Darker Times In Guy Pearce's Life

Guy Pearce made a name for himself on the long-running Australian soap opera "Neighbours," which he was cast in back in 1985. Since then, the actor has gone on to star in a number of projects, including "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert," "Mare of Easttown," "Jack Irish," and more. In 2022, Pearce returned to "Neighbours" to reprise his role as Mike Young in the show's finale. The actor talked to What To Watch about making his way back to the show that made him famous. "It was surreal! I'm an incredibly nostalgic person anyway, so I've always wanted to step back into 'Neighbours' at some stage and, with the sad news that the show is finishing, it seemed like the appropriate time," he said. "Thankfully, I was planning a trip back home anyway, so it just worked."

Even outside of his impressive career, Guy Pearce has lived a rather eventful life. He welcomed his first child in his late 40s, and he's opened up about what parenthood has been like at this point in his life. "Having a young child at the ripe old age of 53 is a lot," Pearce said in an interview with Who. "But I am focused on spending all the time I can with him and being the best dad I can be." While it seems that the Australian actor is in a good place now, he has endured quite a few hardships. Keep reading to find out more about the darker times in Guy Pearce's life.

Guy Pearce's father died in a plane crash

Guy Pearce had a difficult childhood due to a heartbreaking tragedy his family endured. According to NJ.com, the actor's father, who was a test pilot for the Royal Australian Air Force, died in a plane crash. Pearce was only 8 years old at the time, but he felt he had to step up for his mother and sister after the tragedy. "My mother was very clever," he told the outlet. "She never said, 'Now you have to step up and be the man of the house and take care of your sister' — which I did anyway. But what she did in a very loving way — and this is very wise in a parent — was to keep saying 'Oh, Guy, it's so wonderful you're so responsible!'"

While speaking with Daily Mail, Pearce revealed that he traveled to his father's home country of New Zealand to learn more about what he was like. The actor asked his father's sister, "'I want to know the bad stuff about him — when he lost his temper when he did sh***y things.'" Pearce shared she revealed that his dad would sometimes swear when he'd been drinking. "It helped give me a more rounded picture of him, instead of making me put him on a pedestal, and it allowed me to put him away a little bit, I guess," the actor said of learning more about his father.

After 18 years together, a divorce on the horizon

In 1997, Guy Pearce married his college sweetheart, Kate Mestitz, per People. Mestitz worked as a psychologist while Pearce carried on his acting career. The couple announced their divorce in 2015 after spending 18 years together. When fans began speculating that the couple had split, Pearce tweeted: "Rumours r true I'm afraid — Kate and I parted ways back in Jan. Sorry 2 be boring but we couldn't be closer. We'll love each other 4 ever xx." It turns out that this divorce took quite a toll on the actor.

During an interview with Herald Sun (via Yahoo!), the "L.A. Confidential" actor shared he was in a dark place in the months after he and Mestitz parted ways. "I had a little period in the middle of 2015 where I was staggering across busy streets in Berlin where I thought, 'If I get knocked down by a car, that will be an easy way out," he recalled. Pearce also opened up about the pain he felt after divorce in his 2018 album, "The Nomad," per The Irish Times. He explained how the album title was inspired by the divorce and his father's death. "It was the whole thing about my dad's plane being called the Nomad, and me feeling nomadic after Kate left," Pearce said of the record. "I didn't feel I belonged anywhere. I connected that back to my dad dying."

Guy Pearce revealed that his mother has Alzheimer's

Guy Pearce faced another heartbreaking moment after he found out his mother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. The difficult topic came up during an interview for Comic Book Resources after Pearce was asked about his character in the 2022 film, "Memory." The movie focuses on an assassin living with memory loss. "I can see it's terrifying," the actor said of the film's main character's experience with memory loss. "My mother has Alzheimer's, and I've watched her for the past 10 years sort of disappear down this Alzheimer's road. She's at a point now where she can't even talk anymore. She doesn't even really know what's going on around her."

The "Brimstone" actor went on to speak about observing his mother's condition as it progressed. "The most frustrating part was in the beginning when clearly she thought everything was — should be — all right, but actually, it wasn't," Pearce said. "Once she passed a certain point, things just became a bit blissful for her." Unfortunately for the star, his mother's Alzheimer's was worsening as he was going through his divorce, as he explained to The Irish Times. As a result, Pearce didn't speak to her about the split. "She can't talk anymore but I just call her and fill her in on my life and tell her how much I love her," the "Iron Man 3" actor continued.

The Neighbours actor has opened up about drug abuse

Celebrities often fall victim to fame's pressures, and Guy Pearce knows what it's like. During an interview for Metro UK, the actor revealed that he had trouble coping with his celebrity status after his films, "L.A. Confidential" and "Memento," introduced him to a larger audience. He shared that he began being unkind to those around him and lost control of his drug use. "I was also taking way too many drugs — smoking mainly but pretty much anything you can think of, I took," Pearce said. "I don't have the constitution to handle drugs and alcohol like some people –I gave it a good go."

While speaking with GQ (via Daily Mail), the actor shared that Nick Cave of the rock band Bad Seeds helped him out of a period of heavy marijuana use. "There was no conscious reason to my all-day, everyday pot smoking other than I was overworked and thought being high was great fun," he said. The actor soon got a call from Cave about the opportunity to star in the film, "The Proposition." "'The phone rang at home and of course, I was stoned and didn't answer," Pearce told GQ. "This big baritone voice started on the answering machine: 'Look I'm sorry to be calling you at home, Guy. It's Nick Cave. We've sent you a script and I dunno if you're interested.'" This film gave Pearce the motivation to kick his habit.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

He struggled with fame

"Neighbors" introduced Guy Pearce to a level of fame he may not have been ready to handle at the time. "I hated the fame thing, really struggled with it," the actor said of the early days of his career during an interview with the Independent. "I knew 'Neighbours' wasn't Shakespeare, but I was doing my best while knowing that I wasn't doing a great job — and yet, screaming girls chased us down the street. Trying to make sense of that was quite a test."

Pearce went on to share how the reputation he earned from his role in "Neighbors" followed him throughout his career. "For years, I would audition and people would go, 'We don't really want the guy from 'Neighbours,'" the star revealed. "As wonderful as it was to be in Priscilla [Pearce's character in the 1994 film 'Queen of the Desert'], I did feel like I was cast because it's funny to put Mike from 'Neighbours' in a dress. I was battling with incredible popularity from that show, yet I couldn't get a job." In an interview with i-D, the actor revealed that he felt the attention and praise he received while on "Neighbors" wasn't genuine. This might explain why fame was so unsettling to him.