Heartbreak that drove Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin to be 'hooked on heroin'Sources say he has been 'hooked for a year and a half''Driven to drugs' after split from Mila Kunis
23:57 GMT, 5 August 2012
Fallen star: A dishevelled Culkin, pictured near his New York home earlier this year
On a hot night in June, Macaulay Culkin is DJ-ing at Le Poisson Rouge, a nightclub with arty pretensions in Greenwich Village, New York.
Culkin – famous at ten, a millionaire at 12 and a has-been at 15 – lives not far away in a magnificent 2 million loft apartment and can be found at Le Poisson Rouge once a month plying what passes for his trade these days.
On this night, there are absences to visit a back room, and when Culkin and his coterie of friends return, they smell of marijuana.
People who know him say he’s worlds away from the character of Kevin McCallister, the joyful young boy in Home Alone who charmed millions of movie-goers.
Today, skinny to the point of skeletal, Culkin looks far older than his 31 years. His alabaster skin appears papery and his green eyes framed with blonde lashes add to the air of vulnerability which clings to him.
A neighbour at the Shakespeare Book Shop near his home said that Culkin now looks so bad she could easily confuse him with a tramp. He wears ‘vintage’ clothing from secondhand stores, in particular a brown leather women’s jacket, and goes everywhere with his small group of friends.
Indeed, it transpires that Culkin, a multi-millionaire thanks to his career as a child actor, has fallen into some unwholesome company.
One New York source said: ‘He mixes with a crowd of rich kids who split their time between Miami and New York. They are a fast crowd.’
One fairly new development is a friendship with a rocker Adam Green, from a punk band called the Moldy Peaches. They are so close that Culkin joined the group on a two-month tour of Europe recently, and took to the stage to duet with Green on some of their dates.
Green is a fan of the drug ketamine (originally designed to sedate horses). Disturbingly, he persuaded Culkin to star in a ‘ketamine-inspired’ film, The Wrong Ferrari, last year. Shot on an iPhone, it is both puerile and incomprehensible.
Green giggled: ‘I was on a lot of ketamine at the time … It’s a ketamine classic.’
'He's been drawn into Pete Doherty's circle of friends'
He’s since laid off the drug somewhat, saying: ‘I feel that it’s given me brain damage.’
Green, who lost a bandmate to a drug overdose, has brought Culkin into the orbit of the notorious and hopelessly addicted Pete Doherty, another of his chums who also appeared in the film.
So what are we to make of all this
This February, Macaulay Culkin was pictured looking desperately unwell. In the photo, taken in New York, he clutched a tin of Red Bull and looked as if he was ill or suffering some kind of addiction, although his publicist said he was ‘in perfectly good health’.
Last week, his story took a dramatic
turn when the National Enquirer published a claim that he is ‘close to
death’, thanks to addictions to prescription drugs and heroin.
photos appeared of a pale and dishevelled Culkin walking along a
Hollywood street clutching his stomach and appearing to retch against an
ivy-clad wall, adding fuel to the rumours that all is not well.
Heartbreak: Culkin with his ex-girlfriend, actress Mila Kunis
Culkin’s PR, Michelle Bega, denies it all, calling the report ‘ridiculously and impossibly fictitious’.
The staff at a Duane Reade pharmacy store in Manhattan confirmed that Culkin comes in ‘fairly regularly’, but declined to comment further.
However, the magazine’s account of Culkin’s alleged addictions is extremely detailed. It claims he is spending 3,800 a month on drugs, a habit which has grown since he was dumped by his girlfriend of eight years, actress Mila Kunis, at the end of 2010.
'The drug abuse has escalated… he needs help'
The magazine contends that Culkin is ‘hopelessly hooked’ and quotes sources who say they have seen him use a mixture of drugs. They say he regularly shoots up heroin and the painkiller oxycodone – a semi-synthetic opiate sometimes used by cancer patients.
He invites friends for poker parties, which turn into drugs binges with a ‘close circle of whacked-out pals’.
A supposed insider told the magazine: ‘He’s been hooked for a year and a half … Mac is surrounding himself with junkies and lowlifes.’
Another pal allegedly said: ‘Macaulay Culkin is surely dying. He’s addicted to heroin, Oxycodone and the painkillers Percocet and Vicodin. I have witnessed his drug-taking, which has escalated over the past year and a half to the point where he needs serious help.’
