Transformative

“Jerry McGuire’s” Jonathan Lipnicki was bullied by homophobes, but look who’s laughing now

Former child actor Jonathan Lipnicki became a universal symbol of cuteness in Jerry Maguire and Stuart Little, but the now 26-year-old actor and Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt has revealed he was often the target of bullying in his younger years.

In a candid Instagram post, Lipnicki opened up about his “lifelong battle with anxiety and depression.”

“As a kid/teen I was made fun of relentlessly by some people who are now even my friends on FB,” he wrote in the post. “I was told I was a has-been and would never book a job again.”

“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,” he’s also shared.

Here it is in full:

The post (as you can see above) attracted lots of attention, which Lipnicki addressed in a follow-up:

Here goes nothing ???????

A post shared by Jonathan Lipnicki (@jonathanlipnicki) on

We commend him for sharing his story, and for reminding us that success doesn’t happen in a vacuum — it’s built upon failure and setback.

And speaking of success, we can’t imagine he has to worry about too much bullying these days:

Another awesome shot from #dembanger ????????

A post shared by Jonathan Lipnicki (@jonathanlipnicki) on

Shooting #dembanger?????????????????????#film #makingmovies #yesitsabathroomscene

A post shared by Jonathan Lipnicki (@jonathanlipnicki) on

Typical Tuesday #dembanger ??

A post shared by Jonathan Lipnicki (@jonathanlipnicki) on

You can catch Lipnicki soon in the film Pitching Tents. “I’m out to prove anyone wrong that’s ever doubted me,” he says. “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.’”

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28 Comments

  • Jack Meoff

    So is this guy even gay? What’s the point of the story?

    • seaguy

      His story resonates with many in the gay community who were bullied, and is inspiration for gay or straight kids to realize they are not alone. So the point of the story is some gay teen who is being bullied in school and contemplating suicide might read this and think wow look at him I can do that too.

    • Jack Meoff

      I think it’s more a case of any excuse for some editorial on the part of someone who’s career needs a boost and bullying is a hot topic right now.

    • DarkZephyr

      C’mon with the snarky cynicism for GOD’S sake. Who knows if he’s gay but he was still treated badly by homophobes because they perceived him that way. You don’t have to actually be gay to be negatively impacted by homophobia or even be the victim of it.

    • Juanjo

      Who pissed in your cheerios this morning, Negative Nancy?

  • charlie_jackpot

    I think the point of the story is if you are being bullied you need to bulk up :s

  • lauraspencer

    Sorry that he was bullied.

    Not sure that a 5’7″ guy posting photos of his half naked torso and sharing his story with the public to gain validation screams that he has healed from the bullying. If anything it suggests how damaged he is by seeking out validation from strangers.

    Weird mixed message Mr. Lipnicki.

    • Lvng1Tor

      Remind me where you received your PHD in psychology again?

    • lauraspencer

      Columbia University

    • Ari Gold

      I was thinking the same thing. When in doubt, post half naked photos showing the people who bullied you that you know what a gym is. I mean has-beens can’t possibly afford a membership right?

    • seaguy

      Stick to your job on GMA honey.

    • lauraspencer

      Cute comment, but I think you are confusing me with Lara Spencer. My name is Laura. I like Lara, but she is no relation.

    • DarkZephyr

      You aren’t sorry, Laura.

    • DarkZephyr

      “He’s just doing this for validation!” = the exact kind of thing a bully would say.

    • Juanjo

      Well Laura, if indeed you do have a PHd in psychology as you claim then you are well aware it is a breach of ethics as well as malpractice to issue an opinion such as you have based upon an article in the media.

      But thanks for sharing with us.

    • lauraspencer

      I wasn’t offering a diagnosis. That would have to take place in an office and with a patient. This is a blog and Mr. Lipnicki is not a patient.

  • Terrycloth

    So , has he come out ? Nowhere does it say he is gay or has come out.just that he was bullied..

    • Juanjo

      read more carefully about some of the issues he was bullied about, Terrycloth. There are moth holes in your argument.

  • Bryguyf69

    I just don’t understand people who criticize Queerty on the basis on contents. First of, Queerty is not journalism and it has never claimed to be such. It is a collection of blogs and the contents is whatever strikes the bloggers’ interest. That includes attractive men who aren’t gay. Do you, as gay men, ever oogle or talk about attractive straight men? Well, why should Queerty bloggers be any different? Readers always have the option TO NOT READ.

    As for this article, regardless of whether he is gay, many gays can relate to his story of bullying. Furthermore, he specifically says that he was called gay slurs. So whether you can relate to him, he can certainly relate to you. That makes this story relevant.

    • seaguy

      Well said!

    • DarkZephyr

      The hate filled, judgmental comment section of Queerty always makes me reluctant to share these stories in groups and such because I am afraid of the snark-meisters of Queerty’s readership being seen as representative of the LGBTQ community, particularly of gay men.

  • Chris

    “You had me at ‘I was bullied.’ ” ….. That being said, the pics seem to have turned this into something other than an anti-bullying statement.

  • DCguy

    It must be weird to be a kid actor, working that young and then you can’t rely on past work like an adult actor because you don’t look or sound anything like you did when you were last onscreen.

  • GayEGO

    When I was a musician in the Navy, I got teased because I played the flute, but I always took the humorous action, joking with the teasers. Today, the bullies need to be stopped and punished because they are not helping humanity.

  • Moritz

    One can only hope that these snarkmeisters are not representative of most gay men. I know that is the stereotype (petty bitches) but most gays I meet have real lives and don’t have the time or energy it takes to be a full time be-atch.

    That being said, I am glad that Queerty has stories like this, so we are not ghettoized into thinking we are the only ones that experience certain things. As for being called a has-been, he just has to tell the bullies that that is much better than being a never-was.

  • mz.sam

    Talented actor Jonathan is an inspiration and a great role model for youths against bullying. Besides, he appeared in a Los Angeles local theater a while back appearing fully nude. For a highly muscular, little guy he was proud of showing off his thick beer can…eventhough the play sucked.

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