Wes Bentley: I Still Grieve for My Pal & Fellow Poet Heath Ledger

The Hunger Games star recalls the love of poetry -- and the "bit of reckless fearlessness" -- he shared with his late friend

Heath Ledger died four years ago this month, but actor Wes Bentley will always grieve the best friend he lost Jan. 22, 2008.

The Hunger Games actor, 33, says he and the late Oscar winner -- who died of a lethal combination of prescription drugs -- were more family than friends.

"He was as close as a person could be to me without being my actual brother. We both had that thing in us -- a bit of reckless fearlessness," Bentley tells the February issue of Details.

The two had a deep connection that went beyond red-carpet parties and celebrity glamour and straight to the core of what made them excel as actors and men, Bentley explains.

"Whenever we got together, especially early on, we were all about pushing ourselves to be better. Not just as actors, but with our lives, too -- the way we approached relationships, reading and writing poetry."

Yes, Bentley confirms that The Dark Knight star was a poet, and that poetry was a passion they both shared.

"He wrote his poetry on the computer. I wrote mine by hand. One time -- this was in London, early in the morning, and we'd been up all night -- I was reading from his computer, and I turned to him and said, 'This is beautiful, man, but I hate reading on computers,'" Bentley recalls.

"He walked right up, grabbed the laptop, snapped it over his knee, and threw it off the balcony. Then he looked down and went, 'Oh f***. Shouldn't have done that.'"

Bentley, who plays the Hunger Games' head Gamemaker Seneca Crane in the upcoming film, says that he and Ledger drifted apart after Ledger and Michelle Williams had their baby, Matilda, now 6.

"When he and Michelle were having their baby, we started to drift apart because I was falling more into my addiction and I felt like I shouldn't be bringing that around him," Bentley, who battled heroin dependency, admits. "When Heath died, you'd think I'd react by saying, "Oh God, this stuff... I don't want to die too." But it actually made me fall in it deeper."

In 2009, the former heroin addict entered a rehab program, and he's been sober ever since. Now married with a 1-year-old son, Bentley says he's committed to clean living and to always remembering his close friend and fellow poetry lover.

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