Mickey Rourke: I got hard not by choice but by survival

·2-min read

Mickey Rourke says he “got hard, not by choice but by survival” as he opened up about his abusive upbringing.

The actor and former boxer said his attitude towards dealing with trauma made him a “scary person to deal with” and he had worried about not being able to “turn the off switch off”.

Speaking on Piers Morgan Uncensored, he said he had spent 23 years in therapy to help come to terms with his traumatic childhood and past.

“I came from a very shameful upbringing and it was very violent, and very physically abusive and mentally,” he said.

“When I left home, like 14 or 15… I was so happy that the physical pain was over, because that was horrifying.

“But I didn’t realise it was going to f*** me up in my head and my way of dealing with people.”

Rourke, who is known for playing tough characters in films including The Expendables and Iron Man 2, said his actions while trying to shut out his past had lead to “alienating” those around him.

“You have a choice… when you are abused physically, at the time I wasn’t thinking about mentally,” he said.

“There comes a time and it happened when I was about 14 and when you are living in shame there is nothing worse.

“You have two choices – you either live in shame, and you become a broken soul or person, or you get hard.

“I chose to get hard not by choice but by survival.

He continued: “As the years passed, and I messed up everything I tried to accomplish.

“I take the blame for it because getting hard with everything and everybody alienated me from people… I became a scary person to deal with.”

“I didn’t know how to turn the off switch off.”

Rourke added that the global coronavirus pandemic had forced him to do “some soul-searching” and revisit “mistakes” he had made throughout his life.

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