Kiefer Sutherland: ‘There’s a Price to Pay’ for Drinking

Kiefer Sutherland is hard at work on "The Designated Survivor." (Credit: ABC)
Kiefer Sutherland is hard at work on “The Designated Survivor.” (Photo: ABC)

Kiefer Sutherland is back in the spotlight as the star of a new show on ABC, The Designated Survivor, in which he plays the president of the United States. With that comes renewed interest in Sutherland — as well as some scrutiny of the 49-year-old actor. He met it head on in a New York Times article published today, which touched on his troubled history with alcohol.

Sutherland has a solid Hollywood career, but he also has a reputation for being a hard-charging drinker. There are stories of his public intoxication (as recently as last year) and involvement in barroom brawls, as well as claims of him being unprofessional on the set of 24 as a result of his drinking. In 2014, Freddie Prinze Jr., who did a stint on Season 8 of the Fox series, called Sutherland “the most unprofessional dude in the world.” But the most serious example of his trouble with alcohol were the 48 days he spent in jail in 2007, after his fourth DUI arrest. Despite his unsavory past, Sutherland has no qualms about discussing his relationship with booze.

“It’s been a part of my life, there’s no denying that,” he told the New York Times. “It’s not something I do alone. I like going out with friends after work. It’s a way of letting loose. Having said that, I can tell you that if I look back on my life any of the negative things that have happened usually have [drinking] as a root cause, whether it was a DUI, or fighting, or a breakup, a relationship not working. There’s a price to pay for it. If you take a look at the songs, none of them are positive.”

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The songs he’s referring to are from his first album of country music, Down in a Hole, which was released earlier this year and is a journal of sorts. While the intensely personal album received decent reviews, and fans are undoubtedly looking forward to having Sutherland back on the small screen weekly, it’s hard to forget the lore that surrounds him and his party persona, which includes his infamous tackling of a Christmas tree in 2005.

It was harmless fun (for everyone but that artificial tree), but we hope he’s learned from his past mistakes. Maybe his next album will be a little more light-hearted.