Jonathan Rhys Meyers is used to having his photo taken. That doesn’t make this OK.
As the new spy thriller Damascus Cover was being presented to the world at the Cannes Film Festival this week, its star was being “papped” on the streets of London.
Far from the glamour of the South of France, a barely recognisable Jonathan Rhys Meyers sipped from one of the two bottles of spirits he had just purchased at a convenience store, in broad daylight.
How do we know this?
A photographer was there to capture the moment his distinctive lips curled around a vodka bottle lid, which he used as a shot glass as he walked down the street.
The Hollywood heartthrob could easily be mistaken for a homeless person.
His jacket is inside out, his fly undone and he has the tell-tale marks of spilled vodka dribbled down his t-shirt.
These photos are desperately, desperately sad.
And we are not showing them to you.
Instead, try these non-papped shots of Jonathan Rhys Meyers (post continues after gallery):
When I saw them on the Daily Mail website today, I immediately thought of all the possible alternative reasons why the Golden Globe winner may have been photographed in such a state (perhaps subconsciously trying to quiet the uneasiness I felt by viewing them).
Maybe he was coming from a bucks’ party?
Maybe, like me only two hours ago, he was out in public unwashed and unkempt because his shower was being renovated?
But as more and more details from the photos registered, the reason for my discomfort became increasingly obvious.
These images show a man in crisis.
Rhys Meyers’ battle with alcoholism is well-known.
He has been in and out of rehab, arrested for public drunkenness, and was rushed to hospital in 2011 after a suspected suicide attempt.
He has spoken about how, for him, addiction is likely genetic. As a child, he says, he would be forced to steal food when his single mother spent all her dole money on booze.
Related story: “My mother was, and still is, a functioning alcoholic.”
While only a month ago the newly-engaged Rhys Meyers, who has three movies set to be released this year, appeared to be winning his private battle.
Now, it seems he is at rock bottom.
Which begs the question, is it ethically okay that this man’s lowest point is splashed all over our newspapers, newsfeeds and news sites just because of his profession?