Tom Arnold says he issued Chris Farley a stark warning while the comedian was riding high on “SNL” before his death.
“I told him early on, ‘You can’t be super fat and do drugs, that’s death,’” the “True Lies” star, 63, told Page Six in an exclusive interview. “‘You’ve got to make a choice. It’s best you don’t do either but you cannot do both.’”
Arnold, who was Farley’s sober sponsor, remembered when the “Tommy Boy” came to LA and stayed at his home. At the end of the visit, Arnold staged an intervention that included Rob Lowe and one of Farley’s brothers.
“He sits down and we tell him how much we love him and we want him to go to this rehab, it’s all set up,” the “Roseanne” alum shared. “And he’s like, ‘I’m gonna do this but I need to run back to New York just to grab some stuff,’ and that means, go back to New York to get some more heroin.”
However, Farley was convinced to go to rehab by a therapist.
“The therapist said, ‘Actually if you come with now, the first thing we do at rehab is give you drugs because we don’t want you to have seizures.’”
The “SNL” alum then asked if he would be “f–ked up” and once he heard that he would indeed be “f–ked up,” he eagerly agreed to enter rehab.
Arnold shares that Farley ended up admitting himself into rehab 16 times.
The “Beverly Hills Ninja” star died in 1997 at 33 due to an overdose of cocaine and morphine, according to an autopsy performed by a Cook County coroner. Advanced atherosclerosis — which is the buildup of fats, cholesterol and other substances in and on the artery walls — was also listed as a “significant contributing factor” to the actor’s death.
“But he did his best, it’s terribly sad,” Arnold told us. “He had a lot of conflict with his Catholic religion. He really showed up in church all the time — and then being what he considered being a bad Catholic.”
Though Arnold has been an advocate for helping others get sober, he had his own struggles with drugs.
The “Big Bully” star had been sober for 19 years until he broke his back after getting into a motorcycle accident in December 1989.
Arnold always believed that alcohol and cocaine were his concerns, so when the ambulance workers offered him fentanyl for the pain, he blithely accepted.
For the “Tom Show” alum, trying to regain sobriety was a humbling and harrowing experience that included severe depression and a colostomy bag.
“Specifically one night, where I’m like, ‘I have screwed up everything, I am a phony, I am a fraud.’ It was a very dark time,’” he confessed, adding that a supervisor helped him see the light.
“He said, ‘Just remember all the good things you did before you relapsed,’” Arnold recalled. “‘That still counts.’”
The comedian also revealed that he’s read chunks of Matthew Perry’s recent memoir, “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing,” in which he described his decades-long battle with drugs and alcohol.
“He has struggled for so long,” Arnold noted. “His struggles are not unlike Chris Farley, except that the thing about Matthew is he kept coming back to the 12-step stuff and maybe he wasn’t doing everything right. But at some point, he realized, ‘Oh if I continue this, I’m going to die for sure.’”
Arnold shares more of his story on American Addiction Centers’ online talk show. “Addiction Talk,” and says that if anyone is struggling with addiction issues they can reach out to the center’s support line.