Idris Elba says he’s an ‘absolute workaholic’ and is dealing with it by going to therapy

Idris Elba wears a blue tuxedo with a black bowtie as he poses for photos on the Oscars red carpet
Idris Elba revealed that he’s in therapy to address being an “absolute workaholic.”
(Ashley Landis / Invision / Associated Press)

Idris Elba loves his job, but he’s still learning how to separate himself from his work.

Elba described himself as an “absolute workaholic” on the Monday episode of the “Changes With Annie Macmanus” podcast. He said he’s been addressing the issue with a therapist for about a year.

“In my therapy, I’ve been thinking a lot about changing, almost to the point of neuropaths being changed and shifting,” he said. “It’s not because I don’t like myself or anything like that, it’s just because I have some unhealthy habits that have really formed. And I work in an industry that I’m rewarded for those unhealthy habits.”

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Elba noted that his penchant for overworking is often valued because he is “someone that can go, ‘I’m not going to see my family for six months’ and I’m in there grinding and making a new family and leave them.”


He emphasized that “nothing that’s too extreme is good, everything needs balance,” and that he’s worked to “adjust” the way he views his relationship to his profession.

The Emmy-nominated actor, however, called out a conundrum he has with finding carving out time to relax.

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“The things that make me relaxed end up being work,” Elba said. “I’m exhilarated by [my work] and I’m also so relaxed by it. I could work 10 days on a film ... and come back and be [relaxed] more so than sitting on the sofa watching TV with the family, which is bad, right? This is the part where I’ve got to normalize what makes me relaxed, it can’t be all work.”

The “Beasts of No Nation” actor has already starred in four made-for-streaming projects this year (and voiced a character in the video game “Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty”). He most notably had the lead role as a business negotiator on the Apple TV+ series “Hijack.”