The Untold Truth Of Josh Hartnett

Almost as quickly as Josh Hartnett rose to fame, he practically disappeared from the entertainment industry. "I stepped away quite a bit," the actor explained to Marie Claire. After roles in "The Faculty" and "The Virgin Suicides," Hartnett landed a lead spot in Michael Bay's 2001 war movie "Pearl Harbor." The young man seemed poised for superstardom, both for his acting skills and his incredible good-looks, earning the nickname "Hot-nett." But this heartthrob moved away from blockbuster movies and chose a more indie path. He occasionally popped up in smaller movies like "The Black Dahlia" and series like "Penny Dreadful" in 2014. After more time away and several minor comebacks in Hollywood, Hartnett returned to the big-time in 2021 when he starred alongside Jason Statham in Guy Ritchie's heist movie "Wrath of Man."

Outside of acting, Hartnett stayed busy with other passion projects. And in his personal life, he focused on growing his own family. All along, Hartnett dealt with the ups and downs of the entertainment industry, from the highest praises to upset executives. But few knew how the actor truly felt.

Later in his career, Hartnett revealed what was really going through his mind during the peak of his early success. And he was unafraid to share his thoughts on all that happened in Hollywood while he stood on the side. This is the untold truth of Josh Hartnett.

A setback turned out to change Josh Hartnett's life

Josh Hartnett grew up in the Midwest, "on the border of Minneapolis and St Paul, Minnesota," MR PORTER detailed. As the publication went on to note, he got involved with his high school's theater department after a torn ACL ended his time as a "high-school sports star." And while he was in New York for college, an agent spotted him, and "he landed two jobs [in Los Angeles] in a matter of weeks."

Though his rise into show business happened almost overnight, his childhood reflected a simpler time. According to Marie Claire, Hartnett and his three half-siblings were raised mainly by their dad, "a building manager and 
jazz musician." Hartnett told the publication, "My 
family says I was an existentialist from the age of 12." And in a 2021 chat with Interview Magazine, he shared that he enjoyed Valentine's Day as a child. "In grade school we passed out the little hearts that said 'I love you,' and we all got to eat candy," Hartnett said. "That's when Valentine's Day mattered to me."

The roles Josh Hartnett almost had

The list of movies Josh Hartnett hasn't been in is almost as long as the ones he signed up for. According to Cinema, one of the early roles that the actor missed out on was in the teen drama series "Dawson's Creek." Allegedly, after auditioning for the show, he "made the call-back sheet four more times and still failed to make the cut for the hit teen show." After failing to land the job, the outlet noted that he also was passed on to appear in "Remember the Titans," the feel-good football movie starring Denzel Washington. 

Many rumors swirled around Hartnett in Hollywood, especially with superhero movies. In an interview with Variety, Hartnett set the record straight on a few of his decisions regarding roles. He said he "didn't turn down 'Spider-Man,'" a role that Toby Maguire ended up with. And Hartnett revealed that while he had a conversation with director Christopher Nolan, the actor never auditioned or received an offer to play Batman in the trilogy that ultimately featured Christian Bale as the lead. But Hartnett confirmed he'd "only turned down Superman as a straight-up offer," a part that went to Brandon Routh. And according to MR PORTER, this was a big time rejection by Hartnett. He reportedly rejected a three movie deal to play Superman, where he would have earned a rumored $100 million.

The many talents of Josh Hartnett

While Josh Hartnett was becoming more and more famous on screen, he also started to express his creativity behind the scenes. In an interview with Collider, the actor revealed he sold his first script when he was 22 years old. According to Hartnett, DreamWorks purchased the script but he believes it "just sat on a very important shelf there, I'm sure, but it never went anywhere." But Hartnett didn't stop with one script. He told Variety in 2020 that in a prolific three years, he wrote three different screenplays. This started Hartnett's passion for writing and creating stories but he explained that he took a pause in his career to start a family. After having kids, he said this allowed him some unexpected time to pick up his passion. After his kids went to sleep, Hartnett had more time to think. "So I started writing a lot more. It's really a great outlet," he said.

In addition to writing, he's also been behind the camera. "I've directed a few music videos and have thought about directing, but I don't want to do that unless I really am passionate about the story I'm telling," he shared with Variety. Hartnett also became a producer in Hollywood to have more creative control of his career. During a video call with Entertainment Tonight, Hartnett explained that he started producing his own films so he could be in smaller, independent projects.

Josh Hartnett reveals why he left Hollywood

The tipping point for Josh Hartnett's career came after his starring role in "Black Hawk Down." At that time, he considered himself fortunate for the rapid success in Hollywood in his late teens and early 20s. But that same success and full-time schedule also intimidated the young man. "I was spending my entire life on film sets and the fame was daunting," he confessed to Marie Claire. Hartnett then decided to change his trajectory in the industry. He remembered, "[I]t was all too much for me and I decided I needed time to figure out what I was about." Instead of focusing on another blockbuster movie or high-profile role, "I decided to have a life," Hartnett told MR PORTER in an interview. "To put that first. That was always my goal," he added. And he not only separated from Hollywood from a career perspective but also physically too. He moved back to Minneapolis in his hometown state of Minnesota. He said relocating was partly to be "with the people I knew liked me before I was making films."

Hartnett said in Marie Claire that though he sometimes missed the fast-paced entertainment industry, "it was important for me to construct myself into a better human than when I was younger." And looking back, he understands that some bridges may have been burned from his abrupt change. "I'm sorry if I disappointed people; it wasn't intentional," he explained.

Who has Josh Hartnett dated?

As one of the brightest newcomers in Hollywood in the late '90s and early '00s, along with dashing looks, Josh Hartnett found romance early on. And he was known to be particularly fond of dating his co-stars, like when he linked up with Scarlett Johansson from their appearance together in "The Black Dahlia." But Hartnett confessed to Elle that he didn't recommend other actors try to date their co-stars. "You can make a lot of enemies in the business that way," he explained. The actor added, "But when you work with somebody every day, it's like trial dating. You develop a fantasy about them. It doesn't always work out, does it?" And he remembered it was difficult to talk about these celebrity relationships with his friends. Hartnett claimed when he "dated a few very beautiful, very famous girls," his buddies wouldn't let him complain or talk about issues. 

There are several famous women that Hartnett is rumored to have dated. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Hartnett set the record straight for one of the most popular rumors. "No, Rhianna and I never dated." According to Vanity Fair, Hartnett was rumored to have dated Gisele Bündchen, the model and future wife to Tom Brady. Another rumor involved actor Monet Mazur, who appeared with Hartnett in "40 Days and 40 Nights."

Josh Hartnett found a new audience across the pond

In addition to lighting up the big screen, Josh Hartnett also proved he could wow audiences on stage. In 2008, he appeared in the London production of "Rain Man," Playbill reported. The play used the premise of the 1988 film of the same name, starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. Hartnett played the role made famous by Cruise, and Hartnett's co-star Adam Godley is an acclaimed, Tony Award-nominated actor. In a preview for the "Rain Man" production, West End Theatre posted a video with Godley exalting Hartnett. "He's such a good actor. It's exciting to be around him. It's exciting to see him on stage. He's such a great stage actor," Godley said. And he added, "I have nothing but praise and admiration and respect for Josh Hartnett."

Hartnett also appeared in "The Children's Monologues" at the Royal Court Theatre, as reported by Harper's Bazaar. The production, which ran for only one night, was directed by Danny Boyle. 

Josh Hartnett had a horrific start to his career

Josh Hartnett's first big movie roles showcased his charming good looks. And also, his frightened looks. Two horror movies starring Hartnett premiered the same year, 1998. "Halloween H20: 20 Years Later” put Hartnett alongside veteran actor Jamie Lee Curtis in a plot set after the original "Halloween" film. Michelle Williams and Joseph Gordon-Levitt also had roles in the thriller. And as recounted by Vanity Fair, the movie featured Hartnett delivering "a flirty spin to lines such as "Run!'" Then came "The Faculty," released on Christmas later that year. Full of big name actors like Jon Stewart, Usher, and Elijah Wood, the film showed that Hartnett had a skill for fright. As Vanity Fair noted, viewers didn't mind "that he appeared in both pictures with a chunky bowl haircut". According to the outlet, Seventeen called Hartnett "the unofficial Hottie of Horror."

