Aren't you going to search me too?" asked the 8-year-old with the stringy blond pageboy when a customs official suspected his hippie father of smuggling drugs through an Irish airport in 1971. The officer laughed off the joke—having no idea that the boy, Jake Weber, and his 6-year-old brother Charley each had a half-kilo of cocaine strapped to their bodies—and were headed for the French villa where the Rolling Stones were recording their album Exile on Main St.
"My dad had been joking with the guy," recalls Weber, now 46, "so I was trying to act as carefree and unworried as he seemed to be."
These days Weber is best known as Patricia Arquette's husband on Medium
, which moves to CBS for its sixth season Sept. 25. But back in the psychedelic era, he lived a nomadic life as the son of Tommy and Susan "Puss" Weber, figures in London's counterculture. "Every day, something was going on that was completely insane," says author Robert Greenfield, whose recent book A Day in the Life
chronicles the stormy lives of Jake's parents. "But to Jake and Charley, it was just their life."
Tommy Weber was a race-car driver who also made music documentaries and dealt drugs—sidelines that brought the family close to rock luminaries. "He was a dazzling and dangerous person to be around," says Weber of his father, who died in 2006 after years of substance abuse. Susan carted her two young sons around the globe on an erratic quest for enlightenment—and supernatural intervention. "I told her constantly, 'There are no flying saucers coming to pick us up,'" he recalls. Their London flat "was the beating heart of the social experiment going on then: drugs, sex, music, the whole thing," says Weber, whose parents hosted pals such as George Harrison or Steve Winwood. "I remember rolling joints for oceans of stoned hippies who were just wandering around."
The mystique of that life ended for Weber when he was 8 and living at the Villa Nellcôte, Keith Richards' home in the South of France. While staying there in 1971, he was told his mother had died of an accidental overdose. "I was devastated," says Weber. Years later he learned that she had been diagnosed with LSD-induced schizophrenia and committed suicide. "I think the drugs she took and the culture that my family was at the epicenter of unraveled her."
His own rootless existence ended at 16, when he was sent to live with his godfather in San Francisco. He seldom spoke of his past, attending Vermont's Middlebury College, where he began acting. "I never wanted anyone's pity," he says. Now Weber's life in L.A.—where he lives with handbag designer Liz Carey, 34, and their son Waylon, 3—is filled with the stability he had dreamed of as a kid. "My journey is about believing that people will actually stick around," he says. "It's a hard thing to believe when you don't have a prototype for it. I've had to develop that for myself."