Gerard James Butler is a Scottish actor with extensive credits in stage, film and television. His acting career began in the late 1990s and he began to get lead roles in the early 2000s.

Butler has been open about his struggles with drug abuse, and he recently completed a treatment program in a rehab center.

His Career

Butler was born in 1969 and has a formal education as a lawyer. Butler was hired by a Edinburgh law firm in 1994, but was fired after one week for excessive tardiness. He began studying acting and worked in a series of odd jobs, before performing in plays during 1996.

Butler’s first film was the 1997 British drama, in which he played Archie Brown. He also had a small role in the 1997 James Bond action film Tomorrow Never Dies.

Butler began to receive steady work in film and television, with his greatest early success occurring from the lead role of Attila the Hun in the 2001 TV miniseries Attila. He also won critical acclaim for his work in the lead role of the Phantom in the 2004 film adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera. Butler sang the parts for this role, despite having only four voice lessons before his audition for the part.

He also received positive reviews for his role as King Leonidas in the 2007 action film 300. Additional films that Butler has appeared in include P.S. I Love You, Nim’s Island, The Ugly Truth, Law Abiding Citizen and The Bounty Hunter. Butler’s most recent work is the lead role of Sam Childers in the 2011 action biography Machine Gun Preacher.

His Drug Abuse

Butler says that he has struggled with alcoholism throughout his adult life, and that injuries during his film work have caused him to become dependent upon pain relief medication. His first injuries occurred in 2006 while filming his physically challenging role in 300, for which he was prescribed pain killers.

He was also injured in a surfing accident while filming the 2011 biography Of Men and Mavericks. A large wave knocked him off his board and held him under water for about one minute. Butler says that the resulting hospital stay further increased his reliance on pain killers.


He voluntarily entered the Betty Ford clinic in February 2012 after he became concerned that his drug dependence was developing into a full-blown addiction. Butler successfully completed a three-week treatment for drug abuse, according to the celebrity news website TMZ. Butler emerged from this program in good condition and has not relapsed.