Looking back at these early films, Hartnett remembered the studios putting him in high-profile roles. Both movies were produced by Dimension, a subdivision of Miramax specializing in horror. "I was a kid who they felt they should invest in," Hartnett explained to The Guardian.

The truth behind Josh Hartnett's role in 'Pearl Harbor'

Though he appeared in hit movies before, nothing could prepare Josh Hartnett for his first huge role. He signed on to star in the blockbuster summer movie "Pearl Harbor." Michael Bay, the film's director, knew Hartnett had all the right qualities to leave an impact on audiences. "I guarantee you this kid will be a movie star with this movie," Bay said in Vanity Fair. He was right, and the film catapulted Hartnett into the big leagues. A source told the publication that "the actor tested higher with preview audiences—particularly girls— than any of his co-stars."

Amazingly, Hartnett just about missed starring in "Pearl Harbor." The actor revealed to The Guardian, "I nearly turned it down" even though "it was a role a lot of people wanted." And while many people would jump at the opportunity for worldwide recognition thanks to a film of this type, Hartnett admitted, "I didn't want to be famous." The actor changed his mind and was right about the hype. Despite the film turning out to be a "Titanic-sized flop," it opened new doors for the actor.

Josh Hartnett's preferred way of eating

In his private life, Josh Hartnett is particular about what he puts in his body. As he was growing up, the young man switched his diet. As he explained to PETA, Hartnett decided to become a vegetarian. He recalled one specific incident in the kitchen that instantly converted him to go meat free. "One day I was cutting up a chicken for my mom, and I hit a tumor with the knife," he recalled. The actor explained as a result, "there was pus and blood all over the place. That was enough for me." Then, because of his smoldering looks and veggie friendly diet, fans voted Hartnett "PETA's Sexiest Vegetarian Alive" in 2003.

Unfortunately, food hasn't always been so nice back to the actor. Hartnett told that while filming "The Black Dahlia," the long days and cigarettes did a number on his health. So, he made a change. "I actually started eating meat while I was there because the Bulgarian doctor didn't know what else to do with me," he shared, adding that he "was like anemic or something." A few years later, Hartnett came down with a case of food poisoning. Even worse, it was during his time in the London theater circuit in the play "Rain Man." As reported by What's On Stage, Hartnett was admitted to the hospital for stomach pains and missed four performances as a result. 

Josh Hartnett's coworkers knew he would be a star

Everyone, including famous producers and his co-stars, praised Josh Hartnett as a young actor. In Vanity Fair's massive profile of Hartnett in 2001, Hollywood royalty could not stop gushing about his talent and future possibilities. Jerry Bruckheimer, the legendary film producer, explained that Hartnett had "a sensitivity about him, and a nobility." Bruckheimer even went as far to compare Hartnett's upcoming fame to Tom Cruise. The producer saw Cruise become a phenomenon after "Top Gun," and warned Hartnett before "Pearl Harbor" that "when this movie comes out, it will change your life." This included hordes of people potentially chasing after him.

Hartnett's co-stars also believed he could be one of the best actors in the business. Ben Affleck, the other male lead of "Pearl Harbor," said, "Josh will get very famous very quickly and runs the very real risk of becoming a sort of one-man embodiment of the Backstreet Boys to hormone-crazed 15-year-old girls from Minnetonka to Tarzana." Affleck went on to explain that Hartnett's good looks would be great for popularity but also weird and overwhelming at times. Kate Beckinsale also explained that Hartnett was "earth-shatteringly handsome in a slightly surprised way." But her daughter wasn't exactly a fan of the star. Beckinsale explained her one-year-old Lily would get upset whenever Hartnett was nearby. She said, "We all used to tease him that it was because he was so handsome and she couldn't handle it."

Josh Hartnett explains his life as a father

Josh Hartnett went from being one of the most desirable men in Hollywood to a proud dad. He and his partner, model and actor Tamsin Egerton, live outside of London. Egerton is British and one of her most popular movies is "St Trinian's." Together, the couple have three little kids, five years old and younger as of 2020. The youngest, born in late 2019, came right before the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing both parents to quickly adapt. "We've been trying to keep them occupied as best we can, but [deep breath here] it's a lot of work and it takes both of us all day and by the end of it all we want to do is reach for a bottle of wine and go to sleep," Hartnett told MR PORTER about raising three kids.

