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Sopranos' Star Was An Alcoholic, Addict And Thief

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Joe Pantoliano is a famous actor though you may not immediately recognize his name.

What if we said he played the crew member who turned on Neo in the first Matrix movie? Or he was the main character's friend in Memento? Or how about Ralph Cifaretto on The Sopranos, the guy who ends up getting killed by Tony and has his head cut off and put in a bowling ball bag?

Well if you don't know him from any of that then you need to watch more movies.

Anyway, he's lead a life rougher than you would've imagined, and he lays it all out for everyone in his new book Asylum: Hollywood Tales from My Great Depression: Brain Dis-Ease, Recovery, and Being My Mother's Son.

He said:

"I became an alcoholic, an addict, a compulsive shopper, a kleptomaniac. And a maniac!

The whole point of this is to use myself as an example in giving other people permission to be open and honest about their past."

He said that he grew up in a tough home in Hoboken, N.J. in a house filled with "obesity, alcoholism, gambling addictions and behavioral risk choices like organized crime."

"I starting acting because I didn't want to be poor. I came to understand the power of television, how television molded my future, in seeing Italian-Americans on TV — that was my asylum."

Once he became successful, things only got worse. He dealt with addiction in many ways, to food, to shopping and shoplifting, to success itself, to sex, alcohol and prescription drugs.

He turned his life around after being diagnosed with clinical depression. Hard drugs are no longer a part of his life.

"I take 10 milligrams of an antidepressant, along with 10 milligrams of a statin for cholesterol. Advil is way better for my back pain and hip than those Vicodins every day."

Seems like he wanted to write this not only to give people the chance to be open about their own past but also so others can learn from his mistakes before they make their own.

[Image via Michael Carpenter/WENN.]

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