The commercial opportunities kept coming, but his reaction to what he had thought would feel like success was complicated. For one, he could afford pricey drugs, which he had previously avoided out of thrift, but they nearly killed him.
He recalls that when he was initially presented with cocaine, his reaction was to wonder, “How much does this stuff cost?” and then to recoil: “Oh God, no, I’m not doing that.”
Once drugs were no longer, in his words, “cost prohibitive,” he overdosed, and he finally had to get help to give them up.
Throughout his career, which spans mainstream and independent film, network TV and commercials, and playing a version of himself as the host of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” Baldwin recounts, he has struggled with balancing projects that feed his soul and those that feed his bank account. He has also struggled with feeling fulfilled.
Even as he accumulated awards and made a lot of money playing the deadpan exec Jack Donaghy on NBC’s “30 Rock,” he was “unhappy,” he says: “I went home and I had a pint of ice cream every night and watched Turner Classic Movies. I was all by myself.”
He is no longer by himself. Six years ago, he got married and had three kids in three years (“You know, ’30 Rock’ was over. I had a lot of time on my hands”) and these days his definition of success has broadened. He wants to stay married. He aims to provide for and help raise his children. And he seems to feel a bit stunned but also satisfied by how his life has turned out.
“I’m lucky,” he says. “I got very lucky.”