The child star of Jerry Maguire has shared his experiences of depression and anxiety after being bullied for his fame.
Jonathan Lipnicki, who also featured in Stuart Little, had posted on Instagram about his pride in making more films as an adult than as a child, which prompted an interview about the abuse he had suffered in school on the back of his early success.
He told TooFab: “I’ve been in treatment for a very long time because I had a very serious problem with anxiety and depression. I felt like I didn’t know how my life was going to end up. It was the lowest point of my life.”
“I didn’t go a day without going home and being upset. I didn’t go a day without being called some form of gay slur, or a hateful slur pretty much every day of middle school.”
Jonathan, 26, went on: “All I’ve ever wanted to do my entire life is make movies. To be made fun of for the thing that you love and be told you’re not going to be a success is hard.”
He added: “People write mean things online, but it never really got to me. It was the face-to-face, ‘You’re never going to make it. You’re worthless’ that got to me.
“I’m out to prove anyone wrong that’s ever doubted me. I love work and I love the art of it. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to go and say, ‘Look at me now. I’m happy. I’m creating my art and you can’t stop me.’”
In his Instagram post that prompted the interview, Jonathan wrote: “I have now made more movies as an adult than I did as a child! This makes me really emotional. I didn’t expect to feel like this, but I do.”
On being bullied, he wrote: “As a kid/teen I was made fun of relentlessly by some people who are now even my friends on FB (Facebook).
“I was told I was a has-been and would never book a job again. I was made to feel like garbage every day of middle school to the point where I had a manic attack every night before school, because I wondered how I would get through the next day.
“In high school a certain kid emphatically called me a has-been in front of my Econ class. (Tempted to tag him). It was humiliating.
“Chase your dreams, it’s amazing how mean people peak in their teens. Thank you to everyone who has supported and continues to support me. I love you and I hope that sharing this can shed a little light in a positive way.”
He captioned the post: “I’m sharing a little of my experience. It gives me anxiety being this open, but being bullied is a universal problem…As much as it is easier said than done, overcoming being bullied is a reality and I hope this resonates with all of you.”
Jonathan also told TooFab that he had met up with his Jerry Maguire co-star Tom Cruise more recently.
He said: “I wanted advice and also just wanted to see him again. He’s a really inspiring person to me. He still is.
“He took the time and was really gracious about it, he gave me a lot of time and a lot of great advice.”