Tragic Details About Harrison Ford

Success hasn't come easy for Harrison Ford. His journey towards stardom started when he took a drama class in college to put himself out there and discover his passions. In Brad Duke's book "Harrison Ford: The Films," Ford explained that when he was about to wrap up college, he realized that he couldn't chase office jobs like the rest of his friends because he knew he'd eventually become bored and complacent. 

Acting seemed like a more mentally stimulating career path as it brought something new with every project. But after countless auditions, Ford could only land minor roles. Things got even worse after he butted heads with Hollywood executive Jerry Tarkovsky when he made a small appearance as a bellboy in his film and gave what Tarkovsky believed to be a less-than-stellar performance. Although the executive pointed out his shortcomings, Ford stood his ground.

As a result, Tarkovsky limited the "Indiana Jones" star's future acting endeavors by pushing him further down the actors' hiring list. Although Ford could handle the struggles of being an up-and-coming actor when he was younger, he now had a family to care for, so he started working as a carpenter to make ends meet. Ford saw the best in a bad situation because he realized he didn't have to take every role that came his way since carpentry was his primary income source. Eventually, he beat hundreds of actors to get his breakthrough role in "Star Wars." But while his career thrived, his personal life suffered.

Harrison Ford had one of the most expensive divorces in Hollywood history

Through the decades, we've seen several messy divorces that have left celebs penniless, and Harrison Ford almost made the list. Ford met "E.T." screenwriter Melissa Mathison in 1976 when she was a production assistant on "Apocalypse Now." They started dating around 1982 and tied the knot in 1983. They went on to welcome children, a son named Malcolm and a daughter, Georgia. 

After a 17-year marriage, the couple announced their separation in 2000. Around the time, there were several reports that Ford was spending time with a woman less than half his age. But his agent, Patricia McQueeney, released a statement explaining the couple's separation wasn't due to infidelity because the couple had already been separated for a while. She also shared the "Blade Runner 2049" actor's hopes for his broken marriage, saying, "We have been living apart for the past month. We sincerely hope that we can work out our differences" (via ABC). 

Sadly, Mathison filed for legal separation in 2001, and they divorced in 2004. Even back then, the famous actor was worth a lot and was one of the highest-paid actors in the industry. According to Forbes, he took home up to $20 million per film in 1995. As a result, he paid a hefty settlement of $85 million and had to shell out some of his earnings from "The Fugitive" and "Indiana Jones" because they were filmed during the couple's marriage. 

His daughter suffered several seizures in her childhood

In 2016, Harrison Ford delivered an impassioned and tearful speech at the NYU Langone Medical Center's Find a Cure for Epilepsy and Seizures (FACES) event. After the event, the beloved actor told the NY Daily News (via Hello!) that his daughter, Georgia, suffered from seizures throughout her childhood. Ford took her to several doctors, who couldn't find the root of the issue. Helpless, Georgia went on and tried to live a normal life with the hopes that the seizures wouldn't recur, but they inevitably did. 

Ford described one horrifying experience in which she had a seizure on a beach, and a director found her in the nick of time. As a father, the situation was understandably heartbreaking for Ford, as he shared, "When you have a loved one who suffers from this disease, it can be devastating. You know how it affects their lives, their future, their opportunities and you want desperately to find mitigation. You want to find a way that they can live a comfortable and effective life."

However, he was proud to share that his daughter served as an inspiration for him because of how she stood her ground in the face of adversity. Eventually, the "Cowboys & Aliens" star took his daughter to NYU, where Dr. Orrin Devinsky finally provided the family with an accurate diagnosis of epilepsy. After Georgia started undergoing the treatment prescribed by him, she went eight years without suffering from any seizures. 

Carrie Fisher's death was a devastating blow for him

In 2016, Carrie Fisher unexpectedly passed away due to a heart attack, and it broke everyone's hearts, including her "Star Wars" co-star, Harrison Ford. In a statement released to People, Ford remembered her fondly. "Carrie was one-of-a-kind...brilliant, original," he said. "Funny and emotionally fearless. She lived her life, bravely. [...] We will all miss her." On May 4, 2023, Fisher was honored with her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

Five years prior, in 2018, Ford attended his and Fisher's "Star Wars" co-star Mark Hamill's own Walk of Fame ceremony, where Ford gave a speech. While addressing the crowd, Ford said that he felt saddened on the joyous occasion because he realized the iconic trio from the film would never be complete again. While he knew Fisher wasn't physically present with them, he felt her energy all around them. Fisher's passing might've been even more devastating for Ford because they were more than co-stars. In Fisher's 2016 memoir, "The Princess Diarist," she revealed that she had an affair with Ford while filming "Star Wars." 

At the time, Fisher was 19 and Ford 33, with a wife and two kids. Their 3-month-long affair started when Fisher had a little too much to drink at a "Star Wars" party, and some crew members tried to take advantage of her. Ford stepped in, and they made out on the ride home. While Fisher knew the affair was purely physical for Ford, a part of her couldn't help but wish he would start a new life with her. But as we all know, that didn't happen, and Ford and his wife, Mary Marquardt, divorced in 1979.

One of his co-stars suffered an untimely death

In 1986, Harrison Ford played River Phoenix's father in "Mosquito Coast." When the young star spoke to the Washington Post in 1988, he dubbed Ford one of his favorite actors. He recalled that he went into filming without any expectations for what the "Star Wars" star would be like but was pleasantly surprised, as he gushed, "He seems like psychologically, he's a sturdy man. A real father figure. In control. Very centered." In 1989, Phoenix got to join forces with Ford again when he took on the role of his teenage counterpart for "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade."

Speaking to Far Out, Steven Spielberg, the film's director, shared that he had always been a fan of Phoenix's acting but only decided to cast him in the flick after Ford urged him. "The Blade Runner" star made his case by pointing out how Phoenix looked eerily similar to him as a teenager. In Robert Sellers' "Harrison Ford: A Biography," the actor said that he became a mentor to the "Stand By Me" star because he wanted to help him nail the character's mannerisms.

Phoenix tragically passed away from a drug overdose in 1993 at 23. Ford released a heartfelt statement to the New York Times, saying, "He played my son once, and I came to love him like a son, and was proud to watch him grow into a man of such talent and integrity and compassion," Ford continued. "We will all miss him."