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Leonardo DiCaprio faces his demons

The star of 'Inception' opens up to Rolling Stone about his wild youth, dating, fame and more.
/ Source: Rolling Stone

In the box office smash "Inception," Leonardo DiCaprio spends most of his time inside people’s dreams. But what's going inside DiCaprio's head in real life? In the new issue of Rolling Stone, on sale at newsstands today, associate editor Brian Hiatt finds out.

"[My stomach churns over] really stupid stuff," DiCaprio reveals. "Things that shouldn't make you anxious whatsoever. It's crazy how your mind will become this database to make you worry about things that are so arbitrary. I have a well-organized life, and I've put a lot of thought into the things that I do, and then, you know, my stomach will be ... I'll just be sitting there, totally anxious about something ridiculous."

Look back at Leonardo DiCaprio's remarkable career in photos.

In one of the most intimate portraits yet of the intensely private actor, DiCaprio relaxes enough to smoke a few cigars, have some beers, sing the "Cheers" theme song (badly) and open up on everything from his wild youth as Hollywood's hottest heartthrob to a recent brush with death:

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On growing up:"I was essentially a dwarf with the biggest mouth in the world. I would talk back to anyone and be up for any fight, and when you tell a kid that's three years older than you to shove it, you're going to get your ass beat ... I was a real punk, there's no question about it."

On partying in the pre-TMZ age:"I got to be wild and nuts, and I didn't suffer as much as people do now, where they have to play it so safe that they ruin their credibility. I didn't care what anyone thought.... It was also about avoiding the tornado of chaos, of potential downfall. It was, 'Wow, how lucky are we to not have hung out with that crowd or done those things?' My two main competitors in the beginning, the blond-haired kids I went to audition with, one hung himself and the other died of a heroin overdose... . I was never into drugs at all. There aren’t stories of me in a pool of my own vomit in a hotel room on the Hollywood Strip."

On dating:"I had better success meeting girls before "Titanic." My interactions with them didn't have all the stigma behind it, not to mention there wasn’t a perception of her talking to me for only one reason."

On dealing with his "Titanic" fame:"It was like there was a separate entity out there," he says. "Not to use a James Cameron reference, but it was like being in a little bit of an avatar." He cringes. "That's going to sound extremely self-indulgent. It's going to sound like, 'Oh, I was a frickin' avatar,' give me a break, I'm already vomiting."

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Also in this issue: Rolling Stone goes behind the scenes of MTV's trashy hit "Jersey Shore;" Jeff Goodell assesses the BP oil disaster — and why the company is only making it worse; Jenny Eliscu catches up with M.I.A. as she releases the most explosive album of her career; the secrets of Lady Gaga's giant summer tour; Arcade Fire return with their excellent new disc "The Suburbs" and more.

Keep up with all of Rolling Stone's hottest shots in Random Notes.