It's been nearly four years since Philip Seymour Hoffman's stunning fatal overdose, and longtime partner Mimi O'Donnell reflects on the loss in a poignant essay at Vogue. O'Donnell writes movingly of their friendship-turned-courtship and how Hoffman spoke openly of his struggles with drugs and alcohol back in his 20s. But he'd gotten sober and remained so for 20 years into his 40s, as his career soared and they raised three kids together. Then the cracks emerged. "The first tangible sign came when, out of nowhere, Phil said to me, 'I've been thinking I want to try to have a drink again. What do you think?'" O'Donnell writes. Over her protests, he took that drink, which soon led to opioids and heroin. O'Donnell can't pinpoint one thing that led to Hoffman's relapse, though she mentions a litany of factors that may have contributed.
Those factors include the death of his longtime therapist, a falling-out with friends from Alcoholics Anonymous, his chafing against the loss of anonymity as a star, and the increasing demands of his career. The pair eventually decidedly jointly that he should move into his own apartment because his behavior was upsetting the kids, and while Hoffman talked about getting sober again, it never stuck. Four years later, O'Donnell and her kids "talk about him constantly, only now we can talk about him without instantly crying," she writes. "That's the small difference, the little bit of progress that we've made." Read the full essay, in which O'Donnell remembers the moment from years past when Hoffman protected a kid on a scooter from danger. "It was gentle, it was firm, it was kind. At that moment I thought, I'm having children with this man."