Val Kilmer leaves no stone left unturned in the excavation of his life.
The actor and freshly minted author is known for playing iconic figures, including Jim Morrison, Doc Holliday and Batman. He first garnered national recognition for his role in the 1986 blockbuster action film, “Top Gun.”
Confessions, poems and vignettes are peppered throughout his new memoir, “I’m Your Huckleberry.” Kilmer documents his life with candor and vulnerability from birth to his rise to stardom and waning acting career, including moments of love, loss and regret.
Here’s a look at some of his most memorable moments:
Daryl Hannah was ‘the most painful’ heartbreak
Kilmer was a “hopeless romantic.” He “could have died” from Cindy Crawford’s love; he was “hopelessly in love” with Carly Simon; and he “couldn’t wait to kiss” Angelina Jolie and “buy her a jet.”
But the one who shattered his heart the most? Daryl Hannah.
“Lord knows I’ve suffered heartache. But Daryl was by far the most painful,” he writes. They briefly dated in 2001, but when they broke up, Kilmer cried every day for half a year.
“I know I would love her with my whole heart forever and that love has lost none of its strength. I am still in love with Daryl,” Kilmer writes. He hasn’t had a girlfriend for 15 years.
Kilmer refused to date Cher
At first, Kilmer did not want to go on a date with Cher.
“I saw Cher as a less-than-fascinating character out of the gossip rags,” he writes. “I was not motivated to meet her, not out of snobbery but simply because I was sure we had nothing in common.”
But on the night they first met, Kilmer drove her home on his Harley. “We both loved laughing and went on doing so for well over a year,” he writes. “Funniest woman I ever met.” The couple were on and off for a few years before eventually deciding they were better off as good friends.
In fact, Cher cared for Kilmer when he was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2015. He was staying at her guesthouse when he had a medical emergency, “vomiting blood that covered the bed like a scene out of The Godfather,” he writes. Cher called him an ambulance and was with him when he underwent his tracheotomy and chemotherapy sessions.
“We laughed out loud before they finished my vitals and shut me up with an oxygen mask,” he writes.
Kilmer also did not want to star in ‘Top Gun’
He was pressured into auditioning for his role as Iceman in “Top Gun” by his agent. “I didn’t want the part. I didn’t care about the film. The story didn’t interest me,” Kilmer writes.
Kilmer even tried to self-sabotage his own audition by “looking like a fool or the goon,” he writes.
“I read the lines indifferently and yet, amazingly, I was told I had the part,” he added. “I felt more deflated than inflated.”
Pranking Tom Cruise
“Top Gun” became a blockbuster hit, as well as a place of fond memories, Kilmer said. He recalled one of his favorite memories: pranking Tom Cruise.
“I gave him an extremely expensive bottle of champagne but placed it in the middle of a giant field and made him follow scavenger hunt-style clues to find it,” he writes. “I hid behind a bleacher and watched him lug the giant crate to his motorcycle.”
“He never did thank me for the Iceman-style bit,” he continued. “I thought it would break the ice, but I guess the ice was just right.”
He wasn’t in the original cast for the “Top Gun” sequel
More than two decades later, the roles had reversed when Kilmer wasn’t initially invited to appear in the sequel. He begged to return.
“I’d not only contacted the producers but created heartrending scenes with Iceman,” Kilmer writes. “The producers went for it. Cruise went for it. Cruise couldn’t have been cooler.”
Readers should not purchase his memoir in hopes of looking for any spoilers. “I’m sworn to secrecy,” Kilmer said.
After being delayed from its original release date due to the pandemic, the sequel “Top Gun: Maverick” is expected to be released on Dec. 23.