Mena Suvari is sharing some intimate details about her past struggle with drug addiction and the party lifestyle she fell into as a young Hollywood actress.
The actress is best known for her award-winning role in “American Beauty” as a teenage cheerleader who becomes the object of a middle-aged man’s affection, played by Kevin Spacey. She first rose to fame in the 1999 high school comedy “American Pie.” However, in her new memoir, “The Great Peace: A Memoir,” the actress explains how she fell into the world of methamphetamine prior to her breakout role.
People reports that Suvari was introduced to the drug while on vacation as a teenager, saying it “blew my mind.” When she got back to Los Angeles, she met a group of friends who had access to more and she began hanging out with them, saying it was the beginning of her run down a “very dark path.”
The star noted that drugs helped her cope with a trauma in her past. She explains elsewhere in her book that she was sexually abused by a friend of her older brother’s when she was in the sixth grade.
“When my family split apart, I ended up hanging out more and more, just going out,” she says of her teenage years. “And [the] rave scene, and we’d do all of those things. And so I tried anything. Mescaline. I mean whatever.”
In her book, Suvari describes entering a three-year relationship with a man she identifies as “Tyler,” who abused her sexually and emotionally throughout their relationship. However, she says a slight silver lining of the relationship was the fact that Tyler did not condone the use of meth.
“He had no problem with pot or any other drugs, but he just didn’t like that one,” she explained.
Unfortunately, turning away from meth but not the party lifestyle merely left her vulnerable to abusing other substances.
“You know, acid, and ecstasy and things like this. And that time with him was so devastatingly dark that I needed those things,” she explained.
Fortunately, she says that she soon discovered that her acting work could be the new thing she threw herself into, landing her role in “American Pie” soon after.
“But then, you know, my work, that opportunity, that art that saved my life, that was the healthy addiction that I needed to replace it with.”
She broke things off with Tyler soon after and quit drug use. Through a combination of therapy and support from close friends outside her old partying lifestyle, Suvari was able to bring her life and career to new heights. Most importantly, she met her now-husband, Mike Hope, on the set of the 2016 Hallmark movie “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.” They married in 2018 and share son, Christopher, who they welcomed in April.
When she’s not acting, Suvari works with disadvantaged youth at Vista Del Mar in California.