Michael Sheen has dubbed himself a "not-for-profit actor," as he plans to dump all of his future earnings into social causes, including homelessness.
Proving his commitment, the "Frost/Nixon" actor reveals he even quietly sold two of his homes in 2019 to help fund the Homeless World Cup, which uses soccer to inspire the homeless to change their lives, according to the website.
"I had committed to helping to organize [the Homeless World Cup] and then suddenly, with not long to go, there was no money," he told the Big Issue for their Letter to My Younger Self. "I had to make a decision – I could walk away from it, and it wouldn't happen. And all those people from all around the world who were banking on coming to have this extraordinary experience, maybe a life-changing experience, wouldn't have it. I thought, I'm not going to let that happen."
The Homeless World Cup's website cites that 94 percent of players claim the tournament positively impacted their lives.
With this in mind, Michael couldn't let the lack of funding end the organization.
"I put all my money into keeping it going," he said. "I had a house in America and a house here and I put those up and just did whatever it took."
At the time, the "Good Omens" star had no idea how that would financially affect him personally.
"It was scary and incredibly stressful. And I'll be paying for it for a long time," he said. "But when I came out the other side I realized I could do this kind of thing and, if I can keep earning money it's not going to ruin me. There was something quite liberating about going, alright, I'll put large amounts of money into this or that, because I'll be able to earn it back again. I've essentially turned myself into a social enterprise, a not-for-profit actor."
Another eye-opening moment for Michael came after filming 2011's "The Passion" in Port Talbot, a small town in Wales, United Kingdom, which happens to be his hometown.
"That project involved the entire town and it was a big awakening for me. I got to know people and organizations within my hometown that I didn't know existed. Little groups who were trying to help young carers, who had just enough funding to make a tiny difference to a kid's life by putting on one night a week where they could get out and go bowling or watch a film and just be a kid," he said. "I would come back to visit three or four months later, and find out that funding had gone and that organization didn't exist any more. That stuff doesn't make the news but it makes a massive difference to kids' lives."
He continued, "I realized the difference between that child's life being a little bit better or not was ultimately a small amount of funding. And I wanted to help those people. I didn't just want to be a patron or a supportive voice, I wanted to actually do more than that. That's when I thought, I need to go back and live in Wales again."
Michael has a reported net worth of $16 million.
"I've realized in the last few years that I want to be one of those people who help other people the way so many people helped me. I don't want to just be someone who enjoys the fruits of what other people have done and then pull the drawbridge up and go, well I'm alright Jack, I've had a nice time," he said. "I'm at the stage of my life and career where I have a window of opportunity that will probably never be this good again. I'm able to get people in a room, I can open doors. I don't want to look back and think, I could have done something with that platform. I could have done something with that money."