Actor Wes Bentley is one of the most recognizable faces on TV, thanks to his role as Jamie Dutton on the megahit western TV show Yellowstone—but 14 years ago, his life was very different. Bentley, 44, was addicted to cocaine, heroin, and alcohol, even getting arrested in 2008 for heroin possession and attempting to use counterfeit money.
This was a far cry from his promising breakout role in the 1999 movie American Beauty when he was just 21. Bentley did turn his life around after meeting his now-wife, Jacqui Swedberg. Here's what Bentley has to say about hitting rock bottom and the woman who saved him.
Bentley was in bad shape in 2009. He was starring in a Stephen King adaptation called Dolan's Cadillac but didn't have high hopes for the future. "This is probably my last acting job," he told himself. "I'm going to be a drug dealer and a D.J." And then he met Swedberg, an associate producer and assistant director.
A Different Life
Bentley says meeting Swedberg made him realize he wanted more from life. "Before I was like, I'm partying, fine, but I can stop this," he says. "Now it was like, 'Man, I can't stop this, and I really want to.'" He started attending 12-step meetings and realized a different life was possible. Bentley and Swedberg have been married since 2010.
Bentley has been sober since July 5, 2009. These days he deals with excess energy by hiking and playing soccer. "I have a constant stream of energy," he says. "That's what led to my addiction. I needed something to react to that energy."
Bentley says playing the role of Jamie can be overwhelming. "He's incredibly sad," Bentley says. "I've always dealt with my sadness with things like comedy, or humor, or drugs at one point, or trying to just ignore it and finding another way out of it. But you can't do that when you're trying to portray someone's sadness. You have to let it be there. That's been the hardest part of it all, and it's weighed on my life a little bit."
Bentley believes everything he went through helped him get to this point. "I believe in fate, and I believe I went through all that, caused all that, and experienced all that, because I was going to get here," he says. "There are many things that I regret, but I'm just so happy with my life."