Jamie Dornan said he is grateful to his late father for insisting he could live a “fulfilled, positive and happy life” despite the death of his mother during his teenage years.
The Tourist star Dornan, 41, said he was “thankful” to his obstetrician father Jim who had told him straight that his mother Lorna “wasn’t going to survive” after being diagnosed with cancer when he was 14 years old.
“My dad, I remember him saying ‘you can’t let this be the thing that defines us’ and I’m really grateful for those words,” an emotional Dornan told Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 4.
“He was trying to say that you can live a fulfilled, positive and happy life still, now that doesn’t lessen the impact of losing mum or anything but I guess it was just dad giving us the okay to see happiness in our future.”
During the same time, Dornan said four of his friends were killed in a car crash which was “just total shock and denial”.
Talking about that time of his life, Dornan said: “I drank a lot. I was probably depressed if I’m really honest with myself, and just clueless about what I wanted to do.
“I remember my dad saying ‘you’ve just got to do something, I don’t care if you just go and play golf every day because at least it’s productive, at least you’re trying to get better at golf, you’re just doing nothing, and I can’t watch it’,” he said.
His sister later put him up for a TV show titled Model Behaviour which resulted in him gaining an agent and modelling for fashion houses including Calvin Klein and Dior.
Since his 2013 breakout role playing serial killer Paul Spector in BBC drama The Fall opposite Gillian Anderson, Dornan has starred in the Fifty Shades Of Grey trilogy with Dakota Johnson; Sir Kenneth Branagh’s critically acclaimed film Belfast and BBC hit series The Tourist.
The Northern Irish said experiencing loss at a young age made him a “pretty determined person”, but also said he is “massively” riddled with self-doubt.
“I think you need a huge amount of confidence and self-belief to be an actor and to perform in front of everybody, and often I find actors are the most riddled with self-doubt and self-loathing,” he said.
“I’m pretty good at convincing myself and backing myself and I do think that can get you far, I’m happier with my self-doubt because it always gives you something to prove.”