Michael K. Williams – Posthumous Memoir Of Late Actor Reveals How ‘Intense’ Acting Roles Caused Him To Relapse
Michael K. Williams is proof that you never really know what a person is going through.
The Wire and Lovecraft Country star gave his all to whatever character he portrayed. However, his intense roles frequently caused him to relapse, though viewers would never be able to detect he was struggling with drug addiction.
He opened up about his life and career journey in his upcoming posthumous memoir Scenes From My Life. In reference to his breakout role in The Wire, he shared how he was “so beat down emotionally” at his audition for the role of Omar Little, that it ultimately led him to stay clean.
Michael K. Williams says,
“Shooting in Baltimore for season 1, I was as sober as I’d ever been, barely even smoking weed. I treated the job like my life depended on it because in some ways it did. By that age, I’d been on the addiction/relapse merry-go-round enough to know how things could unravel once drugs entered the picture.”
The late actor continued by sharing the downside of putting your all into a character, noting that “you wake up that sleeping beast.” Michael K. Williams was a series regular by season 2, residing in a luxurious apartment in Baltimore. Because of his contract, he was compensated nicely whether he appeared in an episode or not. As his income increased, so did his purchases of crack cocaine.
In his memoir, he writes,
“I had more money and more time on my hands. My demons had room to play. On days I wasn’t shooting I started getting high on crack and cocaine again, until I was completely broke. When season 2 wrapped, I could no longer afford the rent on that beautiful apartment.”
Williams was open about his drug addiction for years. His memoir also reveals how he binged cocaine for three days prior to meeting former president Barack Obama, who was a fan of his due to The Wire. His drug addiction kept him from being mentally present so much, he was embarrassed at how out of touch he was at the time.
According to his memoir,
“I’d just come off a three-day cocaine bender and was whacked out of my mind….I couldn’t even put my words together. I was such a mess. Obama shook my hand and I could see it in his eyes. He was like: I don’t got time for this. He kept it moving. I was not in my right mind. I told people I was nervous but actually I had lockjaw from too much cocaine.”
Williams‘ memoir details how he would frequently relapse as a result of subsequent challenging roles, such as Lovecraft Country. In a previous interview, the Emmy Award-winning actor discussed having to seek therapy because of the toll the character of Montrose Freeman had on his mental health.
At the time, he said,
“It took me on an emotional and mental rollercoaster that I was not prepared for personally.”
“I just started therapy, you know, and really taking that seriously and starting to unpack, like you said, the critic in my head and what and how that has affected my — my actions, my responses to certain situations, my relationships.”
Williams passed away in September 2021 at the age of 54 due to a laced drug overdose.
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