The untold truth of Tom Hardy

Tom Hardy is one of the best actors of his generation. Seriously, who else could sit in a car for 90 minutes and make it interesting? Who else could command a movie screen while wearing a furry coat and a training mask?

But while he's certainly had an amazing career, Hardy has also faced a number of problems in his private life—including struggling with substance abuse, encountering psychotic criminals, and throwing down with out-of-control costars. The British superstar leads a truly unusual life, and today, we're digging deep into the untold truth of Tom Hardy.

The man loves dogs

If you're lucky, maybe someday you'll find someone who loves you half as much as Tom Hardy loves dogs. The British actor is absolutely infatuated with man's best friend, even saying they're "like angels." The man has been obsessed with canines since his teenage years, when someone gave him a pit bull-Labrador mix named—believe it or not—Mad Max. Evidently, the two grew so close that Hardy actually brought Max along to his acting classes, describing the dog as his "support unit." Tragically, Max passed away in 2011, and according to Vanity Fair, the actor cremated his pet and, for a while, kept the ashes on his sofa, where his dog loved to sit.

That same year, while working on Lawless, Hardy spotted a stray roaming the streets. He quickly rescued the animal, named him Woodstock, and took the canine back to London. And in 2015, the duo appeared in a PETA campaign, encouraging people to adopt homeless dogs. In an interview with E! Online, Hardy admitted he's so fond of rescuing dogs that, "My missus, she's like, 'You're not allowed to bring another dog back from a job.' But I'll always find one." Hardy also discovered a lonely pup on the set of The Drop, but instead of keeping this one as a pet, he helped find it a loving home. In fact, he's helped multiple dogs find caring owners. As he once put it, "[Dogs] are my favorite animal. Ever."

He looked up to Michael Fassbender at school

Want to become an internationally famous British actor? Then you should probably enroll at the Drama Centre London. This UK school boasts an impressive list of alumni, including Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, and of course, Tom Hardy. As you might assume, with all this serious talent passing through its doors, the Drama Centre is a pretty intense institution. In an interview with GQ, Hardy compared the place to the school in Whiplash and joked that Hannibal Lecter was based on his instructor. But in addition to dealing with tough teachers, Hardy also found himself in the shadow of fellow classmate Michael Fassbender.

Fassbender was two years ahead of Hardy, and evidently, he was the most popular guy in school. In numerous interviews, Hardy claimed Fassbender was "the guy," "the MVP," and "the s**t." Talking to The Daily Beast, Hardy explained, "Everybody wanted to be like [Fassbender]…secretly I was like, 'Ah, I wish I was as good as him!" However, Fassbender did occasionally annoy his classmates by taking things a bit too far. As Hardy explained, Fassbender was starring in a play as a legless World War I vet, and like a true Method actor, he refused to get out of his wheelchair. This was pretty annoying during lunch as everyone in school had to wait for Fassbender to slowly wheel his way down the cafeteria line.

But despite Fassbender's quirks, Hardy considered him an "awesome" guy. The two finally got to act alongside each other in Band of Brothers, and Hardy even replaced his old classmate in the movie Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Hardy would like to reunite with his old costar, saying, "I've got mad respect for him. I'd love to go up against him on stage." Hardy vs. Fassbender? Please, take all our money, right now.

Don't dis him on Twitter

In December 2015, film critic Drew McWeeny (of Hitfix) was supposed to interview the Revenant tag team of Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy. Unfortunately, things didn't go exactly as planned. For some reason, McWeeny was left waiting for four hours and never spoke to either actor. Frustrated, the critic took to Twitter and aimed his anger at Hardy, berating the star in a series of irritated tweets.

"I'll say it," McWeeny wrote, "Tom Hardy should stop doing junkets. He's terrible at them, and he makes it impossible for anyone to do their jobs." McWeeny continued with the barrage, sarcastically saying, "I get it, dude. Being a movie star is a burden." He also referred to Hardy as a spoiled baby and a delicate flower. In fairness to McWeeny, this was really the straw that broke the camel's back. According to the critic, he'd tried to interview Hardy on multiple occasions, only to have the actor (allegedly) skip out.

Of course, when McWeeny launched his firestorm, he probably didn't expect Hardy to respond to his comments. Ready to share his side of the story, Hardy posted an online letter, saying he didn't leave McWeeny hanging on purpose. According to Hardy, he was "unaware that ANYBODY was waiting" and thought he'd finished all his interviews for the day. The actor then insinuated McWeeny wouldn't insult him to his face, apologized for the incident, and ended the letter with, "Best regards and thanks for calling me an a**hole a lot. Tommy xxx."

Oddly enough, Hardy also thanked McWeeny for sending him an apologetic email. According to the critic, he never sent the actor any kind of letter. On Twitter, he then negatively compared Hardy to Donald Trump, said the actor was "being very silly," but also claimed Mad Max: Fury Road was one of his favorite films of the year. Eventually, in a piece for Hitfix, McWeeny toned down the insults, writing that he wanted to "wrap things up" between them. Still, he did admit that he was "done with junkets" for good.

