Wil Wheaton Reveals He Considered Suicide as a Teen but 'Didn't Know How': 'I Am a Survivor'

·3 min read

Warning: The following story contains language about suicide.

Wil Wheaton is opening up more about the trauma he endured during his adolescence.

The 49-year-old actor spoke with Access Hollywood for the outlet's "Surviving Child Stardom" series in an interview published Tuesday, revealing he once considered suicide.

"Acting is actually something that was forced on me," said the Stand by Be and Star Trek: The Next Generation actor. "I have these very clear memories of saying over and over, 'I don't want to do this. I just want to be a kid. Let me be a kid.' "

Wheaton went on to say that he "learned, as a child" that if he wanted to get the "attention and approval from my parents" that all kids "deserve unconditionally," he had to "do what Mom wants."

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Wil Wheaton Reveals He Considered Suicide as a Teen but ‘Didn’t Know How’
Wil Wheaton Reveals He Considered Suicide as a Teen but ‘Didn’t Know How’

Access/YouTube Wil Wheaton

RELATED: Wil Wheaton Moved by Jerry O'Connell's Apology for Being Unaware of Childhood Trauma: "You Were 11"

" 'And maybe if I do what Mom wants, for some reason, Dad will love me,' " he recalled of his reasoning, alleging later in the interview of his father, "There was a time in my life where he made a choice that I wasn't his son — I was Debbie's 'thing.' "

A spokesperson for Wheaton's family told Access in a statement that they are "shocked by these allegations" from the star, adding, "We have always been a tight-knit, close, loving family." They also said Wheaton's mother Debbie "is not giving up hope for reconciliation."

Later, Wheaton admitted, "The only reason I didn't kill myself as a teenager is that I didn't know how. That's how much pain I was in. I thought maybe it would get my dad's attention and maybe it would make an impression on my mom and she would have to see me and not her 'thing.' "

"And I'm so grateful that, for whatever reason, I didn't make un-revokable choices when I was younger," he continued. "I'm just really grateful for all of it. I am a survivor."

"I was silenced for my entire life, and I'm not going to be silenced anymore," Wheaton also said.

Wil Wheaton, Jerry O'Connell
Wil Wheaton, Jerry O'Connell

Albert L. Ortega/Getty; Michael Loccisano/Getty Wil Wheaton (L); Jerry O'Connell

RELATED: How to Recognize Suicide Warning Signs amid the National Children's Mental Health Emergency

In an interview with Yahoo Entertainment published in May 2021, Wheaton said that he "didn't want to be an actor when I was a kid. My parents forced me to do it," alleging of his actress mom, "My mother made me do it. My mother coached me to go into her agency and tell the children's agent, 'I want to do what Mommy does.' "

The following week, Jerry O'Connell said on The Talk that "he had no idea" that his "great friend" Wheaton, whom he met while filming Stand by Me as kids over 35 years ago, "was feeling this."

"I heard before you talk about some of the struggles you were going through during Stand by Me, and you know, while I was 11 at the time, that's an excuse," O'Connell, 48, told Wheaton in part on The Talk last month. "I do want to apologize for not being there more for you when you were younger."

"I deeply appreciate that," said Wheaton, but he noted to O'Connell, "You were 11. How could you have possibly known?"

"Also, everyone in the audience who is a trauma survivor knows this: We're real, real, real good at covering up what we're going through," he added.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

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