Although he is now widely known as the villain of Netflix series Stranger Things, Jamie Campbell Bower’s first breakout role was in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street back in 2007.
He went on to feature in Twilight: New Moon in 2009, playing ruthless ancient leader Caius, and starred as the young Gellert Grindelwald in the first part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows the following year.
Jamie was in his early 20s when his mainstream success started to grow, and he has now revealed that this was the same time that he found himself struggling with drug and alcohol addiction.
Jamie ended up taking time away from acting as he traveled abroad with his band, Counterfeit, before making his epic TV comeback earlier this year.
The star has always been open about being in recovery, and in 2019 he told i-D that he’d learned that the “most important thing” that he can do is be open about how he is feeling.
“I’m in recovery,” he said. “So one of the first things that they teach you when you’re in recovery is to be super honest about what it is that you’re feeling, like guilt, shame, fear, sadness, whatever it is.”
“The most important thing is, and it’s the hardest thing to do, is just express exactly what it is that you’re feeling,” Jamie added.
And on Wednesday, Jamie, now 33, posted on Twitter to do exactly that, as he reflected on how far he has come since he was in “active addiction.”
The actor also opened up about being hospitalized for his mental health while in the depths of his struggle, and how it impacted his relationship with loved ones.
Giving the same timestamp as when Twilight was released, Jamie said: “12 and a half years ago I was in active addiction. Hurting myself and those around me who I loved the most.”
“It got so bad that eventually I ended up in a hospital for mental health,” he went on. “I am now 7 1/2 years clean and sober. I have made many mistakes in my life but each day is a chance to start again. Atone for mistakes and grow.”
Jamie went on to offer advice and support to anybody currently struggling, saying: “For anyone who wakes up thinking ‘oh god not again’ I promise you there’s a way. I’m so grateful to be where I am, I’m so grateful to be sober. I’m so grateful to be.”
“Remember, we are all works in progress,” he poignantly concluded.
The star’s followers shared their admiration as they thanked him for his honesty, with one person replying: “I cant explain how proud I'm of you, you're so strong. We all make mistakes, we're supposed to, because we're humans and nobody is perfect."
Another wrote: “Thank you. For reclaiming your soul, for sharing with the world, for becoming a beacon of hope. I rejoice for you & feel more at peace with my own time in psych hospital for your courage & candor. I love you unconditionally, as do all pure peers and allies.”
Another echoed: “Thank you so much for sharing this with us Jamie. Very proud of you. ‘We are all a work in progress’ is such a beautiful way to describe it and I'm sure your words will help a lot of people. You never fail to put a smile on my face.”
Jamie’s public profile has skyrocketed since his acclaimed performance in Stranger Things earlier this year, with his character taking on four different forms.
The most notable is, of course, him as monstrous Vecna in the Upside Down, and many viewers were stunned to learn that he wore the full costume for those scenes in lieu of CGI or a body double.
In fact, Jamie spent seven and a half hours in the makeup chair before filming in Vecna form, and also perfected the monster’s infamous growling voice himself. He told Screen Rant: “I loved talking in the voice. That was always my favorite thing, talking in the voice.”
“So, at the end of a long day, the things that were coming out of my mouth in the Vecna voice were always very interesting and very funny,” he said.
And although his character is the villain of the show, Jamie’s performance has seen him surge in popularity in the real world — and it’s something that he is more than happy to embrace.
Speaking to Vanity Fair about the reaction to his role, the actor said: “It’s fine, it’s lovely. You can’t stop the internet. The internet is a hive mind in and of itself, so you just have to release control at a certain point and just go, ‘Do what you need to do. You’ll calm down in a minute.’”
But with fans already counting down the days until Stranger Things Season 5, it’s unlikely that the hype surrounding Jamie will calm down any time soon.