Robson Green has opened up about his struggle with alcohol and drugs after struggling with fame.
The 56-year-old has never previously spoken openly about his battles as millions watched him starring in 90s ITV military drama Soldier Soldier.
He speaks of how his love of fishing saved him on Robson and Jim’s Icelandic Fly Fishing Adventure.
He said: “I was just 26 years old when real fame came knocking at my door with a drama called Soldier Soldier watched by 21 million people.
“I was enjoying fame. I was enjoying recognition, I was enjoying all the approval. I was enjoying the awards, I was enjoying the parties, I was enjoying the drinking and everything else that went with fame.
“But, and I wish this was a more original story, my relationships were a car crash, and I was losing touch with what mattered in life.
“I grew up in a close-knit mining community in the north-east of England where my dad worked down the pit. I started having real problems with fame and alcohol and drugs.”
The Geordie actor says an encounter with his dad, also called Robson, was the catalyst for him seeking help.
Robson said: “Dad turned up, he’d worked hard all his life and he looks at his son who he has given everything to, blood, sweat and tears, and he goes ‘Are you happy?’, and I went ‘Yeah,’ but deep down I knew I wasn’t and I realised I didn’t have anything. Because all I was doing in my life was acting.
“I was a people pleaser, always desperate for recognition, reassurance and I needed help. So I went to see a therapist. He said to me, ‘So tell me who Robson Green is’. I said ‘I am this guy who acts’. He said, ‘No, that’s your career. Who are you?’ I didn’t have a clue.”
The therapist discovered his love of fishing and suggested doing that again.
Robson said: “Getting back into fishing was a turning point for me. It has been and still is my road to Damascus. If I had the chance to go to that therapist again, I would say, ‘Go fishing with me and you will see that’s who Robson Green is.’
“I needed something in life that made sense and, for me, fishing makes sense. I’ve learnt so much from fishing and found an inner peace that was missing.”
Robson and his close friend, actor James Murray, known as Jim, go fishing in Iceland.
Jim says he used his love of the sport to help him cope after the 2009 death of Ella-Jayne, his eight-month-old baby with Cutting It co-star Sarah Parish.
Jim said: “Fishing dug me out of a deep, dark hole and has been an integral part of my life ever since.”
Robson played Dave Tucker in Soldier Soldier, and his musical pairing with co-star Jerome Flynn led to a No1 with Unchained Melody.
He has a son, Taylor, now 20, with second wife Vanya Seager but they broke up in 2011. He now lives in his native Northumberland with partner Zoila Short and shuns celebrity life.
“I don’t like being classed as a celebrity,” he said. “I’m a normal actor who’s survived.”