Billy Zane: ‘Titanic ruined my life!’

"Overnight he started to get hate mail."
Loading the player...

It’s one of the biggest Hollywood hits of all time, but Titanic left Billy Zane grasping for a lifeboat.

The 56-year-old actor says his life can be split into two parts – “before and after Titanic”.

WATCH: Titanic deleted scene

Filming of the blockbuster lasted two years and was the final nail in the coffin for Billy and ex-wife Lisa Collins, who split during filming.

“Considering what he sacrificed for that role, it was tragic he was so overshadowed by Kate and Leo,” says a source.

But his marriage was hardly the only thing which sank after his casting as the man who tried to keep Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Rose and Jack apart.

billy zane titanic
Billy Zane started receiving hate mail after starring as the ‘bad guy’ in Titanic. (Credit: 20th Century Fox)

“Before Titanic, Billy was a huge heart-throb with a massive teen following, but playing the bad guy in the world’s biggest movie was always going to be a tough one to follow,” adds the source.

“Overnight he started to get hate mail.”

While Billy “doesn’t regret” taking the role, it did “turn his life upside down”.

Loading the player...

James Cameron’s life was also turned upside down by Titanic; after directing the film he was constantly plagued with the question: ‘Why couldn’t Jack fit on the door?’

After years and years of dodging the question, James finally addressed the controversial ending in 2017.

“Look, it’s very, very simple: you read page 147 of the script and it says, ‘Jack gets off the board and gives his place to her so that she can survive.’ It’s that simple,” he defended in an interview with The Daily Beast.

jack rose titanic
James Cameron was also negatively impacted by Titanic as fans constantly asked him why Jack couldn’t fit on the door with Rose. (Credit: 20th Century Fox)

He also went on to explain how the hosts of Mythbusters got it wrong when they proved that Jack and Rose could have both fit on the door.

“OK, so let’s really play that out: you’re Jack, you’re in water that’s -2 degrees [celsius], your brain is starting to get hypothermia. Mythbusters asks you to now go take off your life vest, take hers off, swim underneath this thing, attach it in some way that it won’t just wash out two minutes later — which means you’re underwater tying this thing on in — 2 degree water, and that’s going to take you five to ten minutes, so by the time you come back up you’re already dead,” he said.

“So that wouldn’t work. His best choice was to keep his upper body out of the water and hope to get pulled out by a boat or something before he died. They’re fun guys [Mythbuster hosts], but they’re full of s**t.”

Loading the player...

Cameron, however, remained firm that there was only one outcome for the film: Jack’s death.

“Maybe we screwed up and the board should have been a bit smaller, but the dude’s [Jack] going down,” he said.

Related stories