Wentworth Miller was suicidal: ‘The first time I tried to kill myself I was 15′

Back in August, Wentworth Miller came out as a gay man. He also came out as a 41 year old, which shocked more people than the gay thing. From what I could see, many of his fans had long ago assumed he was gay, but for those of us not paying attention, it was a moderate surprise and it seemed like Wentworth was praised for his honesty in most quarters. Personally, I liked that Wentworth “came out” in an open letter directed at Russia and the St. Petersburg International Film Festival, where he basically said that Russia’s new anti-homosexuality laws are awful and he doesn’t even want to go to Russia. Anyway, Wentworth was invited to speak at a Human Rights Campaign dinner in Seattle, and here’s what went down:

Wentworth Miller continues to show courage since coming out as gay in late August. The 41-year-old actor spoke at the Human Rights Campaign Dinner in Seattle Saturday, Sept. 7, revealing that he tried to commit suicide “more than once” as he struggled to come to terms with his sexuality.

“The first time I tried to kill myself I was 15. I waited until my family went away for the family and I was alone in the house and I swallowed a bottle of pills,” he revealed to a large audience. “I don’t remember what happened over the next couple of days but I’m pretty sure come Monday morning I was on the bus back to school pretending everything was fine.”

“Growing up I was a target. Speaking the right way, standing the right way, holding your wrist the right way. Every day was a test and there was a thousand ways to fail,” he said. “A thousand ways to portray yourself to not live up to someone else’s standards of what was accepted.”

The former Prison Break star also admitted that it made him nervous to come out early in his career. “I had multiple opportunities to speak my truth, which is that I was gay, but I chose not to. I was out privately to family and friends — publicly, I was not.” He continued: “I chose to lie — when I thought about the possibility of coming out, how that might impact me and the career I worked so hard for, I was filled with fear.”

In a brave statement, Miller finally came out of the closest in a letter to the organizers of the St. Petersburg International Film Festival in Russia on Aug. 21. He reasoned that “in good conscience,” he could not attend an event in a country that has anti-gay laws, including a ban on adoption of Russian-born children to national and international same-sex couples.

[From Us Weekly]

I like that he admits to lying publicly about his sexuality and how he explains his reasoning. Maybe he was right – could he have come out as a gay man even a decade ago and still been on Prison Break? I don’t know. I think I’m a bad judge of what the general public would or will accept. Anyway, Wentworth’s speech made me sad this morning. So many LBGT kids attempt suicide. It gets better, kids.

Here’s a clip of Wentworth speaking at the event:

Photos courtesy of WENN.

 

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63 Responses to “Wentworth Miller was suicidal: ‘The first time I tried to kill myself I was 15′”

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  1. Sixer says:

    I really like it that he addressed the closetry. Good for him.

  2. EmmaV1 says:

    I just never get why gay suicides/bullying get “priority” over non-gay related ones. Kids get bullied into suicide over attractiveness, weight, athleticism (or lack of), etc. everything…..it’s not something limited to the gay community.

    • Sixer says:

      Do they? Here in the UK, the media focus and attention is all on cyber-bullying as the perceived/reported main cause of teen suicide (with the cyber-bullying being about any of the things kids bully each other about).

    • Maria says:

      Because suicide rates amongst gay youth is higher, not to mention, they still face more discrimination in school and at home.

      All suicide attempts should be treated with dignity and respect; however, given gays in this country are still fighting for the right to marry their partners, it’s understandable why suicide amongst gays is talked about more.

    • LP says:

      You’re right, people can be bullied for almost anything. However, I have never heard of someone being thrown out of their house and church because they weren’t attractive enough. I’ve also never heard of someone who lost their family and friends for coming out as unathletic.

      And for what it’s worth, gay teens are five times more likely than their straight peers to commit suicide. So “prioritising” gay suicidies/self-harm is necessary. They are more at risk.

      • Kim says:

        @LP

        The same types of families that reject their own because of sexuality will do so for other dumbass reasons too. They dont know how to love and thats the real problem.

