Hugh Grant has opened up about his battle with anxiety, which led him to put a hold on his acting career for years.
The 55-year-old actor admitted that after starring alongside Julia Roberts in the 1999 hit Notting Hill, he began suffering from "absurd stage-fright attacks".
“I really don’t know where it suddenly came from. They would just hit me in the middle of a film and they would only last a morning or something, but it was devastating,” the actor, told The Hollywood Reporter.
“It would be some very simple scene,” Grant explained. “You’d rehearsed it perfectly, maybe shot the other guy’s close-up, they turned around on you, you’d walk in there whistling and then suddenly, out of nowhere, you’ve got sweat shooting from your armpits and you can’t remember your lines.
“These were terrible and embarrassing occasions. You could almost never use the scene, you actually had to cut the scene from the film.”
The "dread" of his attacks forced him to quit acting, only making appearances in supporting roles.
The English actor now relies on exercise and herbal calmers to keep his anxiety in check. It was also the opportunity to star as the lead character alongside Merryl Streep in this year's Florence Foster Jenkins that pulled him out of retirement.
“Once I was over it, in many ways it was a treat. Performing with the greatest female actress possibly of all-time is no hardship. Things go better. You know, if you play tennis with Rafa Nadal, you play better tennis.”
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