Key Highlights



  • Eddie Murphy recalls turning down cocaine offered by Robin Williams and John Belushi in the 1980s

  • Murphy reveals he doesn’t drink and only tried marijuana for the first time at 30

Trigger Warning: This article contains references to drugs, suicide, and depression.

Eddie Murphy recently opened up about a moment in his career when he refused to do cocaine with comedy icons Robin Williams and John Belushi. Looking back on that night in the 1980s, Murphy explained how the experience made him realize he wasn’t into drugs as per PEOPLE.

Eddie Murphy’s night out with comedy icons

Murphy spoke on The New York Times’ The Interview podcast about a night out with Williams and Belushi. Murphy was only 19 years old when he found himself in a bar with these iconic comedians. Murphy declined their invitation as they began to do cocaine. “It was me, [John] Belushi, and Robin Williams,” he explained, adding, “They start doing coke, and I was like, ‘No, I’m cool.'”

Murphy insisted that his refusal was not a moral stance. “I just wasn’t interested in it. To not have the desire or the curiosity, I’d say that’s providence,” he explained. The actor felt as if a higher power was watching out for him at that moment. “God was looking over me in that moment,” he added.

Eddie Murphy avoiding the pitfalls of fame

Murphy discussed the pressures and dangers that come with early success, particularly for a young Black artist. “When you get famous really young, especially a Black artist, it’s like living in a minefield,” he said. He said that at any time, you could step on a mine. Something unexpected could happen at any time and undo everything, Murphy mentioned.

Despite the potential risks, Murphy admitted that he was somewhat unaware of them at the time. He said he was unaware that he was in a minefield. The actor described the dangers of early fame as ‘just everything,’ saying, “Imagine being a young person and having the world at your feet.” Nobody says ‘no,’ and everyone wants to be around you, Murphy shared, further explaining how one experiments with various things and becomes involved in various activities.

The fates of Eddie Murphy’s legendary friends

Murphy draws lessons from the tragic deaths of his peers and idols. John Belushi died of an overdose in 1982, at the age of 33. Robin Williams, who suffered from severe depression, died by suicide in 2014 at the age of 63.

Murphy mentioned other legendary performers such as Prince, Michael Jackson, and Elvis Presley, whose struggles with substance abuse and early deaths left an indelible impression on him. He said that they’re cautionary tales for him and that is why he continues to avoid drugs.

Murphy’s personal decisions reflect his desire to avoid the pitfalls that claimed the lives of many of his contemporaries. He said he doesn’t drink. The actor continued, “I smoked a joint for the first time when I was 30 years old. The extent of drugs is some weed.” His decision to stay drug-free has allowed him to maintain his career and personal life without the complications that drugs frequently cause.

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