        Some of the crap I have witnessed in 12 years as a social worker: a girleh whose dad put her in coma for converting out of their jehova witness faith. A girl whose parents tied her to the post of their bed at night to keep her from night snacking. A boy who had had his arm broken twice by his father for not throwing a ball ‘correctly’. A boy who was thrown out for being what his mother described as “retarded” (he had a reading disorder compounded by ADHD, both very manageable). A girl wo was thrown out for bringing “bad omen” all because she was an albino, that one was only six years old.

        Children that look or act different are often isolated, at school and at home. Many families are incapable of unconditional love. Period. Any approach that ignores this is ridiculous,

      • Lee says:

        @Kim
        There may very well be plenty of monstrous people in the world who abuse their children, but that is a separate issue from families who throw their LGBT kids out into the street for being who they are. Self-identifying LGBT youth make up around 3% of the youth population but 40% of homeless youth. That is an absurd discrepancy and pretending otherwise is only playing into the problem.

      • Max says:

        Families that evict children for ANY reason are monstrous. Deal with the stem and not just one of the branches. I’m not gay but I was severely bullied at school. I was suicidal for many years. My fathers advice to me was to man up. I left home twice while in high school. I have bad social anxiety, for many years my gf was my only friend. The same troupe who trumpet the “it gets better” phrase very casually refer to me as a loser. I am not one to put my business out there so this is a special occassion indeed. The stuff that happens to us as children can live with us forever. I still struggle around other men, I come into those rooms well aware that I am farthest thing from an alpha. Women think their interractions are frought with superficial judgement but you have no idea. With guys if its not about your car, your job, your hot wife then its about your penis size. Anyway, long story short, save all kids not just the ones on the latest List of Fads.

      • Sardinia says:

        Max,

        Your comment brought tears to my eyes. I always thought It Gets Better was a massively wasted opportunity to help everyone. It should be renamed Some Children Left Behind. Very sad.

      • Lana says:

        @Max

        Thank you for an enlightening post. I confess to never really have heard a non gay person describe such a dark experience. I fear in afew years the result of focusing on one segment to the exclusion of others will become very apparent. Some causes are just sexier than others, I guess.

      • Sara says:

        We dont hear stories like Max because advocacy is all about cash. LGBT issues became a money magnet hence all the advocacy initiatives. Cold hard truth.

      • Vicky says:

        The incorrect assumptions people are operating under is partly the problem.

        People assume that all gay kids are in unsupportive home environments and are therefore more vulnerable. Ofcourse the flip of that is that fat kids only suffer at school so they arent a priority or whatever. Its ignorance, pure and simple

      • Natasha says:

        As mother to a non-LGBT daughter who demanded to be home-schooled to escape her bullies, let me say that I resent the casual manner that her pain is dismissed by the PC crowd. All bullying is devastating! I couldnt care less about WHY you are being bullied, nobody should live in fear!

      • OutstandingWorldCitizen says:

        ^This^

        Thank you for giving such great analogies. Although some folks on the board are definitely right to question why some bullying victims get preferential treatment it is important to illustrate why that is. I’ve had friends thrown out of their homes, be shunned by friends and family which is why the gay Houses culture is still so big. Kids need support. Hetrick Martin was started years ago as a safe place for LBGT teens for that reason. It was sad to hear about his suicide attempts however it is nothing new unfortunately.

        Just last week a gay teen took his life. Another teen, he was not gay, took his life from being bullied as well because of his height and Polish accent. That said, more needs to be done in this country to make it an actionable offense. As it stands now there is now true recourse in these matters.

    • Mindy says:

      I agree with this.

      Anti-bully campaigns should address all bullying. It would save far more kids for one. Afterall, bullies target that which is different, if you remove the gay kids from that victim list, you still have the geeks, the large kids, the smaller kids, the ethnic/racial minority kids, the poor kids, the disabled kids etc sitting squarely in the bulls eye.

      • Esmom says:

        I think many anti-bullying programs DO address all bullying. Good ones anyway. It’s on the radar, big time, at my kids’ middle school and it’s most definitely not limited to gay bashing/bullying. Kids that age can be real a%@holes, and can target just about anyone.

