Gandolfini's divorce case unearths his drug past. The ''Sopranos'' star underwent rehab for cocaine and alcohol four years ago, but rails at his estranged wife for citing the issue

By Gary Susman
Updated October 17, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT
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James Gandolfini: Anthony Neste

James Gandolfini, who stars as a Prozac-popping mobster on ”The Sopranos,” once had a problem with harder drugs. His spokesman confirmed on Wednesday that Gandolfini had undergone rehab for cocaine and alcohol four years ago, an incident unearthed in tabloid reports as part of the fallout of the actor’s ongoing divorce case.

Gandolfini had denied the rehab report when it surfaced last week in the National Enquirer, but yesterday, his spokesman Dan Klores told the New York Daily News and the New York Post that it was true. ”It’s something from years ago… that he’s taken care of,” Klores told the Post. Another unnamed friend told the Daily News that Gandolfini had kept his drug past secret to shield it from his 3-year-old son, Michael. ”He was in rehab four years ago,” the friend told the Daily News. ”He came out. Occasionally he would go back in. The guy has been drug-free for some time.”

Klores accused Gandolfini’s estranged wife, Marcy, of leaking the story to get a better settlement from the actor, who filed for divorce in March. ”To bring it up now, as an attempt to gain leverage and a better settlement during the divorce, is just reprehensible,” Klores told the Daily News. ”These types of situations — under these circumstances — are best resolved with decency, not greed.”

But Marcy Gandolfini’s lawyer, Norman Sheresky told the Daily News that the allegations that appeared in the Enquirer came not from court filings but from ”attorney-client correspondence that was private.” He denied leaking the privileged information. ”I have no idea how the Enquirer obtained these papers. I’m extremely annoyed.”

Sheresky also said that some of the tabloid’s allegation’s were untrue, though he declined to be specific. But he did say that all the claims amounted to ”ancient history.” He added, ”A lot of things were said in the heat of the moment. I guarantee both of them wish they could take back what they said in the past.”

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