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Jason Bateman Talks Partying Past and the Odd Reason He Agreed to ‘Juno’

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Jason Bateman talked to Howard Stern on Wednesday. (Ari Perilstein/Getty Images)

Jason Bateman may be a family man with a feature film career these days, but he took a trip down memory lane on Wednesday’s “The Howard Stern Show ” on SiriusXM Satellite Radio to recall his wild days as a young actor in the ‘80s and ‘90s and his jarring (but temporary!) fall from fame.

“Because I worked so much as a little kid I made a concerted effort to play as hard as I was working and try to catch up,” he said in the interview, admitting he lost his virginity at 15 and started drinking and partying at 16. “The reason it became a problem is because I wanted to start doing things that were more adult, which means you’ve got get up a little bit early in the morning. So I had to dial it down.”­­

But the actor insists his lifestyle wasn’t as off-the-rails as many other young actors at the time. “I’m kind of a hedonist. It was really more celebratory, it wasn’t really drowning out a lot of pain,” shared Bateman, who was on Stern’s show to promote his new film “Identity Thief.” “It was, ‘If I’m not having a lot of fun acting, let’s go drink into some fun.’”

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Bateman (top left) with the cast of The Hogan Family (NBCU Photo Bank)

Though he denied his dad – a producer on “Teen Wolf 2” and his first manager – was the one who pushed him into doing the film, he agreed with Stern that it was a “shi**y movie” and that the flick may very well have been responsible for ruining his acting career at the time.

Up until then, Bateman had starred in several hit TV shows, including “Silver Spoons” and “The Hogan Family,” and suddenly found he wasn’t getting many parts.

“You go into these auditions and you want to kind of posture like I’m the guy and they sort of make you wait in the lobby for 20 minutes. There’s a big, big adjustment for someone who was naïve about the ups and the downs of the business.”

The 44-year-old also admits he wasn’t smart with his money back in the day, even after his roles dried up, often picking up the tab so that he and his friends “who were painting houses and surfing” could take vacations. “You know you’re just about broke when your business manager turns you loose,” he joked.

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Bateman with wife Amanda Anka and daughter Francesca. (Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images)

Now, Bateman, who credits landing his role on the cult TV hit “Arrested Development” in 2003 with saving his career, admits his life is pretty sweet these days. He’s been married to Amanda Anka (daughter of Paul Anka) for nearly 12 years, stopped drinking more than a decade ago, and is raising two daughters: 6-year-old Francesca and 1-year-old Maple. When Stern asked if he’s ever tempted by other women in Hollywood, Bateman bluntly admitted that he chooses masturbating over cheating.

“There’s always going to be a hotter girl. There’s always going to be a different girl. And eventually if you want to be a husband, if you want to be a father, you’ve got to pick one,” Bateman confessed. “And, for me, I looked around at relationships in my life that did last and those were friendships. And I wasn’t sexually attracted to buddies, so I found a female buddy that I was sexually attracted to and asked her if she wanted to give it a go and that’s why it’s lasted so long.”

Though the “Horrible Bosses” star first turned down the role of Jennifer Garner’s character’s husband in 2007’s breakout indie hit “Juno,” he changed his tune when director Jason Reitman asked him again after the actor who had taken the gig dropped out two weeks prior to the start of production.

“I reread the script and what sealed the deal for me – and I’m not proud of this – was my daughter was colicky and she’s screaming her f***ing ass off and driving me bananas,” he recounts. “And I called my manager and said ‘Where does it shoot?’ He said, ‘Vancouver.’ I said, “How long?’ He said ‘Three weeks.’ I said, ‘I’ll do it.’ And now I look like a genius.”

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