The actor shot to fame at the age of 20 after the 1999 release of the multi Oscar-winning American Beauty, but Bentley struggled to deal with the spotlight and fell into a downward spiral of drink and drugs, including ecstasy, cocaine and heroin.
He turned his back on his career as his substance abuse worsened – and Bentley began shunning his family to hang around with homeless men as he hunted for drugs.
Bentley tells Details magazine, “I was risking everything to get drugs. I was driving around with homeless guys and people just out of prison, then I’d hit the streets and smoke all day. I’d already nodded off on set a couple times, and now I was being asked to leave auditions mid-reading because it was just so sad for them.
“I missed my brother’s wedding because I was so messed up… The shakes, hearing voices, paranoia – those were daily occurrences for me. I was nearly dead, and I didn’t care.”
Bentley, who recently joined the cast of the highly-anticipated movie adaptation of The Hunger Games, credits his producer wife Jacqui Swedberg with turning his life around after they met in the late 2000s.
He adds, “When I met my wife (I wanted to get clean). I saw then what I have now. I saw life. It still took me a while to get sober after that, but the switch had happened. We were long-distance for a while, and I’d try to be sober for her, but I ended up withdrawing with her – and I hated that. That’s when I told her everything. She wasn’t mad. She wanted to help.”