Eric Roberts may be known as an accomplished actor, the older brother of Oscar winner Julia Roberts and the father of 23-year-old starlet Emma Roberts, but years ago, he had gained a reputation as one of Hollywood's biggest bad boys. Back in the '80s, Roberts' off-screen antics -- including his drug use and an arrest for possession and trying to assault a police officer -- seemed to eclipse his notoriety as one of the era's most promising new actors.
Today, Roberts' life looks very different than it once did. The 58-year-old Academy Award nominee has enjoyed a successful career that includes more than 300 roles, and has been married to his wife, Eliza, for more than two decades. Though she fell for Roberts during his bad-boy heyday, Eliza tells "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" that she didn't quite see the troubled reputation that followed the young star.
"I can't think of a time I've not been attracted to a 'bad boy,' but he didn't seem that way at all when I met him! I mean, he had a cat on his lap," she recalls. "And he had a big bottle of water. He just seemed like the opposite of his reputation."
But Roberts says that his reputation as a hard-partying player wasn't unwarranted. "I was only 21 when I became an international movie star," he says. "I started just chasing the girls."
The environment on film sets didn't make it any easier for such a rising young celebrity to stay out of trouble, either, he says.
"When I got into movies, they would send you to the prop truck and there would be lines of cocaine," he recalls. "Everybody -- from the executives and producers to craft services -- was high on that drug. Everybody was wrecked on the movie set. It was out of control, and I was a kid."
Roberts' drug use escalated and began to take its toll not just personally, but professionally as well. "I did lots of cocaine," he says. "Of course it affected my career. When you're not 100 percent, people know it."
Then, Roberts decided to make a change. "I stopped in '87 with all the heavy stuff," he says. "But I kept... revisiting it -- up until, really, my marriage."
After he and Eliza wed in 1992, Roberts found himself faced with an ultimatum.
"My wife said, 'It's either me or that drug,'" he says. "I chose her."