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Hetfield: I forgot family for fans

Metallica frontman regrets choice he made at “split in the road” aged 50 - and reflects on challenges of being a dad

Metallica frontman James Hetfield admits he got the balance between fans and family wrong when he turned 50.

He accepts he made the wrong choice at an emotional crossroads – and accidentally wound up taking advantage of those closest to him.

In the latest video clip of a series he made for Road Recovery, Hetfield says: “There was a split in the road. I’m thinking, ‘I’m this rocker dude who’s got to go out blazing. I need to show my fans that I really care about them more than anything else.’

“I forgot about the other split – my family.”

And he won’t give himself a break just because he came from a broken home. “Just because my family kind of disintegrated as a kid doesn’t mean my parents didn’t have unconditional love for me,” he says.

But he’s learned lessons from his experience. “I know there are parents out there that struggle with loving their kids, or not knowing how to love their kids.

“Being a parent is so hard. I’ll either smother that kid with control or just go, ‘Whatever you do, I don’t want to know.’ Being in the middle is so hard.

“And even when you’re doing a good job, you’re hated.”

In the previous Road Recovery clips Hetfield told how he relies on fans during moments of doubt on stage, his lifelong fear of responsibility, and how receiving validation from Metallica supporters is like “the most amazing drug.”

The frontman performed at a charity show with his 16-year-old daughter Cali on Friday. The second annual Acoustic 4 A Cure event, fronted by Sammy Hagar, aims to raise funds and awareness for the fight against childhood cancer.

Metallica are working on their 10th album, although no completion date has been confirmed, and they play this year’s Reading and Leeds festivals in August.

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