Jeremy Renner Opens Up About Bitter Divorce: 'There's a Light at the End of the Tunnel'

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Jeremy Renner thought he looked 'like s--t' in this photo shoot for Playboy magazine. (Playboy)
Jeremy Renner thought he looked 'like s--t' in this photo shoot for Playboy magazine. (Playboy)

For Jeremy Renner, doing crazy stunts in action movies is easy. Getting divorced? Very, very hard.

The Mission: Impossible 5 star is opening up about his contentious divorce from Sonni Pacheco and their bitter custody dispute over their 2-year-old daughter Ava. The 44-year-old, whose marriage lasted just 10 months, says the battle — which was settled in April — took a toll on him physically.

"I haven't slept more than four hours a night in the past week," Renner said in Playboy's July/August issue. "My skin's breaking out. I've got dark circles under my eyes. I'm dehydrated. I look like s--t. I felt pretty insecure walking into a photo shoot this morning, and I was running late because I had just gotten out of my fourth deposition for the divorce."

He continued, "I see anything that takes me away from my daughter, whether it's something good like making Mission: Impossible 5 or something bad like my divorce, as a distraction and an obstacle. Now, if anything takes me away and I don't get to see her, I just won't do it. I don't care what you pay me. All my energy goes toward her and her well-being. We split the time with Ava equally now. When it's Daddy and Ava time, that's all I do."

A lawyer for Pacheco argued in court papers that Renner's home was "unsafe," citing firearms that weren't stored properly. Renner spoke about his guns ("I have only a couple") as well as knives in the interview.

"For me, it's for home protection or sport shooting or target practice," Renner said. "I’m not a hunter. I spent a lot of time training for movies, shooting, and getting comfortable with weapons. There's no fear for me ever in a weapon now. I also have a few swords, but that’s because of what they mean to me; there's a lot of history behind them. They're all tucked away and hidden now that I have a baby."

Renner and Pacheco in happier times (Fame Flynet)
Renner and Pacheco in happier times (Fame Flynet)

Now that he has a daughter, he's also retired from flipping houses. Renner and his longtime business partner, Kristoffer Winters, bought, fixed, and resold 20 houses together, living in them — sometimes with no water or heat — while doing renovations. Although it was lucrative (one that they purchased for $7 million sold for $24 million), he's done with that now too. He now resides a 1960s-era house, where the interview took place.

"This will be my daughter's place in the future," Renner said of the house. (He also has a vacation home in Lake Tahoe.) "I own it now, but Ava owns me. When she drew her first breath and with that palmar reflex grabbed my finger, the thought came to me, If all goes well, this same scenario will happen when I take my last breath."

While his life has changed a lot since he became a dad, there are things Renner — who spoke about the lingering rumors that he's gay in the interview ("F--king say whatever the hell you want about me," he said, clearly tired of the topic) — won't change and he's unapologetic about it. For example? He still drives a motorcycle and plans to start helicopter lessons.

"Has having my daughter, Ava, stopped me from doing that? We can croak at any moment doing the stupidest things," Renner said. "It would be a great disservice to her if, when she was older, she thought, Dad stopped riding motorcycles or started getting soft and protective of his own life because he wanted to be around for me. What message does that send? That living life with fear is a good thing? I’d rather that she knows I’d go out with a smile on my face living accountably, consciously and responsibly in my actions."

Renner's daughter Ava (Instagram)
Renner's daughter Ava (Instagram)

Despite his breakouts, dark circles, and sleepless nights caused by his divorce, Renner made it clear that he's a happy man thanks to his daughter.

"You’re talking to a guy who’s really happy in his f--king flip-flops right now with his little daughter in her pajamas running around in the house, waiting for me," he said. "I've been born with a lot of love and still have even more love in my life. I'm a man like anybody else. I'm accepting of my flaws and of the good and bad things in my life. Even though there are some crappy things going on in life, I know there's a light at the end of the tunnel."