After adjusting to the new lifestyle for a few months, the dad and actor found the perfect schedule to run, write, and spend time with his children. What didn't change was his dedication to his family. Even before the pandemic, Hartnett explained he took "a lot of time off to be a dad, first and foremost."

What does Josh Hartnett think about Harvey Weinstein?

While Josh Hartnett stepped aside and mostly watched Hollywood from the sidelines, major news hit close to home. The truth about Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced former producer, came to light thanks in part to the #MeToo movement. Hartnett's connection to Weinstein involves several films, one being the movie "O" starring Julia Stiles and Hartnett. According to Us Magazine, the producer delayed the film's release for personal and political reasons. 

Weinstein's entertainment company Miramax also helped greenlight several of Hartnett's films, including "Halloween H20: 20 Years Later," "The Faculty," and "40 Days and 40 Nights." In an interview with The Guardian, the actor discussed his memory of Weinstein. "There are all sorts of rumors about guys like that which permeate the business and you think, 'That's awful,'" Hartnett said. He added that "the casting couch was a thing people joked about when I was first in the industry, so it was an open secret that this business is a little bit f***ed up."

Looking back, Hartnett confessed about Weinstein, "I wasn't surprised he was a creep. But I guess I was surprised at the extent of his creepiness." The actor also revealed that "shameless" people like Weinstein sadly can find their way back into entertainment. "Those are situations that freak me out," Hartnett said.

The charitable side of Josh Hartnett

If you didn't already like Josh Hartnett for his acting or pretty smile, how about his commitment to others? The actor donates his time to support a variety of charities. When he took to the stage to play a part in "The Children's Monologues" in 2015, it was for a good cause.  As reported by Harper's Bazaar, this play in the United Kingdom starred Hartnett alongside James McAvoy, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Kit Harington. Proceeds from this charitable event went to an arts program for young children in Africa.

In more glitzy settings, Hartnett has been spotted at several galas and fundraisers. Just Jared reported that Hartnett was a guest at the New Yorkers For Children Spring Dinner Dance in 2009. And he went despite being in the hospital not long before due to dehydration from what he described as a "stomach bug." Later, Hartnett attended an event hosted by the American Foundation for AIDS Research. Elle reported that Hartnett went to the Cinema Against AIDS gala, along with other celebrities like Paris Hilton and Robert Pattinson.

Media gossip surrounded Josh Hartnett

Josh Hartnett's private life was exposed by the British tabloids in 2008. The Daily Mirror reported that Hartnett "indulged in 'steamy shenanigans' with a mystery woman caught on CCTV at a London hotel," via The Guardian. The original post drew readers in to look at a video that allegedly showed Hartnett and a mystery woman together at the Soho Hotel. The Daily Mirror also claimed that employees at the hotel were "cringing" after watching "all of Josh's X-rated moves." The article concluded that the Soho Hotel told the actor "to take his personal business elsewhere in the future." Except, all of this wasn't true. The case was brought to court and the tabloid's publishing company admitted the stories of Hartnett were "entirely false."

According to The Guardian, the actor received £20,000 in libel damages as a result of the lawsuit. The publishing company also apologized to Hartnett for any "distress, hurt and embarrassment" caused by the fake news. And while Hartnett may have been distressed, he still turned the ordeal into a positive: The actor pledged "to donate the money to a variety of charities."

How much is Josh Hartnett worth?

A lot has been said about Josh Hartnett's missed potential and turning down big-time offers in Hollywood. But this actor took his own path through fame, and still has plenty to show for his experience. Since he started acting at a young age, Hartnett's net worth has continued to grow through the years. At the peak of his popularity, his salary reflected the huge draw he could bring to the movie theaters. According to Vanity Fair, Hartnett's salary for "Black Hawk Down" was rumored to be $2 million. Along with his other films, plus television work like the series "Penny Dreadful," Hartnett added to his bank account. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Hartnett was worth an estimated $25 million as of 2021.

The actor used some of this money for an extravagant home life. As reported by Dirt, Hartnett once owned a $4.4 million house in Los Angeles. The charming 4,100 square feet compound featured a home partly built out of brick, luscious trees, a pub, 4 bedrooms, and 3.5 bathrooms. In 2020, Hartnett sold the property to a twenty-something film producer for $4.43 million in cash, per Dirt.