Hunter Biden gets candid about battling addiction, says painting keeps him 'sane': 'The one thing I have left is my art'

Hunter Biden is opening up about his battle with addiction and how his art is keeping him sane despite family trauma and ties to President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.

The 50-year-old son of former vice president and current Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden got candid during an interview with The New York Times from the comfort of his home studio in Los Angeles, California. And although the topic of addiction is something that the soon-to-be father-of-five (his wife, Melissa Cohen, is pregnant with their first child together) has spoken about before, Hunter explained just how severe his substance abuse was.

“I was addicted to crack for four years,” he said. “I went through a really long period of addiction and I was at a point where I didn’t read, write, think. I don’t do things halfway. That can be a problem.” He also shared that he had been to rehabilitation facilities seven or eight times. 

RELATED: Take a look at Hunter Biden through the years:

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Hunter Biden through the years
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Hunter Biden through the years
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 12: World Food Program USA Board Chairman Hunter Biden speaks on stage at the World Food Program USA's Annual McGovern-Dole Leadership Award Ceremony at Organization of American States on April 12, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images for World Food Program USA)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 12: (L-R) U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Hon. Dan Glickman, and Hunter Biden attend the World Food Program USA's Annual McGovern-Dole Leadership Award Ceremony at Organization of American States on April 12, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images for World Food Program USA)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 12: World Food Program USA Board Chairman Hunter Biden (L) and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden attend the World Food Program USA's Annual McGovern-Dole Leadership Award Ceremony at Organization of American States on April 12, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images for World Food Program USA)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 12: World Food Program USA Board Chairman Hunter Biden and Kathleen Biden arrive at the World Food Program USA's Annual McGovern-Dole Leadership Award Ceremony at Organization of American States on April 12, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for World Food Program USA)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 12: WFP USA Board Chair Hunter Biden speaks during the World Food Program USA's 2016 McGovern-Dole Leadership Award Ceremony at the Organization of American States on April 12, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Kris Connor/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 28: Hunter Biden attends the T&C Philanthropy Summit with screening of "Generosity Of Eye" at Lincoln Center with Town & Country on May 28, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Town & Country)
US Vice President Joe Biden (C) buys an ice-cream at a shop as he tours a Hutong alley with his granddaughter Finnegan Biden (R) and son Hunter Biden (L) in Beijing on December 5, 2013. Biden said on December 5 China's air zone had caused "significant apprehension" and Beijing needed to reduce Asia-Pacific tensions to protect its growing stake in regional peace and stability. AFP PHOTO / POOL / Andy Wong (Photo credit should read ANDY WONG/AFP/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - DECEMBER 04: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden waves as he walks out of Air Force Two with his granddaughter Finnegan Biden (C) and son Hunter Biden (R) at the airport December 4, 2013 in Beijing, China. Biden is on the first leg of his week-long visit to Asia. (Photo by Ng Han Guan-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 01: Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden and World Food Program USA Board Chair Hunter Biden taking the Live Below the Line Challenge, eating and drinking on $1.50 a day to raise awareness of global hunger and World Food Programme school feeding efforts around the world, at World Food Program USA on May 1, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/WireImage)
President Barack Obama, left, Vice President Joe Biden, center, and Hunter Biden share a laugh during the first half of the NCAA basketball game between Georgetown and Duke at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., Saturday January 30, 2010. Georgetown defeated Duke, 89-77. (Photo by Chuck Myers/MCT/MCT via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 29: Hunter Biden (l) and actor Woody Harrelson pose for a photo at the after party following the 2nd Annual IMPACT Film Festival's screening of "The Messenger" at Posh on October 29, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/WireImage)
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (2R) arrives at Arlington National Cemetery with his wife Dr. Jill Biden (R), his son Hunter (L) and his daughter-in-law Kathleen for the internment services for U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy in Arlington, Virginia, August 29, 2009. Kennedy died late Tuesday after a battle with cancer. AFP PHOTO/POOL/Jim BOURG (Photo credit should read JIM BOURG/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, D.C. - JANUARY 20: Vice-President Joe Biden arrives with his family, wife Jill, sons Hunter and Beau at the reviewing stand to watch the Inaugural Parade from in front of The White House January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, becoming the first African-American to be elected to the President in the US. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19: Hunter Biden and guest attend the Artists And Athletes Alliance red carpet event at Inaugural Honors ServiceNation, held at Cafe Milano in Georgetown January 19, 2009 Washington, DC. (Photo by Logan Mock-Bunting/Getty Images)
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His history of addiction is something that was brought up during the early stages of his father’s presidential campaign when people questioned if Hunter’s complicated past could interfere with Joe’s chances of winning the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination— although not all of it has to do with alcohol and drugs.

In fact, Hunter has been entangled in a number of complex narratives from the time that he was involved in a 1972 car wreck that killed his mother Neilia and sister Naomi when he was just 2 years old. Since then, Hunter has also lost his brother Beau to brain cancer in 2015, before entering into a relationship with Beau’s widow, Hallie, during the tumultuous years that followed.

The only constant for Hunter throughout it all was art, whether in the form of drawing, painting or writing. However, he hadn’t taken himself seriously as an artist — until now. “For years I wouldn’t call myself an artist. Now I feel comfortable saying it,” he said, adding that painting “is literally keeping me sane.”

And it’s no secret that sanity is something he particularly needs now, after finding himself embroiled in the impeachment proceedings after it was revealed that the president requested foreign assistance to investigate Hunter’s role with Ukrainian gas company Burisma. Fortunately, art offers him an escape from that.

“The one thing I have left is my art. It’s the one thing they can’t take away from me or conflate with anything else,” he said. “It keeps me away from people and places where I shouldn’t be.”

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