We can't say for sure, but we're guessing Hardy probably didn't shed any tears over that.

He was arrested as a teen

Tom Hardy has played his fair share of troublemakers onscreen, from the villainous Kray twins to the psychotic Charles Bronson. Perhaps he can channel all that angry energy thanks to his past run-ins with the law. While he's kept to the straight-and-narrow in recent years, Hardy was a bit more rambunctious as a teenager. According to the actor himself, "Between the ages of 12 and 19, I was a naughty boy…"

Growing up, Hardy attended a boarding school, but as you've probably guessed, he wasn't exactly a model student. In fact, according to author James Haydock, Hardy was kicked out after he was caught stealing sports uniforms. He was also tossed in the clink on several occasions for disorderly conduct. But the closest Hardy came to serving serious prison time was when the police pulled him over in a stolen car. Evidently, Hardy and a buddy had borrowed someone's Mercedes, and they were having a grand old time driving around town. Making things worse, the police found Hardy had a gun.

Fortunately for the future superstar, his comrade-in-crime was the son of a diplomat, so the whole incident quietly disappeared. But what spurred all this rebellious behavior? Well, as Hardy put it, "I was an obnoxious, trouble-making lunatic. Not comfortable in my own skin and displacing that into the world. A complete twat. A knobhead." But in addition to all the self-loathing, there was another factor in Hardy's rowdy youth, one that involved a lot of illegal substances.

He struggled with drug addiction

Before all the glitz and glamor, before the big paychecks and award shows, Tom Hardy walked a fine line between life and death. For years, the actor struggled with substance abuse, a problem that started at age 13, when Hardy started hitting the bottle. Over time, his addictions grew worse, and things took a real nosedive after Hardy appeared in Star Trek: Nemesis. In the film, he played the villainous Shinzon, but after the movie bombed, his substance abuse spiraled out of control.

Soon, Hardy found himself addicted to crack, and the drug devastated his life, causing his first marriage to end in divorce. Even worse, he started passing out and waking up in strange places. "In a blackout, I could end up anywhere," Hardy said. "I might wake up somewhere the other side of London, or in another country. Or in bed with someone I didn't know, not knowing how I got there. Bleeding." Hardy described his addiction as a "400lb orangutan" out to kill him and admitted he was "lucky" he didn't contract HIV.

Things got so bad that Hardy confessed he would've sold his mother for "a rock of crack." The breaking point finally came in 2003, when he woke up in the street in a mess of blood and vomit. With the support of his parents, Hardy went to rehab and managed to kick his addictions. And in addition to his mom and dad, Hardy credits his profession for helping him defeat his demons. As he put it, "The only thing that saved me through that dark time was acting."

On-set altercations

While The Revenant is certainly amazing to look at, cast and crew said working on the film was "living hell." The temperature often hovered around -22 degrees Fahrenheit, actors were instructed to lose a lot of weight, and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki stretched out the schedule by insisting on shooting in natural light. So it should come as no surprise that it got pretty tense around the set—but when things reached the breaking point, Hardy showed up to the rescue.

Hoping to break the tension, Hardy challenged director Alejandro Iñárritu to a wrestling match. As the actor (who played fur trapper John Fitzgerald) explained, "When things get a bit too serious, I go, 'Why don't we have a cuddle in front of all these people here?'" He then put Iñárritu in a chokehold before the two tumbled into the snow. Taking the joke even further, Hardy made T-shirts depicting the MMA match and gave them to the crew.

But not every on-set altercation was for laughs. While filming Lawless, things got heated between Hardy and costar Shia LaBeouf. According to the film's director, John Hillcoat, the incident "escalated to the point where they had to both be restrained." So what sparked the incident? Well, that's a little unclear. Hardy claims LaBeouf attacked him after "drinking moonshine." Of course, he also sarcastically said LaBeouf knocked him out cold, a claim that Hillcoat emphatically denies.

As for LaBeouf, the Transformers star denies there was any alcohol involved and insists the two were just having a brotherly battle. "That was straight love," LaBeouf explained. "We were playing brothers. There was a constant finger-in-the-ear [teasing] thing going on for a while." Whatever really happened, it's a good thing both actors were restrained, as Hardy probably would've destroyed LaBeouf in a "teasing" contest.

His rocky relationship with Charlize Theron

If you've seen Mad Max: Fury Road, then you know it's one of the greatest action movies in recent memory. But in addition to the crazy car chases and spectacular practical effects, one of the film's highlights is the back-and-forth relationship between Hardy's Max Rockatansky and Charlize Theron's Imperator Furiosa. And while their onscreen dynamic was definitely contentious, their onset relationship was just as difficult.

As Theron explained to Esquire, "We f****n' went at it, yeah." Evidently, the two actors were at each other's throats from the beginning. The setting certainly didn't help either, as the two were constantly cooped up inside a truck. "It was like a family road trip that just never went anywhere," Theron elaborated. "We never got anywhere. We just drove. We drove into nothingness, and that was maddening sometimes." Theron also said there wasn't really a script, and that extra irritation boiled over into their feud.

