Shazam star Zachary Levi reveals he had a mental breakdown at 37

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 26: Actor Zachary Levi attends Warner Bros. Pictures
Zachary Levi at CinemaCon 2022. (WireImage) (Gabe Ginsberg via Getty Images)

Shazam star Zachary Levi has opened up about the breakdown he suffered when he was 37.

The actor, who has a memoir coming out later this month, said he struggled with suicidal thoughts and depression four years ago.

Speaking to Elizabeth Vargas on her Heart of the Matter podcast, Levi said: “I’ve struggled with this stuff most of my life.

"I didn’t realise that I was struggling with these things until I was 37, about five years ago and I had a complete mental breakdown."

Read more: 'Shazam 2' is confirmed with a release date now set

He also talked about the unresolved issues he had from his childhood: "If I would come home and my mum was in a good mood, I could tell her, ‘Hey, I didn’t do so well on this test at school,’ and she’d be like, ‘Oh, don’t worry about it. There’ll be another test and we can work on it,’ whatever it was, but if she was in a bad mood, it was the end of the world.

"I was an embarrassment to the family. I mean, it was lots of vitriol, lots of yelling.”

Zachary Levi in 'Shazam!'. (Credit: DC/Warner Bros)
Zachary Levi in Shazam!. (Warner Bros)

Levi added that he dealt with his issues with a combination of sex and substances: “I was running to lots of other things, whether it was sex or drugs or booze or things to distract me from, to numb myself from the pain that I was running away from most of my life."

Levi said that his mental health issues became so severe that he contemplated ending his life: “I was having very active thoughts of ending my life. It wasn’t the first time I had had them. I had been in dark places in my life before, but I guess in those moments I had people around me."

He revealed that he friends later urged him to seek therapy and he admitted himself into a treatment centre for three weeks.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 26: Actor Zachary Levi speaks onstage during CinemaCon 2022 - Warner Bros. Pictures “The Big Picture” Presentation during CinemaCon 2022 at Caesars Palace on April 26, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images)
Zachary Levi speaks onstage during CinemaCon 2022. (Getty Images) (Greg Doherty via Getty Images)

Levi also discussed how the suicides of people like Anthony Bourdain and Robin Williams also affected him.

He said of Williams' death: “It really, really, really, really, really rocked me because I felt like if he can’t make it, I don’t know how I’m ultimately going to continue to navigate through this life, unless I can somehow figure out how to not keep falling into these places of depression and anxiety.”

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

Watch below: Zachary Levi wants Shazam sequel to be released before 2023.