Jason Bateman Cleaned Up His Act After Wife's Ultimatum

By Chloe Bunker on July 8, 2009

Jason Bateman, pictures, picture, photos, photo, pics, pic, images, image, hot, sexy, latest, newHOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Jason Bateman earned the title of teen idol during the 1980s thanks to a string of roles on shows like "Silver Spoons" and "Valerie" (later renamed "Valerie's Family" and "The Hogan Family"). However, like many child stars before him, Bateman says he let fame get the best of him.

"It was like 'Risky Business' for 10 years," the now 40-year-old actor recalls of his '90s in the August issue of Details. "My parents were out of town, they left me a bunch of money, the car, and the house, and I didn't know when they were coming home. I'd worked so hard that by the time I was 20, I wanted to play hard. And I did that really well."

Bateman says the downfall began the moment that his phone stopped ringing in Hollywood.

"Starting at age 10, my personality and my identity all stemmed from employment," he explains. "I had a set to be at. I was a certain way with the cameraman, a certain way with the makeup lady—a normal, routine environment. When that went away and I didn't have that infrastructure, I had to start over."

By the time a new decade was rolling around, Bateman found himself getting hitched. He married actress Amanda Anka in 2001, but his partying days didn't end there. A year into their marriage, Anka delivered an ultimatum that Bateman didn't grasp until finding himself alone one Christmas morning. His wife was off alone in Mexico at the time, trying to make the most out of a vacation that they had planned together. Bateman happened to bump into an old friend who recently turned sober. The pair ran off to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting together and Bateman soon found the road to recovery.

"I was never at a place where rehab would have been appropriate," he says of his drug use. "Booze was what would make me want to stay out all night and do some blow or smoke a joint or whatever, so shutting that off was key. It's like ketchup and French fries—I don't want one without the other. So that's the moment: Do you want to continue being great at being in your twenties, or do you want to step up and graduate into adulthood?"

Bateman's graduation would feature a comeback in 2002 when he was cast as Michael Bluth in the critically-acclaimed sitcom "Arrested Development." While the Fox series was never able to satisfy network executives on the ratings front, it did propel Bateman into the spotlight again. He has since landed on the big screen and will next appear in "The Baster." His co-star in the film, Jennifer Aniston, isn't at all surprised by Bateman's career revival.

"He should be here, he's meant to be here, and for whatever reason, it's taken until now," Aniston says of Bateman's return to glory. "There's no bull---t with him. Even though he was pretty wild in those days, something about those dimples and that sweet face made you go, 'Oh, it's okay that you just drove up the street backwards in a Range Rover with the door wide open.' I don't know what was happening there. You feel instantly safe in his company."

While Bateman's career and marriage are back on track, there's still one more comeback needing to take place as far as the loyal  "Arrested" fans are concerned.

"We're gonna make the movie," assures Bateman. "Mitch Hurwitz is just starting to write it. It'll be out in a year and a half."