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Reacher star Alan Ritchson opens about suicide attempt and sexual assault

Reacher star Alan Ritchson opens about suicide attempt and sexual assault

Actor Alan Ritchson has laid bare the painful details of a sexual assault and long-term struggles with mental health which culminated in a suicide attempt in 2019.

The 41-year-old star of the Amazon Prime Reacher series spoke out about being abused as a model by a “very famous photographer” and credited his wife and children with saving his life.

“The industry is not regulated, and it’s a widely known secret that if you’re hired on a job, you’re basically being passed off to a photographer to be trafficked,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.

“I was sent into a hotel room to do nudes with the promise that if I did the shoot, he [the ‘very famous photographer’] would offer me a very lucrative campaign for a magazine and a clothing line. I was sexually assaulted by this guy.”

Ritchson, who has since been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and ADHD, said that the incident led him to quit modelling. He reports driving to his agency in LA, “I stormed in and said, ‘F*** you for sending me there. you knew what was going to happen, and you did it anyway.”

He told them “to never call me again”. The pictures were never seen or published and it was the last photo shoot he would ever do.

“I swore it off and thank God acting found me at the exact same time so I was able to make a switch to a new career, but it left some scars.”

Richson opened about his experience of sexual assault and mental illness (Getty Images)
Richson opened about his experience of sexual assault and mental illness (Getty Images)

Ritchson adds that the experience was not uncommon: “The number of times and situations where I was put in horrific environments where sexual abuse was the goal and the paycheck that you were desperate for in order to survive was the carrot, I can’t count on two hands. It was quite often.”

His experience led him to “completely empathise with women” in the same situation, saying, “Imagine how terrifying it must be.”

Following his stint in modelling, the breakdown of a business relationship while working over 20 hours a day, including post-production on Dark Web: Cicada 3301 (released in 2001), led to a deep depression for the actor.

“I was reeling from the fallout and the fatigue, and it got to the point where I was stuck in bed for weeks. My wife and kids were concerned, and I could see confusion in their eyes. Nobody knew what was wrong,” he explains.

Ritchson stars as former US military man Jack Reacher (Amazon Studios)
Ritchson stars as former US military man Jack Reacher (Amazon Studios)

Ritchson said it was a vision of his sons, Calem, 11, Edan, 10, and Amory, 8, in their mid-30s that saved him from his suicide attempt in 2019.

“They calmly asked me not to do it, and told me that they wanted me to be here, alive and part of their lives.”

The actor said he was diagnosed as bipolar after the attempt.

Ritchson enjoyed huge success for his role as former US miltary man Jack Reacher in the action crime drama based on the novels by Lee Child. Reacher became Amazon’s most-watched title of 2023 exceeding 1.69 billion watching minutes in one week for its season two debut in December.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress, or are struggling to cope, you can speak to the Samaritans, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.