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:
Im sharing a little of my experience. It gives me anxiety being this open, but being bullied is a universal problem. I am not a victim, but rather empowered because I was able to turn to my art. I am grateful for the amazing life I have and I hope I can pass on that it DOES get better. As much as it is easier said than done, overcoming being bullied is a reality and I hope this resonates with all of you ????????
The post (as you can see above) attracted lots of attention, which Lipnicki addressed in a follow-up:
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:
"Can’t you hear it in the silence? Can’t you hear me calling out your name? I’ve got something burning Coursing through these cold veins In the words we speak babe Somehow I get lost in between Whether to suffer in silence Or to break it all with each breath that we breathe" @bkommerell @bearsdenmusic
The kind messages I have been receiving have been extraordinary! I'm glad you all accept me for me ?. I'm honored to be able to relate to such amazing people! @jonathanlipnicki @abookof.us Photography @graphicsmetropolis Photo asst @phillldotcom Styling @zestymclemonz Grooming @lifeofada using @guise_etiquette #ABOOKOF #anxiety #depression #bullying #mentalhealthawareness
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.’”