Actor Stephen Fry has admitted to taking cocaine in Buckingham Palace in his new autobiography, More Fool Me, due to be published this Thursday. Fry also admits to taking the class A drug in a variety of other notable locations including the House of Lords, the House of Commons and the BBC TV centre during the course of a 15 year addiction to the drug.
Writing in the book, Fry says “I take this opportunity to apologise unreservedly, to the owners, managers or representatives of the noble and ignoble premises and to the hundreds of private homes, offices, car dashboards, tables, mantelpieces and available polished surfaces that could so easily have been added to this list of shame.
“You may wish to have me struck off, banned, black-balled or in any other way punished for past crimes; surely now is the time to reach for the phone, the police or the club secretary.”
Fry has previously admitted to using the drug in his 2010 book The Fry Chronicles. However, he has elaborated further in this book, in which he describes spending hundreds of thousands of pounds to fuel the habit, and how he narrowly avoided prosecution after being stopped by the police whilst in possession of cocaine.
The latest book is the third instalment of an autobiographical series. The first, Moab Is My Washpot: an Autobiography, was published in 1997.
“The only point of writing an autobiography, or so at least it seems to me, is to be honest,” he wrote in The Sunday Times this weekend. “And in this book I have been utterly candid about a period of my life in which I spent an enormous amount of time and money on cocaine powder. I know how stupid that is, but I also know better people than me have found themselves on the same path.”
The book charts the period of Fry’s life between the 1980s and 1990s when he had already found fame alongside Hugh Laurie; a period, he writes, in which he was introduced to cocaine by an actor friend and developed a habit, although he never saw himself as an addict. “I didn’t take coke because I was depressed or under pressure. I didn’t take it because I was unhappy (at least I don’t think so). I took it because I really, really liked it.
“How can I explain the extraordinary waste of time and money that went into my 15-year habit? Tens if not hundreds of thousands of pounds, and as many hours, sniffing, snorting and tooting away time that could have been employed writing, performing, thinking, exercising, living.”
The book also recounts an episode in which he was caught drink driving his motorbike by police. He had three grams of cocaine on him, and was worried that he would be charged with intent to supply, so he attempted to surreptitiously leave the stash, which was in a small container, behind in the police van as he was being driven to London’s West End Central Station. He was charged with the drink driving offence, but allowed to leave custody until his court date. However, as he was leaving an officer ran up to him and handed him the container, unopened. He went on to take the cocaine that same night.
The revelations are not Fry’s only dalliance with criminality. As a teenager he chanced upon a family friend’s credit card and used it for a spending spree. He spent three months in a young offenders’ prison in Pucklechurch, Gloucester for the offence.
His life has also been marred by bipolar disorder which led him to attempt suicide at least twice, once as a teenager after being twice expelled from school, and most recently in 2012 when he “took a huge number of pills and a huge amount of vodka,” before being found unconscious by his producer. In 2006 he made a two part documentary called The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive based on his experiences and those of other celebrities coping with manic depression, exploring the effect that the disorder had on their lives. The program, aired on the BBC, won an Emmy Award for Best Documentary.