      • siobhan says:

        We live in a society where gay kids are bullied by adults, schools, religion, and our own government. Anti-bullying campaigns aimed at gay teens are important because many gay teens are being taught they deserve the bullying and many bullies believe it’s okay to bully a gay classmate.

    • tifzlan says:

      I don’t think anyone is saying that suicide due to gay bullying is more important than suicide due to any other reason. A few years ago, there was a string of suicides that involved gay children, as young as 10 and 11, which prompted the whole “It Gets Better” campaign. Weight, athleticism, etc are all things that can be changed over time, but being gay cannot, which is what the whole message of It Gets Better is about. It’s a solidarity movement for these children who often feel like there really is no way out because they didn’t choose to be gay and yet, they are told that they will be going to hell for who they are. I don’t think any fat kid is told that they will be condemned to eternal damnation once the world ends, and for a child to be told that is pretty psychologically damaging.

      • Natasha says:

        Tifzlan

        Many of the traits over which non-LGBT kids are bullied over are immutable too. And so what if they are changeable??!!! Why should anyone be expected to change who they are or what they look like??!! A child in distress is a child in distress. Help all or none. You dont get to decide which victim is more sympathetic.

      • tifzlan says:

        And i’m not. If you read my comment, i said that no form of bullying is worse than the other. Why are we even making this into a competition? Wentworth Miller was simply speaking of HIS experiences, and neither you or i get to diminish that. I completely agree that children shouldn’t be expected to change who they are to please other people. I apologize if the wording of my comment stated otherwise.

    • Jayna says:

      That’s odd. I see articles and shows all the time based on young girls being bullied and commiting suicide because of cyber bulling and mean girl treatment in school. I see shows where girls commit suicide because of being slut shamed at school because of photos being texted around.

  3. Gretchen says:

    damn he is so fine *swoon*

  4. GMarchetti says:

    “Impact” what career? You’ve only been on a TV show (canceled, BTW), and you wrote a movie script (Stoker) that you had to use an alias or people wouldn’t buy it.

    Now that you came out, you’re getting more attention that you’ve ever got. Keep it up that way, if you want people to remember you.

    P.S. I understand that actors like Hugh Jackman and Bradley Cooper can’t come out now, that their careers would be ruined, but Wentworth Miller, really?

    • Kim1 says:

      Well if he had come out pre Prison Break he wouldn’t have been the lead on Prison Break.So it would have impacted his career.At least he isnt a media whore like some people including Ricky Martin, NPH, etc.He has turned down interviews.Hasnt spoken to People Magazine, ET, Ellen etc.He hasnt come out to promote book or TV show, blog etc

    • Elodie says:

      well… just because he isn’t much on TV anymore means his career tanked, he may have chosen another direction? Say he’s turned to writing and has written the screenplay of the critically acclaimed Stoker (which he chose to write under an alias btw) so…

      • GMarchetti says:

        @ Elodie:
        Stoker was critically acclaimed by Chan-wook Park’s work, the director, and by Mia and Nicole’s performances, not by its script. Actually, most reviews point that the story is only so-so, what makes the movie interesting is the amazing visual style the director’s approach.

        BTW, I’ve seen Stoker and loved it, it’s a great movie, but as I said before, the story is the less compelling part.

        P.S.: I have nothing against Wentworth, let alone he being gay. ;)

      • Elodie says:

        It’s alright, no need of the preemptive “let alone him being gay” as I didn’t reply in regards of that, it was in regards of his career as your previous post stated clearly. And still, it doesn’t undermine his career because working with Park Chan Wook is one hell of a deal, if anything props to him for having on his CV a collaboration with one of the most talented Asian directors out there, at least that’s how I see it. And using his alias why not? Plenty of people do it even the anonymous ones so why would he be any different? Anyhoo I’m not saying that he was a huge star or amazing actor to begin with but eh, his career is alright.

