Tom Arnold Speaks Out About Relationship With Chris Farley, Struggles of Being His Sponsor

by Brandi Stillings
Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)

Many remember Chris Farley performing his iconic hilarious skits on “Saturday Night Live.” However, few saw the late actor’s struggles with alcohol and drugs up-close.

Actor Tom Arnold was one of his closest friends and sponsor. Recently, the “True Lies” star revealed personal details on his tumultuous relationship with Farley.

During a recent interview with Howard Stern, he recounted when he and Farley became friends. Arnold explained to the radio personality, he and ex-wife Roseanne Barr loved the impressions Farley and Victoria Jackson did of them on “SNL.”

“Lorne Michaels called me and said, ‘You have a lot in common with Chris Farley. Would you please spend time with him?'” Arnold said. “He wanted to be sober and I think Lorne was really worried about that, so I was his sponsor for a few years.”

While bonding over their love of football, their friendship became “very close.”

Arnold said Farley would often stay with him in Los Angeles whenever Chris would come out to appear in one of Tom’s comedy specials, according to toofab.

Also, Stern commented on how Arnold must’ve gone “crazy” since Farley “couldn’t stop him from abusing himself.”

In response, Arnold said Chris was “on his way to his 17th rehab” stint at the time.

“It’s also frustrating because at certain points he’d be like, ‘I’m not going to be around Tom because I don’t want him to see.'”

After dealing with substance abuse disorder for a long time, Farley died in 1997 from overdosing on morphine and cocaine. He was discovered dead in his Chicago apartment by his brother, John. At the time, the lauded comedian was just 33 years old.

“He liked to have fun and he had too much fun,” he recalled during the Stern interview., saying it was, “very sad when he died.”

Remembering ‘SNL’ Star Chris Farley in “The Chippendales” Sketch

The famous “Saturday Night Live” “Chippendales” sketch is one of Chris Farley’s best moments on the show. It features him and guest star Patrick Swayze auditioning for a chance to join the all-male revue.

As the skit goes on, both Farley and Swayze strip clothes off. All the while, they flaunt their moves to Loverboy’s “Working for the Weekend.”

Tom Arnold recounts the time when Farley called him to get his opinion on the sketch with Swayze.

“He called me that week and said, ‘I am so embarrassed. They wrote me this thing, it’s embarrassing because I’ll be the fat guy next to Patrick Swayze, what do you think?'” said Arnold, then giving his response. “I think if you could be the funniest fat guy ever doing this thing, then you should do it and you should really go for it. He was naked a lot. There’s no shame in his game.”