Idris Elba (London, 51 years old) has no shortage of projects. Only in the last year has he appeared in films such as Luther: Night Falls, Tyler Rake 2 or the series Kidnapping in the Air. He even says no to some papers. In June, for example, it was made public that Elba had refused to play the legendary James Bond years ago because of the racist comments that had generated that possibility. "Those who were not happy with the idea turned everything into something disgusting and discouraging, because it became a matter of race. It became absurd and I took the worst part," he said in an interview on the SmartLess podcast. This Monday, October 2, the British actor has reappeared in another podcast, Changes with Annie Macmanus, and this time he has confessed that he has been going to therapy for a year for unhealthy habits that have to do, precisely, with his obsession with work.
"It's not because I don't like myself or anything like that, it's just because I have some unhealthy habits. And I work in an industry where I am rewarded for those unhealthy habits," acknowledged the interpreter, who this year has also become one of the stars that will star in the 2024 Pirelli calendar. "It's a lot. In my therapy, I've been thinking a lot about changing," admitted the self-described "workaholic," for whom his love of keeping busy with projects has had a negative impact on his well-being.
Idris Elba: "When my father died, a different version of me was born"
"Nothing that's too extreme is good, everything needs balance, but I'm massively rewarded for being a workaholic compared to someone who says 'Wait, I'm not going to see my family for six months.' Instead, I'm there, crushing myself and making a new family and then leaving it," shared the actor, who is currently married to his third wife, 29-year-old model Sabrina Dhowre, whom he married in 2019. Before her, Elba walked down the aisle for the first time in 1999 with Kim Norgaard, with whom she had a daughter, Isan, who is now 21. His second marriage was fleeting, to Sonya Hamlin and lasted only a few months in 2006. He later maintained a relationship until early 2016 with Naiyana Garth, mother of his second son, nine-year-old Winston. "Those are paths where I had to say, 'I have to adapt,'" The Whireactor confirmed on the podcast, talking about prioritizing work above all else.
Elba defended his firm resolve to find activities that help him relax. The big problem in his case, he admitted, is that it's the work itself that relaxes him. "The thing is, the things that relax me end up being work," he explained: "My studio in my house, I love being there. Open the laptop and say, 'I don't know what to do today' and this or that will come out. And that makes me euphoric and at the same time relaxes me." Among his upcoming projects is already the animated miniseries Knuckles, which premieres in November of this year and for which Elba lends his voice, or the films Heads of State and Infernus, which are still in production and pre-production phases.
Sabrina Dhowre and Idris Elba attend a Rugby World Cup 2023 campaign at the Palais De Tokyo, on September 7, 2023 in Paris, France.Dave Benett (Dave Benett/Getty Images for JLR)
Although acting has become his main source of income, Elba, who is worth an estimated $40 million, has also pursued a career in music. He has DJed at various events, including celebrity parties, in 2006 he released a four-track EP and in 2009 a six-track EP. As a producer, he has worked with artists such as Jay-Z, K. or Mr. Hudson, and in 2018 he launched his own music label called 7Wallace. In addition, as a rapper and musician he has collaborated with artists such as Madonna, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Taylor Swift and Jay Robinson, and often appears in music videos for other artists or even directs them.
"I could work 10 days on a movie, with underwater sequences holding my breath for six minutes, and come back and sit in my studio and feel relaxed. More than sitting on the couch with the family, which is bad, right?" the actor revealed. "This is the part where I have to normalize what relaxes me, it can't be all work," he added. So far, you've identified the problem, recognized it, and sought help, which is a good place to start.