The actor may have partied like a crazy rich playboy addicted to Cocaine and other drugs in his movies, but in real life, DiCaprio never touched drugs in his life.
Speaking to Los Angeles Times, the Wolf of Wall Street actor said his childhood struggles shaped him well, and he understood from a very early age that resorting to drugs is never the solution to your problems.
“Never done it,” said DiCaprio. “That’s because I saw this stuff literally every day when I was 3 or 4 years old. So Hollywood was a walk in the park for me . . . I’d go to parties and it was there and, yeah, there’s that temptation,” he added.
“Hollywood is a very volatile place where artists come in and they essentially say they want to belong. It’s incredibly vulnerable to be an actor and also get criticism at a young age when you’re formulating who you are,” he explained. “We’ve seen a lot of people fall victim to that, and it’s very unfortunate.”
Leo’s parents got divorced when he was just a child, and until the age of nine, he lived with his mother in Los Angeles near Hollywood Boulevard and Western Avenue.
“I try to tell my godson, who lives close to that area, what it was like, how there used to be a major prostitution ring on my street corner, crime and violence everywhere. It really was like ‘Taxi Driver’ in a lot of ways,” the Titanic star told the publication. “And I’m not sure he believes me. It’s hipster central, totally gentrified now. The Waterbed Hotel?” DiCaprio laughed. “I don’t think that’s there anymore.”
After winning a scholarship to University Elementary School, he relocated to a rather wealthier neighborhood.
“It was like this little Garden of Eden,” he recalled. “And if I went to play with my friends, I would drive to Beverly Hills and go in their backyard, and there’d be a waterfall there. I mean, a waterfall! In the backyard? What the…”
The 48-year-old award-winner continued, “When I went back to the public school system, it was like — boom — this is reality. I got beat up the day I arrived because I had the attitude,” and here the 39-year-old actor shifts into a blissed-out hippie voice, “of everyone living harmoniously with one another.”
He said the public school system motivated him to choose better things in life, and he decided to become an actor.
“That was the motivational thing that happened to me in my life. I was 15, and I said to my mom, ‘I want to be an actor. Please take me to auditions.’ Because I had to get out of that public school system.”
In his opinion, his background and early life struggles make him qualified enough to discuss the subject of income disparity in the US, as was also depicted in his 2013 movie Wolf of Wall Street.
“Who am I to talk about this?” the Oscar-winning actor asked. “It goes back to that neighborhood. It came from the fact that I grew up very poor and I got to see the other side of the spectrum.”
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