How Actor Paul Hauser Wasn’t Too Far Gone for God

Jonathon M. Seidl

January 11, 2024 | 4 minute read

I wept. 

I sat on the beach staring out at the ocean, the place my wife and I walked to after I just admitted that I had lied to her earlier in the week. Lied about something so trivial and yet so big.

She was shattered. I admitted I had been turning to a variety of things to deal with my anxiety, OCD, depression and past trauma. I had developed unhealthy coping mechanisms to numb my inner turmoil. And I had placed those above our relationship, willing to hold onto them at all costs.

But I had lied to her about it. Specifically, I had lied a few days earlier when she asked me point blank about one of those mechanisms, having detected with her “wifey-sense” (which is kinda like Peter Parker’s spidey-sense but better) that something was wrong. 

The weight of that lie had compounded since the moment I told it, until it became unbearable and I pretty much blurted out the truth unprompted over dinner. And now, here we were on the beach trying to figure out a way forward.

In that moment, I felt hopeless. I felt there was no way our relationship could ever be the same. I felt that I was too far gone, too knotted up, too mired in shame to ever be the person she needed me to be and that God had called me to be. 

I was broken and empty – a puddle of flesh and bones washed up by life’s battering and endless waves on the beach of existence. 

I had messed it all up. For what? For some temporary relief? What an idiot! 

And I felt alone.


Have you been there? Chances are you have in some form. I think a lot of us have, maybe even more of us than we’d care to admit.

I was reminded of that moment in my life this past week while watching the I Am Second series about actor Paul Hauser and his wife, Amy. 

Paul is one of Hollywood’s hottest names right now, having starred as Richard Jewell in Clint Eastwood’s biopic of the same name, as well as leading roles in the Apple TV show “Blackbird” and Disney’s “Cruella.” 

In other words, you’ve likely seen him and assumed like so many, “He must have it all together.” 

But he didn’t. Far from it. In fact, his story is so complex – so incredible – that it probably sounds a lot like a movie script he’d play the leading part in.

This wasn’t fiction, though. It was his dark reality. 

Here’s the short version: Soon after meeting Amy, the two were married in a COVID-style wedding in Amy’s front yard. They went on a honeymoon. They got pregnant. Things were great.

Until they weren’t. 

See, Paul had family conflicts and inner turmoil he had been treating with alcohol and marijuana. And it didn’t take long before those band aides fell off. How long? Two months. Within two months of marrying Amy he separated from her. He cut her off. He didn’t attend the birth of his own son, having dug in his heels and becoming a hardened person. 

So they divorced, all the while Paul was chasing his own comfort and relief at the expense of his family. 

That brought him to his hopeless moment. Alone, he was literally throwing thousands of dollars away at a strip club on Bourbon street. Drunk and high, that’s when the suicidal thoughts began. That’s when the lies really crept in. 

And that’s where Jesus showed up. In a strip club, on Bourbon street, in his darkest moment. That’s when Paul found hope. 

From there, the story takes some more wild turns. You have to watch all four parts for yourself to truly understand the depths of Paul’s hopelessness and how hard his heart had become, as well as to truly grasp how it affected Amy. But that’s what makes the ending so incredible. 

“God’s not finished. He is not done. He’s not done with this story,” Amy remembers saying during it all, recalling how even during the darkest moments she had faith.

The complex story that unfolds is incredible.

In the end, though, maybe it’s not too complex. Maybe it’s actually fairly simple. See, Paul’s story is in many ways my story. Your story. We run. We hide. We turn. We look for ways to numb what’s going on inside of us. We’re willing to do whatever it takes – especially to believe the lies that trick us – in order to find relief. 

But all along, the relief we’re looking for when we think there is no hope is standing there, beckoning us. Calling us. Wooing us. 

That relief is Jesus. And in the moments of absolute despair he shows up. In fact, he’s been there all along – we just have a propensity to close our eyes or look the other way because we think the “other” things are easier. Maybe they are, but they come at a high cost. The best answer – the only true answer – is Jesus.

I know that because of stories like Paul and Amy’s. I know that because of my own story. Because that night sitting on the beach with my wife wondering how we were going to go forward was one of the most freeing nights of my life. In fact, it ushered in the single biggest season of growth and change in my life. The same can be said for Paul and his moment, too. The growth and maturity he experienced after hitting bottom is nearly indescribable. 

It reminds me of the biblical story of Jonah, a man who tried everything he could to run and hide from God. When his running finally threatened the lives of others, he found himself both emotionally and physically at the bottom of an ocean. Not surprisingly, that’s exactly where God met him. That’s where he meets you.

Friend, Jesus can find you in a strip club, on a beach, in an ocean or wherever else you think you’re hiding from him. And he can redeem and restore your story. Paul and Amy Hauser, as you’ll see, are a testament to that. I am a testament to that. 

Give him a chance, and I think you’ll become a testament to that, too.

“No matter how far you run, Jesus is always coming after you. And you are never too far gone.” — Amy Hauser

Jonathon M. Seidl

Jonathon M. Seidl

Jonathon M. (Jon) Seidl is a writer, speaker, and digital media strategist. He’s the author of the #1 bestseller, Finding Rest: A Survivor’s Guide to Navigating the Valleys of Anxiety, Faith, and Life.

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