Josh Hartnett Says He Walked Away From Hollywood for Mental Health Reasons

Josh Hartnett, in a rare interview, explains that he ultimately decided to leave Hollywood behind for his own mental health. The former actor said during his appearance on the Australian morning show Sunrise on Wednesday, Dec. 8 that his decision to keep "Hollywood at bay" was the best choice for his mental health.

"Luckily, I think I hit onto it early on in my life," he said, per the Daily Mail. "It's about creating a good home life and being able to do things that are wild and wonderful like making films, which is such a privilege."

Hartnett quickly rose to fame in the late 90s and early 2000s doing films like Pearl Harbor and 40 Days and 40 Nights. His more recent credits include shows like Penny Dreadful. The actor told news.com.au that he has no regrets when it comes to some of the major films he turned down like Brokeback Mountain. Heath Ledger ultimately took on the role opposite Jake Gyllenhaal. "Unfortunately, I was going to do Brokeback Mountain, and I had a contract with Black Dahlia that I had to film, so I had to drop out of it," he said, adding that he "always wanted to kiss" Joaquin Phoenix, who was in talks to play his co-star at the time. 

Hartnett told Details in 2014 that he decided to stop making movies because he "didn't trust anyone.""I was on the cover of every magazine," he explained, per Us Weekly. "I couldn't really go anywhere. I didn't feel comfortable in my own skin. I was alone. I didn't trust anyone."

He went on to say that his decision to leave ultimately affected the films he was offered later in his career. "I still get offered film and TV roles, luckily, but years ago, if I saw a role I wanted, there was a good chance I could grab it," he said. "When I see a role now, I've got to fight for it. It's not bad. It's actually more rewarding. Depressing when something doesn't go your way, but only for a minute."

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"I started doing smaller films, [since] the films didn't take me away from the kids very often," he explained to Yahoo Entertainment earlier this year. "I didn't really take any major hiatuses that were planned, I just had kids."