Nick Nolte on His Infamous 2002 Mug Shot:

On a recent afternoon at Nick Nolte‘s sprawling Malibu compound, the bushy-bearded 76-year-old actor takes a long slug from a coffee mug, stuffed with four bags of green tea, and talks about the day he was arrested for driving under the influence of GHB — and the infamous photograph taken of him hours later.

“GHB,” Nolte tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, “was one substance I ran into that I shouldn’t have messed with.”

The three-time Oscar nominee is out to set the record straight about his life as one of Hollywood’s most celebrated actors — and hell-raisers — in his new memoir, Rebel.

In it, he details the events leading up to his arrest on Sept. 11, 2002, and the subsequent fallout after a photograph of a disheveled, bleary-eyed Nolte — taken by police after his arrest — was released.

On that fateful day, Nolte admits to doing something he’d started doing with increasing regularity over the previous four years.

“I took GHB prior to going to the gym for a long workout,” he writes. “A strong dose made me feel great, yet I knew I was repeating with GHB the addictive cycle I’d been in before.”

Not long before his arrest, Nolte drove to an afternoon Alcoholics Anonymous meeting at a church near his house and felt the intoxicating effects of the psychoactive drug — which had become illegal two years earlier — kicking in.

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