What You Don't Know About Gary Oldman

Gary Oldman is a British actor most known for his roles as Sid Vicious in Sid and Nancy, Commissioner Gordon in The Dark Knight, Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour (for which he won the Best Actor Oscar in 2018), and Sirius Black in the Harry Potter franchise. He's also been nominated for a Golden Globe for his turn in Mank.

Sid and Nancy is largely considered his breakout role, though Oldman initially turned down the chance to play Sex Pistols bass guitarist Sid Vicious because he believed no one would care.

Oldman told the The Hollywood Reporter, "I just thought it was a lot of noise, so I was concerned who would see Sid and Nancy? Who cares? But I rolled up my sleeves, studied the way I've always done. You immerse yourself. I lost a ton of weight and made myself very ill." Funnily, he also doesn't particularly like his acting in the role. He added, "I don't think I'm very good in it."

Luckily for audiences and for himself, many people disagreed, and the film definitely put Oldman on the map.

Gary Oldman grew up working-class in Britain

Gary Oldman hardly had film star aspirations when he was a young child growing up in southeast London. As the child of a welder, he didn't anticipate that he would one day grace theater screens around the world. But as The Guardian wrote in 2018, the rise of Oldman transpired during "a golden age of British social mobility" in which "some working-class children were ushered towards the newly open doors of universities and the professions."

Fan site The Hollywood Interview published a 2000 piece from Venice Magazine in which Oldman mentioned that his parents had their own creative pursuits, even if they didn't work in creative fields. "My mom sang. Still sings, given half the chance. My dad made models, like remote controlled boats and things, from scratch. He was an engineer in the Navy during the war. I have some letters, as well, that he wrote, which are quite beautiful. He was a real poet."

Oldman also remembers being a creative kid himself. "I loved movies. I also painted, and drew, and made models, and always off on my own doing something. The thing I do remember is that my mother had this wide white plastic belt like they had in the '60s. I put cigarette packs on it, painted it yellow, and it became my Batman utility belt!" (via The Hollywood Interview).

Gary Oldman has been married five times, including to Uma Thurman

Gary Oldman has enjoyed several high-profile relationships throughout his time in Hollywood and been married five times. His former wives include Uma Thurman, Lesley Manville, Donya Fiorentino, and Alexandra Edenborough. Oldman is currently married to Gisele Schmidt.

His marriage to Uma Thurman was short-lived, lasting only two years. In a 1996 profile of Thurman, Vanity Fair described their marriage as "tumultuous." Writer Alex Shoumatoff notes, "Another reason Uma dropped out of sight was that she was involved in a turbulent relationship with actor Gary Oldman, whom she married in 1991." Thurman also told the magazine that her marriage to Oldman was "a mistake, but you know, what can I say? He's a truly great actor. We met when I was 18. He was 12 years older. It was a crazy love affair that ended, as it needed to. He was my first love. I had no prior experience."

Gary Oldman has struggled with alcoholism

Gary Oldman has been through a lot in his life, including a long-term struggle with alcoholism. The Sun writes that the actor spent much of the 1990s drinking. "After landing his first Hollywood roles in the early Nineties, with parts including Lee Harvey Oswald in 1991's JFK, he celebrated his success by hell-raising with fellow hard-partying stars including Kiefer Sutherland." The publication further notes that Oldman spent 24 hours in jail in 1991 after being charged with drunk driving.

Oldman credits Demi Moore with setting him on a path toward recovery. In 1995, the two were co-starring in The Scarlet Letter when he says she turned to him and told him he needed help. "Demi Moore said, 'You're very ill — you have to go away. I am very worried about you.'" Oldman eventually ended up in Alcoholics Anonymous. 

He said, "I was just worn out. It's like a three-headed dragon, it attacks you spiritually, emotionally and physically. It likes to claim people. And I was just sick and tired of being sick and tired. I knew that I was going to die. There were things I wanted to accomplish. But for the grace of God, I'm here today and people like River Phoenix aren't." (via The Sun).

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Gary Oldman says the Harry Potter films gave him more time with his kids

Gary Oldman's third marriage was to Donya Fiorentino from 1997 to 2001, though the pair divorced and Oldman ultimately ended up with sole custody of the pair's two children, Charlie and Gulliver. He explained to The Sun, "I woke up one day and was 43 years old and I was a single dad and had these two kids. It wasn't exactly what I'd planned, but there it was in front of me. So I just made a decision to be at home more."

Oldman went on to add that playing Sirius Black in the Harry Potter films gave him more time with his kids. "They allowed me, certainly financially, to really be at home with the kids. You make a Harry Potter movie for six weeks . . . and then you have maybe seven months at home." (via The Sun).

Despite that, once the films were finished, Oldman was ready to move on. He told Metro that he wouldn't miss the experience, saying that he wasn't sad about the end of the series. "No I'm not but I'm sure that David Yates [director of the last four films] is, because he will never be allowed to work as slowly again."

He also praised Daniel Radcliffe, who stars as the titular character. "I know that, as an actor, Dan holds me in high regard. But it's so strange. I saw him about a year ago here in LA and we had dinner. Here's this kid who has done Equus and was about to star on Broadway singing and dancing. And he's fearless. I remember this wonderfully bright kid who was 12 or 13 when I first worked with him. He's a man now. It's funny to watch."