Hugh Laurie has told how starring in US medical drama House turned into a "nightmare" despite him being the best-paid actor on TV.
The British actor, 53, was paid a reported £250,000 an episode and won two Golden Globes for his long-running role as curmudgeonly Dr Gregory House.
But he suggested to the Radio Times that his huge success became "a gilded cage", with the actor even fantasising about having an accident just so that he could take a few days off.
While filming the Fox show, Hugh had his car windows tinted to avoid being snapped by phone cameras and stopped buying his own groceries because he "couldn't stand people photographing the contents of my shopping basket".
The actor, who appeared in the drama's finale last year, admitted: "At this distance it all sounds absurd. Ridiculous! After all, what was I doing other than playing about, telling stories with a very nice bunch of people? What could be constricting about that?
"But the repetition of any routine, day after month after year, can turn into a bit of a nightmare.
"I had some pretty bleak times, dark days when it seemed like there was no escape. And having a very Presbyterian work ethic, I was determined never to be late, not to miss a single day's filming. You wouldn't catch me phoning in to say, 'I think I may be coming down with the flu'.
"But there were times when I'd think, 'If I were just to have an accident on the way to the studio and win a couple of days off to recover, how brilliant would that be?'."
The actor lived in Los Angeles while his wife and three children stayed in Britain during his time on the show.
Asked if readjusting was difficult when he returned home after a near eight-year commitment to House, he replied: "Yes, but probably more so for the family. For me it's been a delight to be back with them, to walk the dog, to listen to music and to read. I'm still appreciating and enjoying hugh alruie