    • QQ says:

      I was gonna come and say, at the risk of sounding snarky but, Homie has NO Career, in fact coming out at this point, is for him an EXCELLENT career move!

      • GMarchetti says:

        @QQ:

        I thought of it too, but it needed to be said, right? Glad to see someone agrees with me, I have nothing against him, let alone he being gay, it’s just that he was never a huge star to begin with.

      • Kim1 says:

        And ….90% of the people discussed in pop culture arent huge stars.If his coming out helps one person and brings attn to situation in Russia than all is good.On queerty.com many guys are commenting on how old they were when they attempted suicide so his testimony has encouraged others to discuss suicide a taboo topic

      • kaizee says:

        In the rest of his speech he talks about choosing to step away from acting because he wasn’t comfortable living a lie. Which is absolutely understandable. Giving interviews constantly having to lie about yourself? That’s no way to live. He wasn’t comfortable coming out publicly, and no one can shame him for that. It’s a personal choice. He chose to do so now.

    • JLK says:

      You realize getting as script sold under an alias is more impressive than trading on his name, right? A well received script, at that.

    • Jayna says:

      Hugh Jackman is married and adores his wife and children. I hardly think he is using his wife as a beard and is too good of a man to use his wife and waste her life with him if it wasn’t an authentic relationship. They have a true relationship. If he’s bi, I don’t know and don’t care, but he seems to be living a life he is proud of with his significant other. Wentworth couldn’t be with the one he loved openly, if he did fall in love, so I don’t see the comparison.

    • Mrs. Darcy says:

      In fairness, and agreeing w/Kim1, he is referring to a time in his career when it was heating up (Prison Break) – he was always going to have added pressure because of his leading man looks to be a heartthrob, he never would have been cast in Prison Break were he out. EVER. I tend to think he has purposefully drawn back from the spotlight because he was not happy being in the closet, living a lie. The way in which he has come out counteracts any accusations of publicity seeking pretty completely imo – of course it gained media attention because these things always do, but he could not have done it in a more dignified way imo.

      • Pink says:

        But he was lying about his sexuality long after Prison Break. He had a beard who was described as an on/off gf and he was out with her as recently as June.

      • Mia 4S says:

        So what @Pink? His choice; when, where, and if. I completely understand why people want LGBT individuals to come out; role models are needed. However these are autonomous human beings, not the public’s trained circus animals. He chose to come out when he was ready, that is great I think he will be better off. If he chose to stay closeted and have seven kids with his beard? Not the public’s business. I’m straight, no close gay family members, and I am getting deeply uncomfortable with the “ownership” certain segments of society (good intentions or not) seem to be trying to claim over LGBT persons.

    • nina says:

      oh sweet jezus. He’s very pretty and looks half his age- of course the prospects for him for film and screen would be leaning towards romantic/hunky roles. Even if he isn’t getting a lot of work nowadays, those are the parts that he will be up for as a working actor.

      Of course he’d worry about impacting his career, cause when he comes out he basically snuffs out his most obvious prospects now for future jobs. I don’t understand why you seem so judgey here with him for stating the obvious. Just cause he isn’t A list doesn’t mean he’s not a working actor, cause he is.

  5. Kemper says:

    I’m glad he found his way. I applaud his strength and I’m happy I get to see those beautiful eyes.

  6. KinChicago says:

    So much admiration for his honesty. There are many, many successful gay people and I commend him for standing up as one.

  7. Kate says:

    Good for him, moving speech, yada yada yada…41!!! He’s 41? He could easily pass for two decades younger. Not fair!

  8. Frida_K says:

    I wish him all the best. It’s clear that he really suffered. That’s sad. I hope that coming out and being able to speak his mind brings him some peace and a sense of healing.

  9. Tania says:

    Good for him. I’m all for people living an honest life!

  10. Sofia says:

    Him and Jim Parson dont look their age at all

  11. Lulu86 says:

    lol at people being more shocked at him being 41, however all jokes aside the bullying is heart breaking, these poor kids that feel there is no other option but suicide when you are feeling hopeless the prospect of it getting better is sometimes so bleak. but i believe things are somewhat changing.

