11:45pm PT by Chris Gardner
Wentworth Miller Reveals Suicidal Thoughts, Struggles With Weight After Fat-Shaming Meme Goes Viral
The LAD Bible, which bills itself as "one of the largest online communities for guys aged 16-30 in the world," picked Wentworth Miller to be the punch line of a new fat-shaming meme, but the 43-year-old actor-director flipped the script on Monday afternoon and used the opportunity for good.
The meme features side-by-side photos of Miller — one a promotional still of the toned, (faux) tattooed and shirtless actor from Fox series Prison Break, which aired from 2005-2009, and another in which he wears a red T-shirt, looking a tad softer and more relaxed — with the joke, "When you break out of prison and find out about McDonald's monopoly..."
Miller promptly shared the post and unloaded a brutally honest account of his past struggles with food, depression and suicide.
"Today I found myself the subject of an Internet meme. Not for the first time. This one, however, stands out from the rest," he writes in the post, shared nearly 50,000 times by the end of the day.
He continues by recalling the days when he "suffered in silence" as a result of depression, something he has struggled with since childhood. "It's a battle that's cost me time, opportunities, relationships, and a thousand sleepless nights," writes Miller, who first opened up about his mental health in 2013 after he came out of the closet. "In 2010, at the lowest point in my adult life, I was looking everywhere for relief/comfort/distraction. And I turned to food. It could have been anything. Drugs. Alcohol. Sex. But eating became the one thing I could look forward to. Count on to get me through. There were stretches when the highlight of my week was a favorite meal and a new episode of Top Chef. Sometimes that was enough. Had to be."
As a result, Miller matter-of-factly states, "And I put on weight. Big f---ing deal."
It likely wouldn't have been an issue had he not been photographed by paparazzi while hiking in L.A. "They took my picture, and the photos were published alongside images of me from another time in my career. "Hunk To Chunk." "Fit To Flab." Etc.," he writes. "Fighting for my mental health, it was the last thing I needed."
But Miller concludes that he lived and he hopes others who identify with his experience know that help is available.
"Now, when I see that image of me in my red t-shirt, a rare smile on my face, I am reminded of my struggle. My endurance and my perseverance in the face of all kinds of demons. Some within. Some without," he says, even if the meme's existence initially took his breath away, in a bad way. "The first time I saw this meme pop up in my social media feed, I have to admit, it hurt to breathe. But as with everything in life, I get to assign meaning. And the meaning I assign to this/my image is Strength. Healing. Forgiveness.Of myself and others."
Also a writer, Miller, seen most recently on the series Legends of Tomorrow, makes use of his skill set with lines like these: "Like a dandelion up through the pavement, I persist," he writes. "Anyway. Still. Despite."