Colin Farrell admits his passion for acting was ''toxic'' for seven years.

The 37-year-old actor earned himself a bad reputation in Hollywood from 2000 until 2006 due to his wild behaviour, and he claims the high level of fame that came his way during that period ''diluted'' his love of performing.

He said: ''I was removed from the amount of passion and curiosity that I had about acting.

''Maybe that passion and curiosity got diluted or a little bit toxic due to the amount of success and fame that came my way.''

The Irish hunk admits he was shocked when he discovered people were still supporting and showing a fondness towards him during and after that difficult point in his career.

He explained: ''I know that people rooted for me during those wild years, and that was lovely to discover after the fact.''

However, eight years on, Colin - who has sons James, 10, and Henry, four, from two previous relationships - has returned to smaller movie roles and insists he couldn't be happier.

He told the Irish Post newspaper: ''After 'Miami Vice' [in 2006], some big films went away from me. But that was kind of okay because I had other work lined up that provided an opportunity for me to go back to the more simplistic elements of what I was trying to do, which were the elements I fell in love with.''