  12. Common Sense says:

    I have a soft for Went similar to Sandra bullock, my favourite actors by far. They are low key and greatly underrated.

    Anyway, Went turned down acting gigs to focus on writing after PB.

  13. eliza says:

    Sorry but this dude is a terrible actor and looks like a Geico caveman. Never understood his appeal and am shocked people were shocked he was gay. I thought he came out years ago.

  14. Mrs. Darcy says:

    I think he is going to become a powerful voice for the gay community, he is so articulate and honest in such a short time since coming out. He never seemed to want to be a poster boy for his somewhat unique background (Ivy league,bi-racial,gay) but he is really coming into his own now as a man. I just love that he didn’t come out in People magazine, but instead used his status to tackle ignorance on the worst level. Always loved him, he is such a hottie, now an inspiring hottie to boot.

  15. Common Sense says:

    Thanks for making cry Wentworth, so sad :(

    On a lighter note, this man is simply gorgeous!

  16. Lucy says:

    I still can’t believe he’s 41!

  17. Claudia says:

    All bullying is wrong. This post brought to mind a boy that was in my classes in grade school– he only had one friend, and the two of them were isolated from the rest of the class. They weren’t very nice; the few times my friends and I tried to talk to them they responded with insults and lots of “fuck off”s. It was a self-preservation mechanism. They were labeled as “losers”, and the other boys in the grade apparently bullied them. I believe it was ninth or tenth grade when one of the boys took his father’s gun and killed himself. It turned out he didn’t have a happy home life either.

    I also think about this girl in my class who was very popular and very mean spirited. She would get into fights with other girls, and liked to socially ostracize people. One day she simply stopped coming to school. We eventually found out that she was being sexually abused at home by a relative, and she had run away.

    There’s a thirteen year age difference between my little sister and I. When she was going through elementary and then middle school I made it a point to tell her, every day, to be good to people. To not join in any bullying, to be the “tattle tale” when bullying was going on– because that was the best way to get help for the bullied and the bullies. To be friendly to everyone because we don’t know what’s going on with anyone or what their home life is like. Maybe a kind word from a peer is the one good thing to happen in someone’s day, something to make them feel better about tomorrow. My little sister can be really dumb about certain things (e.g. she loves Chris Brown the person and thinks there must have been a “good reason” that he did what he did), but she’s kind to everyone in her school. I wish more parents/families would take note, pay more attention to what their kids are doing and what’s going on at school (even if nothing is happening to their kid, or as a result of their kid). That extra bit of effort could make all the difference for the kids having a tough time at school.

  18. I Choose Me says:

    @Mia 4S. Perfectly stated! Seriously I want to hug you.

  19. hannah says:

    This might not be very popular but so be it .
    I was bullied in 8th grade , I still have no idea why but after the summer holidays I was no longer part of the group . It got so bad that I ended up in a mental health facility for 3 months . But I was never suicidal and I don’t think that publicising suicides is such a good thing. The media should not present suicide as the next logical step to dealing with bullying.

  20. Xanadu says:

    I love him even more now, if that it even possible. Who he loves in his personal life had no bearing to me on finding him hot and lust-worthy. He just is. I agree though, who knows how merica would have handled an out back in the days on prison break. Unless Perez outs ya, everyone should get to pick their window of comfort level for the “reveal” (swooping cape!).

  21. Cary says:

    Gay people a not a fad and we are not going to apologize because the plight of LBGT youth is being responded to. Making us the villains in some sad hierarchy of victims helps no one and diminishes the experiences of those subjected to bullying. The notion that members of our community are the privileged recipients of some sort of social benevolence ignores the long history of violence and contempt directed towards our community. All bullying is bad and we should reserve our outrage for those that behave with such callous disregard for the well being of others not focus it on those whose plight has finally drawn a little attention and a bit of action.

  22. Peg says:

    “Every day was a test and there was a thousand ways to fail,” he said. “A thousand ways to portray yourself to not live up to someone else’s standards of what was accepted.”

    How poignantly true!