Of course, just like Max and Furiosa, their relationship evolved over time. As director George Miller put it, just like "the two characters come together out of necessity and rather reluctantly…to same extent that was the trajectory of [Hardy and Theron's] relationship as well." Theron also admitted the two had "respect for each other," and all that anger probably made the film better. "If we were chum-chum, maybe the movie would have been ten times worse."

As for Hardy himself, he insists "there's really no hatchet" to bury, and that he'd love to work with Theron again. That's probably because after filming, he gave his costar a self-portrait, complete with an inscription that read, "You are an absolute nightmare, BUT you are also f*****g awesome. I'll kind of miss you. Love, Tommy."

He's met with some pretty scary people

When it comes to researching and preparation, Hardy is one dedicated dude. In fact, sometimes his dedication takes him to scary places—like Wakefield prison, home of the most infamous inmate in Great Britain: Charles Bronson.

Originally arrested for armed robbery, Bronson made a name for himself by declaring war on the prison system. Over the decades, he's attacked over 20 guards, brutalized fellow inmates, and taken multiple hostages. With that track record, it seems pretty insane to visit this guy, but when Hardy was cast as the convict in Nicolas Winding Refn's 2008 biopic, he met with Bronson on four separate occasions to prepare for the part.

At first, Bronson was unimpressed with Hardy's build, but he gave his seal of approval after the actor put on a few pounds. Bronson even claimed, "You wouldn't want to meet him down a dark alley at 3 AM." Hardy also won the inmate over with gifts of muffins and banana milkshakes. In fact, Bronson was so impressed that he allegedly shaved off his mustache and sent it to Hardy so he could use it during filming.

But Bronson isn't the only scary character Hardy's met up with. While preparing to play Reggie and Ronnie Kray, identical twin gangsters, for the film Legend, the actor spent time chatting with Freddie Foreman, an alleged killer who worked with the Krays. Foreman was sentenced to ten years as an accessory to murder and claims to have intimidated witnesses and killed multiple people. But despite his reputation, Hardy had no reservations about visiting with the supposed hit man.

In fact, Hardy wowed the convicted crook with his impersonation of Ronnie. According to Hardy, when Foreman saw him in full-gangster mode, he staggered back and whispered, "F*****' 'ell." And Foreman himself admitted Hardy was amazing in the part, claiming Hardy "nailed [Ronnie] off to a tee."

His weight gains are affecting his body

While Christian Bale is the cinematic champ of gaining and losing weight (for crying out loud, The Machinist came out one year before Batman Begins), Hardy is in the running for second place. His extreme body alterations started after he landed the part of Charles Bronson. Hardy only had five weeks to get ready, and in order to gain some mass, he loaded up on chicken, rice, pizza, Haagen-Dazs ice cream, and lots of soda.

According to Fightland, Hardy put on seven pounds a week, gaining around 35 pounds before production started. And after filming wrapped, Hardy described himself as a "mess," saying, "I got really fat. I was a real road crash." But a few years later, Hardy went in a completely different direction when playing an MMA fighter in Warrior. In order to prepare, the actor spent eight weeks training in boxing, muay thai, jiu-jitsu, and weight lifting. And of course, he had to bulk up again when facing the Caped Crusader in The Dark Knight Rises.

As a result, Hardy is starting to feel a bit creaky. "I've probably damaged my body too much," he said in an interview with The Daily Beast. While he later downplayed his physical ailments, Hardy did admit he's "certainly a bit achier than I used to be … I certainly have joints that click that probably shouldn't click, you know what I mean? And I carrying my children is a little bit harder than it used to be—but don't tell them!"

The sexuality scandal

Years before breaking into the mainstream, Hardy gave an interview to a gay magazine called Attitude. During the conversation, the interviewer asked Hardy about his romantic life, particularly if he'd ever had sex with men. According to the magazine, Hardy responded, "As a boy? Of course I have. I'm an actor for f***'s sake." He then followed up, saying he was "done experimenting," and that he wasn't "into men sexually."

A few years later, after Inception, The Daily Mail reprinted the Attitude interview, and Hardy's confession exploded onto the internet. However, the actor soon went on the defensive. He denied ever having sex with men, and according to Gawker, an unknown associate claimed Attitude had taken the actor's words out of context.

But things really blew up in 2015, when Hardy was doing publicity for Legend. In the film, Hardy plays Ronnie Kray, an openly gay gangster, and while fielding questions at the Toronto International Film Festival, a reporter from the website Daily Xtra asked, "Do you find it hard for celebrities to talk about their sexuality?" Incredulous, Hardy responded, "What on earth are you on about?" He then bluntly asked the reporter why he was interested before ending the conversation.

The incident launched a thousand think pieces, some of which supported Hardy, while others claimed his response was harmful to the LGBT community. As for Hardy, he told Entertainment Weekly that "the inelegance of being asked in a room full of people" just "really, really annoyed me." He then said he was "happy to have a conversation…at a reasonable time," but he didn't feel a press conference was the appropriate place. And really, Hardy isn't sure anyone should be asking at all. As the actor put it, "Whose business is it anyway and isn't that the point?"