Chris Klein on alcohol addiction and 'American Reunion' (Video)
Chris Klein is promoting his new film, "American Reunion," but revealed he almost didn't make it back after alcohol addiction nearly took his life.
"I would have died, and I think about that every single day," Klein told People magazine of his addiction.
The 33-year-old actor is nearly 19 months sober now, but not without being arrested twice for DUI in 2005 and 2010, spending four days in jail and receiving treatment at a live-in rehab facility. Klein said that it was his German shepherd Chief who helped him get sober.
"He would get agitated that the alcohol was coming out, and I will be forever grateful to him for that," Klein told People. "He began to recognize the behavior shift in me when [I drank] alcohol and his behavior would change. Anybody that has a meaningful relationship with a dog will understand that the disappointment that I saw in his eyes, [it was] insurmountable."
Chief was in the car when Klein got arrested for his second DUI in 2010, when he was just a puppy. The actor remembered the night and how he worried for his puppy's well-being.
"I drank away anything and everything that was at home," Klein said of the fateful night. "I had nothing to come home to. My beautiful, wonderful dog was taken care of, he didn't get hurt, he didn't even have to go to the pound that night. They allowed me to call a friend of mine in the area to pick up my dog."
"American Reunion" sees the characters attending their high school reunion and hits theaters on Friday, April 6. It stars other past cast members such as main star Jason Biggs, Tara Reid, Shannon Elizabeth, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Natasha Lyonne, Chris Owen, Jennifer Coolidge and Alyson Hannigan.
In the new film, Klein's character Oz appears on a reality dancing competition, which required the 6'1" star to learn some real dance moves.
"That was me. Not without some serious help. I know that you couldn't tell, but I wasn't born a hip hop dancer. I made myself into this incredible dancing machine." Klein told OnTheRedCarpet.com. "They pitch me the idea, they said, 'Hey, man, we think Oz is on a dance-off show.' And I said, 'Okay! What does that mean? If we're going to do a dance-off show, we need to do a dance-off show because, listen, dance-off shows are incredibly popular. We don't want to mock it, we want to celebrate it. So I gave it my best homage here, for Oz. I get beat by Gilbert Gottfried, you believe that?"
Klein was excited to appear on screen again with his former co-star Mena Suvari, who plays his character's love interest. When asked if they believed their characters were meant to be together, Klein seemed very sure.
"First love, true love, all of those things exist when the circumstances are right and for Oz and Heather, they absolutely do," Klein said confidently.
Klein was once engaged to his girlfriend of five years Katie Holmes and dated "Once Upon a Time" star Ginnifer Goodwin for two years before parting ways in 2008.
Klein got his first acting gig when director Alexander Payne was scouting high school locations for his 1999 film "Election" and cast him to star opposite Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick. His next big break followed shortly after, when he landed the role of Chris "Oz" Ostreicher in the "American Pie" franchise. He has also had roles in "Just Friends," "Here on Earth" and "Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li."
Additional reporting by George Pennacchio of KABC Television, parent company of OnTheRedCarpet.com that also produces the entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).
Check out the trailer for "American Reunion" below.