Samuel L. Jackson opened up about his struggle with addiction in the latest cover story for The Hollywood Reporter. Hooked on cocaine in the 1980s and 1990s, he entered rehab after his wife, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, and their daughter, Zoe Jackson, found him unconscious in the kitchen. He had been cooking cocaine at the time. When he came to, LaTanya threatened to leave if he didn’t seek treatment.
Jackson was in rehab for four weeks and “hated every minute of it,” but it was through this hardship that he was able to thrive in the role of Gator, a drug abuser, in “Jungle Fever” (1991), written and produced by Spike Lee.
“Jungle Fever was the first thing I ever did without a substance in my body,” he said. “So significantly, when Gator gets killed at the end of that movie, I always look at it as the death of my active addiction,” he explained to Esquire.
Jackson won the Best Supporting Actor award at Cannes for this role in 1991. He stated that Gator was the “best work he had ever done.”