'Game of Thrones': The Mountain Actor Hafthor Julius Bjornsson Comes Clean About Using Steroids

Reigning World's Strongest Man Hafthor Julius Bjornsson, who plays The Mountain on Games of Thrones, is admitting to using steroids during his strongman career.

In a 2017 interview with ESPN's E:60, that aired Sunday morning, Bjornsson replied, "Yes I have," when asked if he had ever taken steroids. "When you want to be the best, you do whatever it takes."

Bjornsson refused to elaborate on the timeline for when he used the performance-enhancing drugs, and if he was still using them.

"Can we just skip those questions?" he asked the interviewer.

It was quite a journey for Bjornsson to both star in the hit HBO show and earn the title World's Strongest Man.

“My dream was always to become a professional basketball player but that dream didn’t go too far,” he told ESPN “I broke my ankle twice. I had to have bad surgeries that ended my career."

Getting linked up with Game of Thrones in 2013, he explained, occurred when the crew heard about "this massive, muscular, handsome, big young guy" while filming in Iceland.

“At first I got an email. I didn’t have any acting experience and getting an email like that out of nowhere from Game of Thrones was like ‘nah, that’s not true, it’s got to be bulls—,'" he recalled. “So I didn’t answer the email. A few days later I got a phone call and it was a man who asked if I wanted to audition for Game of Thrones. I obviously said ‘Yes. I don’t know what I’m doing but yeah, let’s try it.'"

The auditioning performance was a little unconventional, he added.

“They asked me to pick one guy up, to see if I was strong enough. I picked the man up over my head easily. They were very surprised: ‘Woah, OK you’re strong,'" he told ESPN. “One of the main sword teachers in the show, I fought with him for a little bit with the sword. After about 10 minutes he said, 'You’re the guy. You’re the man we are looking for.'"

Bjornsson may have used performance-enhancing drugs to get where he is in his career now, but said he had never failed a drug test during competition. That doesn't mean he hasn't considered the negative effects of the dangerous drugs.

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"When you are putting yourself through all this," says Bjornsson, "I've always thought about, 'What if I pass away?' It would be very hard to know that I left my family too soon. I want to be there for my family. I want to be there for my daughter. But this is my life. This is what I enjoy to do. ... People will remember me as the strongest human ever to walk the earth.”

Photo credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO