Credit: Dominique Charriau/Getty Images Photo: Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio is not exactly living a quiet life. He's known for dating every new model off the Victoria’s Secret conveyor belt and he can definitely find his way around the party circuit. But that doesn't mean he's a close match for his excess-loving character in The Wolf of Wall Street.

Leo talked to the L.A. Times about growing up in an L.A. neighborhood with a major prostitution ring on the street corner and people smoking crack and shooting heroin in nearby alleyways. After that early influence, the drug world had no interest for him.

"Never done it," he told the Times "emphatically," about taking drugs. "That's because I saw this stuff literally every day when I was 3 or 4 years old. So Hollywood was a walk in the park for me.... I'd go to parties and it was there and, yeah, there's that temptation. Hollywood is a very volatile place where artists come in and they essentially say they want to belong. It's incredibly vulnerable to be an actor and also get criticism at a young age when you're formulating who you are. We've seen a lot of people fall victim to that, and it's very unfortunate."

Leo grew up poor, but he got to see how the other half (or 1 percent) lived when he got a scholarship to a special school in Westwood; he compared it to a "little Garden of Eden" with everyone getting along. When he went back to public school he said he got beat up the day he arrived, because he had the hippie attitude that everyone should just live "harmoniously with one another."

And that's how he got into acting. "That was the motivational thing that happened to me in my life. I was 15, and I said to my mom, 'I want to be an actor. Please take me to auditions.' Because I had to get out of that public school system."

It worked. Now he's 39, turning 40 in November, and a four-time Academy Award nominee for acting, with another Oscar nod for helping to produce The Wolf of Wall Street. He's definitely not a saint, but good for him if he's really never done any drugs. It'd be nice if he could inspire people to follow that lead instead of just wanting to be equally rich, famous, and attractive to the opposite sex.

Source: L.A. Times