He may not be a card-carrying Christian, but the Oscar-winning Sir Anthony Hopkins is now open to the existence of God. This life-changing shift in thinking occurred way back in 1975 when a woman at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting asked an introspective question.
Hopkins took pause for thought, and it changed his philosophical outlook forever.
The 81-year-old Hollywood veteran recently admitted that his chosen career in the arts was almost derailed by addiction. After being invited to speak at the 11th annual LEAP (Leadership, Excellence, and Accelerating Your Potential) conference at UCLA on July 25, 2018, Hopkins opened up.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hopkins addressed his audience of 500 students, admitting that initially, he started acting because he “had nothing better to do.” It was a life in theater embraced at a young age that led Hopkins down a dangerous path. Drinking became a problem. “That’s what you do in theater. You drink,” he said.
It was not the first time the revered Oscar winner had opened up about his struggles. Speaking to Piers Morgan in 2011, the actor regaled the worst time of all. He was “very difficult to work with,” he admitted, “because I was usually hungover.”
“It was like being possessed by a demon,” Hopkins admitted in the no-holds-barred, groundbreaking interview. “I couldn’t stop […] millions of people around like that. I could not stop.”
The turning point for the troubled young performer took place in December of 1975. Hopkins realized that he was becoming a danger to himself and others, and decided to take matters into his own hands. His decision to join the AA for support was a practical choice.
Little did he know it at the time, but it was also a spiritual one.
A woman addressed Hopkins directly at an AA meeting one day, and her words struck a chord. “[She said], ‘Why don’t you just trust in God?'” Hopkins regaled. In that moment, prompted by a fellow addict urging him to introspect, Hopkins’s desire to drink vanished completely.
“Never to return,” he said.
Addressing his enraptured LEAP audience of 500 high school and college students 43 years later, Hopkins’s message was powerful and imbued with the wisdom he gained from that life-changing question back in 1975.
Hopkins urged his audience to “believe in themselves,” and “say yes,” wherever possible.
ANTHONY HOPKINS as Father Lucas in New Line Cinemas psychological thriller THE RITE, a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
“I believe that we are capable of so much,” Hopkins encouraged. “I still cannot believe that my life is what it is, because I should have died in Wales, drunk!”
“Or something like that.”
Abandoning his atheism in order to embrace faith in a higher power altered Hopkins’s personal philosophy, and career, forever. It even opened the actor up to roles of biblical proportions. Quite literally.
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After playing the 969-year-old Methuselah, Noah’s grandfather, in the 2014 film Noah, Hopkins spoke to ABC News. “I believe in the life force,” he said, confidently. “I feel, every day as I get older, that it’s all a miracle.”
“My heart beats, lungs breathe; that is an extraordinary phenomenon.”