaking — he had to get his teeth completely replaced. Sadly his natural choppers had mostly rotted away from the years of meth use. The only option was all new implants; so he went to Global Implant Dentistry, an LA-based company that specializes in just that. And what they did was miraculous, as you can see from their Instagram before-and-after pics (below):
Edward says at first he was terrified at the idea of what was left of his natural teeth being “ripped out” and replaced, but he had to do it — for his mental well-being in addition to his dental health! He said:
“It sounds weird for me to be talking about teeth because I don’t live and breathe the way I look but every time I looked in the mirror, it just bummed me out as a reminder of what I had done for all those years.”
After the fact it was clear it was the right choice. He said with his shiny new smile:
“It’s nice to get a second chance. It was a no-brainer, I’m super glad I did it.”
We’re glad Edward is doing so much better! So glad to hear a good update about someone the world had basically given up on!
It’s still a lot of work the Detroit Rock City alum has in front of him, but he’s doing it every day! We look forward to seeing him at the movies again!
[Image via HBO Max/Edward Furlong/Instagram.]