The friend says Culkin buys 300 to 400 Vicodin and Percocet painkillers every ten days at $5 per pill.
But the high is no longer enough, so he’s shooting up heroin and Oxycodone, too. According to medical experts, the dangers are of a cardiac arrest or cardiac arrhythmia.
Why would Culkin play such a deadly game with his health
Rich at 10: The former child star made $70,000 for the first Home Alone movie and 3 million for the sequel
According to the National Enquirer, his descent began when he split with Kunis. He is apparently even more depressed since she started dating fellow actor Ashton Kutcher, who broke up with wife Demi Moore last year. But there are other tragedies in the story of the fall of Macaulay Culkin.
Raised with six siblings in a one-bedroom apartment, he started landing movie roles at eight. His father Kit, an actor, started him out on his career when he was only four.
He was a millionaire by ten, thanks to the first Home Alone film. He was paid 70,000 for that and 3 million for the sequel. ‘I’d made enough money by the time I was 12 to never have to work again,’ he told an interviewer.
At the time, his Home Alone director, the late John Hughes, said of Culkin: ‘He’s got a nice family who care about him, and he certainly hasn’t suffered from all this working.’
But this was a woeful miscalculation. Culkin later said that Kit ruled the family – ‘his kingdom’ – by humiliation, and that even when they all moved into a huge house in New York, which was paid for by Macaulay, the bullying did not stop.
In 2004 he said: ‘My father was overbearing. Very controlling. He was always the way he is, even before my success. He’d play mind games to make sure I knew my place.’
At 14, Culkin announced that he was quitting acting. The following year his father left, after which his mother Patricia filed for custody of Macaulay and his siblings, igniting a bitter public battle with Kit.
Eventually, Culkin had his parents legally blocked from controlling his 11 million fortune — a move that estranged him for good from his father, who now lives in Arizona.
All this – the overbearing father, the lawsuits – calls to mind parallel experiences in the life of Michael Jackson, who became a friend of Culkin’s just after the Home Alone films.
Culkin later recalled that Jackson simply rang him up and invited him to come over and play video games.
The reason for the friendship, he said, was that they were both eternally eight years old.
Culkin loyally testified during a 2009 trial, in which Jackson was accused of molesting another boy, that the singer had never touched him inappropriately.
Having skipped his final year of high school, at 17 Culkin married his sweetheart, Rachel Miner. /08/06/article-0-020992090000044D-683_306x423.jpg” width=”306″ height=”423″ alt=”Bad influence: Culkin has developed a friendship with Moldy Peaches musician Adam Green, a self-confessed drug user” class=”blkBorder” />
Bad influence: Culkin has developed a friendship with Moldy Peaches musician Adam Green, a self-confessed drug user
In real life, Culkin played her househusband – walking the dog and keeping house. She said in interviews that he cooked for her every night.
There were a couple of forays into the public eye. In 2000, Culkin took on a role in a London play called Madame Melville, and while he was in the UK he wrote a memoir, Junior, which came out in 2006.
Part biography, part meditation on fame, it was a curious book which he had wanted to present without putting his name on it. He explained that he felt as if the world owned ‘Macaulay Culkin’ and he didn’t want anything to do with that character.
In 2003 he was in the indie film Party People, playing a drug user. The following year, in a case of life imitating art, he was arrested in Oklahoma for marijuana possession. He also had prescription drugs on him.
He was fined and given three one-year suspended prison terms.
If that was not bad enough, four years ago his sister Dakota was killed in a car accident – a tragedy which his brother Kieran said they had all struggled to cope with. She left a nightclub in Los Angeles and was struck by a car, dying in hospital the following day.
Her death didn’t bring the family together. Culkin remains unreconciled to both parents.
For the past three years, he has lived in a large apartment in the trendy NoHo area of New York. He has the entire eighth floor. One neighbour is a supermarket magnate.
A close friend of Macaulay’s pal Adam Green says that the former child actor is not a recluse, just someone who values his privacy.
As Culkin once said: ‘I had all the fame anyone could want, and I ran away from it.’
But the question now is whether running away is doing him even more damage than the fame that he grew to loathe.