Charlie Hunnam, star of the “Sons of Anarchy,” quit the role of Christian Grey in “Fifty Shades of Grey” because he had a nervous breakdown, but is better now.
“I just had, frankly, something of a nervous breakdown,” Hunnam told Moviefone. “I bit off more than I could chew and it was painful. I loved the character and I wanted to do it.”
Charlie said he began experiencing severe anxiety after realizing he didn’t have enough time to prepare for the role while juggling his hectic filming schedule for “Sons of Anarchy.”
Christian Grey was one of the most coveted roles in Hollywood, and one of the most talked about all last year, following the blockbuster success of Fifty Shades of Grey, the 2011 erotic trilogy by British author E.L. James.
Hunnam became the center of an international media firestorm immediately after being cast as Christian Grey in September 2013. Charlie said his nervous breakdown occurred after he was slammed in fan forums by people who thought he was the wrong choice for the role and after being constantly hounded by paparazzi and media everywhere he went.
Hunnam was also exhausted from his nonstop work schedule, which required him to film Sons of Anarchy until 11 p.m. on a Friday, fly out of town to rehearse “Fifty Shades” over the weekend and start shooting that following Monday, all while juggling other projects midweek.
Exacerbating the situation was the unresolved depression and grief Hunnam was dealing with after the May 2013 death of his father, Billy. In October 2013, Charlie abruptly quit “Fifty Shades,” saying he needed to spend time healing.
Looking back, Hunnam confessed he also didn’t want to fail in such a high-profile role, but is happy with the decision he made, because he’s doing a lot better now. “It was a really, really difficult time in my life,” he said. “It was just a s**t situation.”
Irish actor Jamie Dornan, who replaced Hunnam as Christian Grey, co-stars opposite Dakota Johnson, the daughter of actress Melanie Griffith.
Charlie Reveals Diet and Workout Secrets
Meanwhile, Hunnam is earning raves after being named the new face of Calvin Klein’s Reveal For Him fragrance. In the sexy ad campaign, Charlie is photographed shirtless alongside Victoria’s Secret supermodel Doutzen Kroes.
The athletic 6-foot-1 Charlie maintains his rippling physique by following a clean, high-protein diet and working out up to two and a half hours a day lifting weights. Hunnam, who showed off his buff body in the 2013 sci-fi flick, “Pacific Rim,” said actors often don’t get enough credit for the hard work and long hours they put in.
“I always think it’s slightly irritating when people are like, “Well, if I was an actor and all I had to do was look good, I could be that ripped too,'” said Hunnam. “Well, I’ve got news for you, man! I work 15 hours a day and still go to the gym.
“Most people work eight hours a day and say, ‘I haven’t got time to work out.’ Bulls***! If you want to be super-fit and look ripped, then you find the time no matter what.”