True to his on-screen personae, Gerard Butler proved that he can be heroic in real-life. I’m not speaking of his saving the life of a young boy from drowning in the River Tay several years back while picnic-ing with his mother, for which he received an award. Nor am I speaking of his various acts of gallantry over the years, for example, fixing the table of an elderly couple dining nearby so that they could better enjoy their anniversary, helping a woman retrieve her belongings which scattered from her purse after she fell on the sidewalk, or paying for the veterinary bills of a family whose family dog would otherwise have certainly been euthanized.
I’m talking more specifically of the heroic act of courage it took for him to recognize that he had a dependence on painkillers and the even more courageous effort it took for him to admit the problem, as well as admit himself into the Betty Ford Clinic in California.
Only after he completed his three weeks of treatment did it become public knowledge, over which the papparazzi immediately pounced. TMZ naturally embellished the story by adding the word ‘cocaine’ to their headlines. While I don’t have the pleasure of counting Gerard’s company with my own, I find it appallingly disturbing that the media is so ready to focus entirely on the negative aspect of this story, and all the other stories like it.
Can we not focus on the point that Gerard recognized he had a problem, and chose to do something about it without ending up on the nightly news like so many Lindsay Lohans or Gary Buseys? Is the fact that he didn’t have to go kicking and screaming and leaving a pile of heartbreak in his wake not in itself newsworthy? Or perhaps the fact that he kept it quiet until he was released is what most upsets the media hounds. There was no sensational story and even when they thought there might be, he gave them nothing but a pleasant smile and wave in return, pointing out at the Vanity Fair Oscar party how great he felt.
Well, all I can say is my hat’s off to Gerard. For being human and having a problem. But for also being able to challenge himself and recover while maintaining his grace and dignity.