The Hawaiian actor, 41, played Khal Drogo on the HBO series in 2011. At the end of the first season, the Dothraki warrior is killed by Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) in a fiery rage. The shocking death was one of many infamous moments in the Game of Thrones legacy, but things didn’t pan out so well for Momoa and his wife, Lisa Bonet, after his big HBO break.
“I mean, we were starving after Game of Thrones,” the Dune actor admitted in an interview with InStyle, published on Tuesday, November 10. “I couldn’t get work. It’s very challenging when you have babies and you’re completely in debt.”
Momoa and Bonet, 52, began dating in 2005. The longtime couple didn’t get legally married until October 2017 but had previously welcomed two children: daughter Lola, now 13, and son Nakoa-Wolf, now 12. Bonet also shares daughter Zoë Kravitz with her ex-husband, Lenny Kravitz.
When he first learned of his Game of Thrones character’s dramatic fate, Momoa was nearly speechless.
“I was reading [George R.R. Martin‘s book] and I was like: ‘Holy s–t! F–k, I’m dead!” he told Entertainment Weekly in 2011, marveling at the author’s ability to craft such twists and turns. “Here’s your lead characters, you’re supposed to think about them one way, and you hate them, then you love them, and then they’re killed and it’s a whirlwind of emotion. All the little kids and even the smallest of characters just grow and grow and grow. He built a beautiful world. … I’m going to miss that character.”
The Baywatch: Hawaii alum had few regrets about the “phenomenal” experience he had working on the fantasy series but admitted at the time that he “wished there was more stuff [Khal Drogo] could have done.”
Following his early exit from the Emmy-winning show, it took a moment for Momoa’s career to pick back up. He eventually went on to score the role of Aquaman in the DC comic book universe, beginning with 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Three years later, he reflected on the unexpected trajectory of his path to stardom.
“So homesick. Looking through my phone I found this,” he wrote via Instagram in May 2019 alongside a throwback photo of himself laying in the back of a van in Donegal, Ireland. “It was an amazing simple moment with my best friend @captainriff. While filming GOT we had a lil break. We were [too] broke to fly home so we rented a panel van aka UHAUL in Belfast and drove around beautiful amazing IRELAND searching for the greatest pint of Guinness. Turns out it’s perfect everywhere. … Been a long road and I feel like I’m just getting started.”