On 31 August, the Lord of the Rings star appeared on an episode of Anna Faris’ podcast Unqualified, where he revealed that his split with Lilly was his biggest heartbreak of all time.
“I think I’ve only really got my heart broken once in my life,” he recalled. “I was dating an actress on Lost called Evangeline Lilly, who, you know, has gone on to have a name all of her own. And yeah, you know, I don’t really know how she would explain the narrative, but from my point of view, it was probably the first time in my life that I was just kind of all in.”
Despite his commitment to Lilly, Monaghan admitted that he had “an extraordinary amount of growing to do in terms of handling my substances and handling my choices." The actor noted that he was raised in England, where it was not unusual to start drinking alcohol at a young age.
“And that’s not like a glass of wine or a pint of beer. That’s like getting absolutely wankered on a Friday and Saturday night and maybe a Sunday afternoon," he explained.
Monaghan acknowledged that although he was very dedicated to his work on Lost at the time, he would only consider his weekend worthwhile if he was “drunk out of my mind on a Friday and Saturday night.”
"I thought that was normal,” he said. “And I had a huge amount of growing to do in terms of what was normal and what wasn’t normal."
Monaghan, 45, and Lilly, 43, dated from 2004 to 2007. Lilly portrayed Kate Austen for all six seasons of JJ Abrams’ Lost, which aired from 2004 to 2010. Meanwhile, Monaghan played Charlie Pace from seasons one to five.
Lilly went on to play roles in Ant-Man and Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit series. Monaghan – known for his role as Meriadoc “Merry” Brandybuck in Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy– currently stars as Paul Serno in the AMC series Moonhaven.
During his conversation with Faris, Monaghan said that he and Lilly went their separate ways after he learned that she was seeing someone else during their relationship.
"I mean, to say I was devastated is an understatement, you know,” he explained. “I had to be told by a third party like, ‘You do realise that she’s with this guy,’ when we were together.”
Monaghan recalled how his substance abuse issues took a turn about two months after their breakup, when he woke up on his kitchen floor “surrounded by pills.”
“I looked at this mess in front of me and thought ‘this could have been it.’ I could have accidentally taken the wrong cocktail of stuff mixed with alcohol, mixed with where my heads at, and that could have been it,” he told Faris. “At that point, it was a big turning point.”
Despite the heartbreak, Monaghan expressed that he was still grateful for his relationship with Lilly, which allowed him to grow as a person.
“I’ve broken up with girls before, and when I’ve looked at it I’ve thought, ‘Well, she’s a lovely person, but it was never gonna work,” he recalled. “But certainly, when I was with Evie, I was like, ‘This is fine. The little things that, you know, we’re working on, we will figure out and we will make beautiful shapes with each other into eternity.’”
“And I think, like, losing that potential was super sad. But it also got me to where I am as a person. So I’m very happy that it all happened.”