Alec Baldwin's Biggest Tragedies Explained

On Thursday, October 21, 2021, CBC News reported that Alec Baldwin is at the center of an investigation into one death and one injury on the set of "Rust," allegedly due to a prop gun. In a joint statement, International Cinematographers Guild president John Lindley and executive director Rebecca Rhine confirmed the murky nature of the incident. "The details are unclear at this moment, but we are working to learn more, and we support a full investigation into this tragic event," it read.

Was it a performance gone wrong? Did the prop gun malfunction? Was the device loaded with blank bullets? Only time will tell. But what is clear is that this incident is not the first of its kind (per USA Today), and it's far from the only devastation Alec Baldwin has faced in his 63 years. Indeed, the actor has had many ups and downs, including bouts of addiction, suicidal thoughts, and run-ins with the law. Here are Alec Baldwin's biggest tragedies explained.

Death on the set of Rust

The most recent of Alec Baldwin's brushes with tragedy happened is the previously mentioned tragedy on the set of "Rust," where Baldwin was filming. According to CBC News, Baldwin discharged a prop gun that ended up wounding director Joel Souza and killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Echoing the previous death of Brandon Lee on the set of "The Crow," a Baldwin spokesperson said that the accident was the result of a misfired prop gun allegedly filled with blanks.

Baldwin took to Twitter the following morning to address the tragedy. "There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother, and deeply admired colleague of ours," he wrote. "I'm fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred, and I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna."


The bright lights of Hollywood can be tough on many. Indeed, WebMD notes that a number of celebrities have opened up about their experiences with substance abuse while making their way through the notoriously cutthroat entertainment industry, and Alec Baldwin is one such person. Per ABC News, the "30 Rock" star dove into his experiences with alcoholism and drug addiction in his 2017 memoir, "Nevertheless." While speaking to "Good Morning America" host George Stephanopoulos the same year, Baldwin revealed that he went sober on Feb. 23, 1985, at age 27. "And those two years that I lived in that white, hot period, as a daily drug abuser, as a daily drinker ... to my misery, boy, that was a tough time," he said. The actor said the time was defined by "a lot of pain" and expressed relief that he was able to adhere to a lifestyle of sobriety at such a young age, pointing to others who aren't as lucky.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Assault charges

Alec Baldwin has faced numerous assault charges. In 2018, he was charged with misdemeanor assault and harassment after getting into a physical despite with Wojciech Cieszkowski over a parking space. Although Baldwin initially pleaded not guilty, he ultimately pled guilty to second-degree harassment and agreed to take an anger management course, The New York Times reported. According to Baldwin, the scuffle broke out after the victim "stole" his parking spot. But while Baldwin says he just pushed the plaintiff for his alleged theft, Cieszkowski provided a different narrative that painted the actor as much more vicious. "I observed the defendant push me and then strike me across the left side of my face with his closed right hand, resulting in pain to my face," he said, per court papers.

Elsewhere, Baldin had numerous run-ins with the paparazzi. Perhaps most infamously, Baldwin broke the nose of freelance photographer Alan Zanger, People reports. The actor accused Zanger of breaching the privacy of him and his wife, who were returning home with their newborn baby girl. Baldwin received support from some, including Whoppi Goldberg, and was ultimately acquitted of the charges against him. Indeed, Baldwin isn't the only one to get stressed by the paparazzi — Meghan Markle's father has also reportedly struggled with the distress that can come with the perpetual spotlight of fame, CBC News reports.

Suicidal thoughts

In addition to being open about his experiences with addiction, Alec Baldin also opened up to the public about the suicidal thoughts stemming from his controversial leaked voicemail to his daughter, Ireland. Per National Post, the message surfaced amid his custody battle with ex-wife Kim Basinger and saw Baldwin calling his then-11-year-old a "rude, thoughtless little pig," which generated a great deal of public backlash. Amid the scrutiny of his parenting, Baldwin told Playboy that he fell into a dark place, People reports. "I spoke to a lot of professionals, who helped me. If I committed suicide, [Kim Basinger's side] would have considered that a victory. Destroying me was their avowed goal," he said.

During an appearance on "Good Morning America," Baldwin also spoke about how the circulation of the infamous phone call has affected his daughter. "It's a scab that never heals cause it's being picked at all the time by other people. And my daughter, that's hurt her in a permanent way." Indeed, Ireland has spoken to the media about the incident, as well, and suggested that the damage it has caused was not from her father's words but because "people made it out to be a way bigger deal than it was."

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

A tumultuous marriage and allegations of abuse

Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger separated in 2000, which marked the beginning of a bitter custody battle and allegations of abuse directed at the actor. As reported by ABC News, Basinger's father, Don Bassinger, told People that Baldwin was verbally abusive to his wife — sometimes in front of their young daughter. Elsewhere, Bassinger's publicist pointed to a report from an independent evaluator that suggested that the actress gain custody of the pair's daughter. Per the Daily Mail, the report allegedly accused Baldwin of being "physically abusive," and Bassinger's publicist said the actress "accepted" the accusations in the account.

Still, Don Bassinger had kind words for Baldwin and suggested that his anger was an issue that he needed to address. "He's the most kind and generous man I've ever known in my life, and he's overcome some very difficult things. All but one: his anger," he said. As for Kim Basinger, she said in 2016 that she and Baldwin and "cool now" and recently left a positive comment on her husband's Instagram in May 2021.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.