It was just revealed that Jon Hamm privately entered a rehab program for alcohol abuse. He checked in to Silver Hill Hospital in Connecticut at the end of February and completed his treatment this past week.
One of his representatives stated: “With the support of his longtime partner, Jennifer Westfeldt, Jon Hamm recently completed treatment for his struggle with alcohol addiction. They have asked for privacy and sensitivity going forward.”
Of course, to fans of the show, this almost feels a bit like life imitating art. Hamm portrays Don Draper on Mad Men, a character known for his unhealthy relationships with women, cigarettes and alcohol. In the past, the 44-year-old actor talked about how his own life compares to Draper and, unsurprisingly, there were some parallels.
During a 2012 interview with Mail on Sunday, he explained: “I don’t drink as much as Don Draper. I would be unconscious if I did… My dad was very much of the same era as Don. He was very smart, good with people, everybody’s friend. But he also had a dark side to him. He was a sad guy… Like Draper, he was a drinker — for a long time. But he was also a diabetic so that didn’t really mix well. He was sick for years and had to quit.”
In the upcoming issue of GQ (the interview likely took place before Hamm was in rehab), Hamm made some revealing comments about Don Draper. While he expressed disapproval for Draper’s actions, he added “but I also get the thing in popular culture, American culture, where you see a broken thing and go, ‘I want to fix that. I want to shape that. I want to cure that.'”
He may have a point, especially when we consider how popular Mad Men became and how much his character created a love/hate relationship with viewers. On the one hand, people seemed fascinated by Draper’s self-destruction while simultaneously repulsed by what he did to the people around him. We all felt pity for him as his world crumbled but we also wanted to understand his past and how it influenced the man he became.
His partner, Jennifer Westfeldt, seemed to see how Hamm, himself, may have been affected by this complex role. She explained: “It’s a confusing juxtaposition. I think the darkness of Don has weighed heavily on Jon, despite it being the role of a lifetime and the opportunity that gave him the career of his dreams.”
It’s yet another example of how high the price can be for success. So many assume that happiness automatically accompanies fame and fortune but, often, it can create as many problems as it solves. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a great new chapter in Jon Hamm’s life and career.
The second half of Mad Men’s seventh and final season airs on April 5, 2015 on AMC.