Game of Thrones star Kit Harington made it no secret as he made the media rounds promoting the show’s final season: playing Jon Snow for a decade had taken its toll.
The British actor, who was a 21-year-old unknown when he shot the HBO pilot in 2009, was skyrocketed to fame by the show’s success. Though grateful for everything GoT brought him, he’s been open about how the newfound attention made him feel uncomfortable.
Those struggles reached a head following the conclusion of Thrones’ eighth and final season earlier this month, with Harington, 32, checking into a wellness facility to tend to “personal issues.”
“Kit has decided to utilize this break in his schedule as an opportunity to spend some time at a wellness retreat to work on some personal issues,” Harington’s rep said Tuesday in a statement to PEOPLE.
The star has been receiving psychological coaching and behavioral therapy to help him deal with and manage stress and “negative emotions,” Page Six reported, adding that he’s in a “luxury rehab for stress and alcohol use” in Connecticut that runs $120,000 per month.
But he’s also made headlines for partying in the past. In January 2018, he was escorted out of a New York City bar after allegedly getting into a drunken disagreement over an interrupted pool game. And shortly before shooting season 3, he broke his ankle while trying to climb into the window of his London flat when he lost his keys following a night of drinking.
“Everyone always says you must have done it on set horse riding or running across glaciers or something cool,” Harington told Entertainment Weekly in 2013. “I was an idiot. The ‘invincibility of youth’ and all that. I couldn’t even blame it on a film set. And I had avoided skiing for ages because I thought I’d break my ankle!”
The star also recently told PEOPLE that his preferred way to wind down after filming was a trip to the pub with his costars.
“You never want to do much after a day’s filming, other than sit and like debrief about something else,” he said in a March interview with PEOPLE. “Remember like, with any filming crew or anything, it’s not just your other castmates. There’s a whole family there that you can gossip and talk about. It’s a little world unto itself, and that’s what we’d end up doing, is going to the bar and chatting s—. It’s like any job, isn’t an office job like that? Except your day happens to have been, like, running around a muddy field with a sword.”
The decision to seek treatment comes after Harington opened up about just how much filming the series affected him, particularly after his character was killed off during the season 5 finale in 2015 (only to be resurrected the next season.)
“It was probably one of the darkest periods I have been through in my life,” he told emmy magazine in March. “I think it must have had something to do with being a walking cliffhanger: I didn’t enjoy it. You want to be a lead, and then you get all the spotlight of the biggest show in the world onto you for a few months. It’s very disorientating, and weird, and unpleasant in many ways.”
Harington said the idea of celebrity soon started making him “worried” and “anxious,” telling Variety in March that he felt “very vulnerable.”
“When you become the cliffhanger of a TV show, and a TV show probably at the height of its power, the focus on you is f—ing terrifying,” he told the outlet. “You get people shouting at you on the street, ‘Are you dead?’ At the same time, you have to have this appearance. All of your neuroses – and I’m as neurotic as any actor – get heightened with that level of focus.”
Harington began therapy, he said, as he’d felt “very unsafe” and was not speaking to anyone about it.
The actor also described the challenging production cycle of Thrones’ final season.
“The last season of Thrones seemed to be designed to break us. Everyone was broken at the end,” he told GQ Australia in January. “I don’t know if we were crying because we were sad it was ending of if we were crying because it was so f—ing tiring. We were sleep deprived.”
Harington did not read the finale’s script prior to the final table read, and his emotional reaction was shared in the two-hour documentary The Last Watch.
In it, he audibly gasps and removes his glasses to wipe away tears as he learns Jon is the one to strike the fatal blow to his on-screen lover Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke).
The tears came again when it came time to actually film his final scene.
“I felt fine…. I felt fine… I felt fine… Then I went to do my last shots and started hyperventilating a bit. Then they called, ‘Wrap!’ And I just f—ing broke down. It was this onslaught of relief and grief about not being able to do this again,” he told Esquire in April.
Harington was focused on the future in his March interview with PEOPLE, saying that all he’s thought about is what comes next for his career.
“I think people expect you to think about the new season coming out or reminiscing… no, we’re thinking about the future,” he said. “I always wanted the moment where this all comes out on DVD and I can put it on the shelf. And I do that, I look at it, and I go, ‘Done.’ That’s the bit I’m looking forward to.”
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