Mickey Rourke’s Tragic Face Journey That Nearly Destroyed Himself

4 months ago

Hollywood is known for having some of the most beautiful faces in the film industry. Many actors continued their journey staying in the industry, while others were bored of the fame and decided to pick different paths in life. While choosing a path for himself, Mickey Rourke, one of the prettiest actors at the time, changed his life directions and went on the wrong route that cost him almost everything.

Hollywood gained one of the prettiest faces back then.

During the early ’80s, Rourke was praised as one of the most attractive actors in Hollywood. He was a part of the cast for “Diner” (1982), “Rumble Fish” (1983), and “The Pope of Greenwich Village” (1984), where he magnificently presented his charming smile. With his undeniable magnetism, Mickey stole every woman’s heart. However, his reputation as a heartthrob didn’t live for long.

imago stock&people / EAST NEWS

Throughout the following decade, Rourke discussed his struggles with being famous and his disdain for the industry. In a 1992 interview, he admitted, “You go through the motions of feeling it, but you know the studio owns you, the public owns you. So over eight years, you slowly lose your spirit.”

He wanted to switch to another direction of his life.

In 1991, Rourke made a life-changing decision. With the feeling of self-destructing and lacking respect for himself as an actor, he felt compelled to return to boxing, a sport that was one of his first loves earlier in his life. He felt calm, and boxing became a sort of protection for him, an escape from the pressures of the acting world.

Several years after joining the boxing ring, Mickey faced huge misfortunes that cost him his career. He suffered numerous injuries, such as a split tongue, broken nose, fractured cheekbones, and ribs. He even got warnings of the potential that he might get permanent brain damage if he continued.

While trying to maintain his acting career simultaneously, fans couldn’t help but notice the changes he was doing to his body. The injuries and the surgeries were evident to all. In certain scenes of “Wild Orchid,” Rourke’s swollen cheeks were the main reasons that raised suspicions of poorly executed implants. Rourke denied these claims, attributing the swelling to unexpected side effects of tooth surgery, but questions stayed in the air.

The changes were more than he could ever expect.


During the 1990s, Rourke’s reputation shifted. He went from a promising young talent to a tragic figure. Because of criticizing the film industry, he struggled to find work and indulged in extravagant spending.

“I had my career going, about 10 years ago, in the right direction,” he said. “I started not liking the business, and not liking myself. I was slowly self-destructing at a pretty fast rate. I felt like I didn’t belong doing what I was doing, meaning acting. I felt some sort of guilt about being successful at it.”

AP / East News

In 2009, Rourke revealed that his changing looks resulted from botched facial surgery. He admitted, “Most of it was to correct the damage caused by boxing, but I chose the wrong surgeon to put my face back together.”

Broadimage / EAST NEWS

After the success of “The Wrestler” and his Oscar nomination, Mickey Rourke experienced a resurgence in mainstream cinema. However, the challenges didn’t stop there. He expressed disappointment with his role in “Iron Man 2,” claiming that much of his performance was left on the cutting room floor and distanced from several projects mentioning that he took them only for financial reasons.

Learning to love himself again.

Kristin Callahan/Everett Collection/East News

As a result, offers for new roles became scarce. Rourke’s physical appearance, including his facial surgery and his rugged, muscular physique, often showcased without a shirt, made it difficult for him to be cast in specific roles. His face bore the marks of his previous battles. In 2017, he captioned an Instagram image with the words, “Now I am pretty again. One more to go,” while wearing bandages and pointing out his latest surgical procedure.

Coleman-Rayner / Coleman Rayner / East News

Mickey Rourke’s journey from a Hollywood heartthrob to a regretful boxer is a cautionary tale about the perils of fame and the consequences of choosing based on personal dissatisfaction. Even though there were many hardships he faced, Rourke’s story reminds us that it is never too late to find redemption and reclaim one’s true purpose.

Despite all the obstacles and challenges that life has put us through, we must understand that we are worthy and loveable. Most importantly, we are all humans who make mistakes sometimes but can achieve anything we want.

Preview photo credit Wild Orchid / Vision PDG, Broadimage / EAST NEWS


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