DC’s Legends of Tomorrow star Wentworth Miller spoke out about some serious and personal issues last night.
The actor addressed a meme that had been circulating that joked about his weight. It shows a side- by- side picture of him from his previous show, cult classic Prison Break, and a paparazzi photo of him looking heavier and reads “When you break out of prison and find out about McDonald’s Monopoly.”
Depending on who you are, this may seem either harmless and funny or mildly distasteful (“mildly distasteful”, incidentally, is the official tagline of the internet). But in a Facebook post, Miller reminded us why some of these harmless jokes aren’t so harmless.
“In 2010, semi-retired from acting, I was keeping a low-profile for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I was suicidal.” Miller went on to describe his state at the time the paparazzi photo had been taken, saying that he’s struggled with depression since childhood, a fact that he’s spoken about before. “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. And I put on weight. Big f–king deal.”
Miller said that when that photo was taken, he’d been hiking with a friend with “a rare smile” on his face, and that multiple gossip magazines published the picture with variations on the previous joke. Miller said it was “the last thing he needed” in his state of struggle, but that he persevered. While it hurt to see that picture again, he’s chosen to see it differently. “As with everything in life, I get to assign meaning. And the meaning I assign to this/my image is Strength. Healing. Forgiveness.”
Miller ended the post with advice to reach out if you’re struggling or know someone who is along with several links to resources for suicide prevention and mental health.
The news and media site that posted the specific meme Miller shared Lad Bible has since taken down the post and put up an apology over the situation, also sharing the resources Miller did.
There’s a lot of messed up things happening here. None of which you could even put fully on the creators of these memes. They didn’t know. But this situation forces us to ask ourselves whenever we ridicule, compliment, have an opinion on a celebrity for anything other than their work: Do we really know?