Published November 14, 2012
At 18, Claudia Christian landed her first TV series with ‘Berringers.’ From there she started a career that included parts in the Michael Keaton movie ‘Clean and Sober’ and the sci-fi megahit ‘Babylon 5.’ Now 47, Christian has worked with George Clooney (who she enjoyed a fling with), Sharon Stone, and Nic Cage, but she tells FOX411 that her career was nearly derailed by alcoholism and drug use.
In the new book ‘Babylon Confidential,’ Christian tells her story of fame, partying, sex, addiction, and eventual recovery.
FOX411: You had a long on again off again relationship with Dodi Fayed, who was killed in the tragic car accident with Princess Diana.
Claudia Christian: Dodi and I met when I was 18. He was so charming and I was intrigued. He was very romantic, he immediately sent me flowers and pursued me. We dated for a while but then it became clear to me that it wasn’t my sort of lifestyle. It was a bit over the top with the bodyguards. I was very Western, I was making my own money and his father was very Egyptian. The women stayed in the kitchen when they would eat. Dodi was lovely, but I grew bored, I was young. We became friends and every time I went back to Europe I’d stay with him.
We sort of rekindled our relationship towards the end of his life, and about a year before he died we became intimate again, and that’s when he asked me if I would have his baby. I thought about it for a minute of course, because I loved him. I’d always wanted a kid and I’d suffered miscarriages. But then I thought about the reality of it. I really thought that with the Fayed power and money, the minute the kid would be born, the kid would be living Dodi’s life.
I actually left under very stupid circumstances. I was staying at his house in London when he asked me, and I just wrote a note and left. I couldn’t handle it and I literally never heard from him again, and then he died. It was heartbreaking. We had stayed in touch for nearly two decades. Our friendship deserved more respect than I gave it.
FOX411: And you had a one night stand with George Clooney?
CC: I think it was a one afternoon stand. It wasn’t anything to write home about. Back in those days I was doing blow.
FOX411: But you rejected William Shatner’s advances.
CC: That was just plain disgusting. Bless him, the guy is so full of himself, but he’s made a career out of it.
FOX411: Is it scary aging in Hollywood?
CC: I purposely didn’t go to college because I thought I can act and these are my best money making years, so I worked my ass for ten years in my teens and 20’s and made enough to buy a house. I knew buying houses was going to make me a lot more money than acting unless I got a big break. I was always very realistic about it. I always knew in my 30s and 40s that I was going to have to diversify, and I did.
I was smart. A lot of my friends in their 50s and 60s don’t have a pot to piss in because they were stupid. They spent all their money on clothes and plastic surgery. I didn’t do that. I don’t have a lot of those internal fears that I think a lot of actresses have because I never based my career on my looks. I never thought I was good looking or a sex symbol.
FOX411: Your 'Babylon 5' sci-fi fans beg to differ.
CC: They are definitely the most enthusiastic, ardent fans I’ve ever met. They’re amazing, they’re so supportive. Their love and support have carried me through many a dark day. I’m so grateful that I did ‘Babylon 5’ and ‘Highlander’ and created a fan base. I’m forever in debt. Listen, I’ve been working for 30 years in an industry that’s the toughest in the world. I’m very grateful. I’m still working at 47. I feel blessed.
FOX411: You write about subscribing to a controversial treatment for alcoholism called the Sinclair method.
CC: As long as you take your pills religiously every time you drink, you are in remission. Alcoholism is a long term illness, and you have to treat it as such. If you go off the pills you will relearn the addictive behavior. It takes some people a few months to relearn it (sober behavior), and for some people it’s the first drink.
FOX411: When did you realize you were an alcoholic?
CC: It hit me around 39. For five years I was in the throes of it. In those five years I was sober most of the year. That’s the insidious nature of addiction: “If I go 10 months sober it means I’m not an alcoholic.” This is what the alcoholic brain does to you.
FOX411: So you now have no desire to drink.
CC: I still drink socially, but I certainly have no compulsion ,and I don’t think about alcohol. I’m back to the way I was before the alcohol took over. I don’t like to use the word cured, I like to say I’m in remission. We’re still a very puritanical society when it comes to addiction and we really do believe it’s a moral issue. And now there is a medically proven FDA approved way to treat alcoholism, and the fact that we’re not utilizing it more is ridiculous.
FOX411: What kind of drinker were you?
CC: I was a binger. I would go dry for nine months and then fall off the wagon. That is actually more harmful to your body. For me, I detoxed cold turkey which is worse because it kills off more brain cells. It definitely affected my memory.
I would binge anywhere from a day to a week, till I couldn’t drink anymore and I’d be so sick. My worst recovery took eight days. The first two days I couldn’t see, I was scared I was going to die because I couldn’t even walk or talk. I was having seizures.