WATCH: Wentworth Miller Reveals He Tried To Commit Suicide As A Gay Teen

Wentworth Miller says he tried to commit suicide more than once as a teenager as he was coming to terms with his sexual orientation. The actor, who came out publicly last month with an impassioned letter in which he turned down a visit to a film festival in Russia to protest the country’s barbaric treatment of LGBT people, opened up at the Human Rights Campaign dinner in Seattle on Saturday, reports US Weekly.

“The first time I tried to kill myself I was 15,” he said. “I waited until my family went away for the family and I was alone in the house and I swallowed a bottle of pills. I don’t remember what happened over the next couple of days, but I’m pretty sure come Monday morning I was on the bus back to school pretending everything was fine.”

The actor, like many gay people, admitted he felt conspicuous as a teenager and tried to keep his secret hidden.

“Growing up I was a target,” he said. “Speaking the right way, standing the right way, holding your wrist the right way. Every day was a test and there was a thousand ways to fail. A thousand ways to portray yourself to not live up to someone else’s standards of what was accepted.”

Miller, who starred in the hit television drama Prison Break, said he feared coming out sooner would have had a negative impact on his acting career.

“I had multiple opportunities to speak my truth, which was that I was gay,” Miller told the crowd. “But I chose not to. I was out in private, to family and friends … but professionally, publicly, I was not.”


Video: TMZ

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  • Caleb in SC

    Good for him. This is so much better than an “IT Gets Better” video.

  • erikwm

    Me too — at 17.

  • Scribe38

    @erikwm: 14 here. Happy we are all still here

  • erikwm

    Mine was an attempted alcohol overdose. I still don’t like to drink alcohol and will never drink gin. The smell takes me right back to that night.

  • Nyruinz


    My heart goes out to you guys, glad things got better for you both :)

  • HernanMinogue

    15 here.I swallowed a bottle of pills too. I took an hr bus ride until its last stop. I walked to some park & took all the pills. Nothing happened, so I went back home and slept. I woke up early in the morning for school with vomit all over my face and bed sheets. While I was taking a shower I kept throwing up. I got dressed and walked to my bus stop. I was throwing up like crazy. I guess someone noticed and called 911. I was taken to the hospital, but left before a doctor could see me. I’m happy I’m alive and happy for everyone else that’s still here who tried committing suicide. Life is better now. 19 years old now

  • python

    In the 1960’s, it was a walk on the ice of Lake Ontario when I was 21….obviously I didn’t go through the ice….

    I had gone to see a gay prof after I had suffered an extremely traumatizing experience, trying to meet someone my own age at university….the guy wasn’t gay!!!

    The prof plied me with some booze and tried to have sex with me. I was revolted and ran away.

    So the walk on the ice followed.

    I don’t know why I turned back.

    I called another prof. and he was wonderful. Had me over, fed me some hot chocolate and liquor and just let me be.

    You have to realize that back in those days, being gay was a criminal offense; it had not yet been declared a psychological issue, let alone a “social” issue. Wow!

  • Brian

    Women won’t tolerate homosexuality in a man who is marketed romantically to them. This is why male actors who wish to be leading men will never say they are gay or bi. It would destroy the marketing strategy that Hollywood has designed for them as leading men.

    The intolerance of women is a key reason why male actors hide their homosexuality.

  • Jake357

    @Brian: Maybe, but have you seen how big all that man on man slash fiction has gotten? There is clearly a sizable amount of chicks double-clicking their Kindles to some gay sex, so I don’t think it’s that big of a stumbling block.

  • dpinvogue

    @Caleb in SC: Good for him. This is so much better than an “IT Gets Better” video.

    OK he’s an internationally known star, earns beaucoup bucks, and can stand up to the Russians … so things did not get better for him ?

  • Thedrdonna

    @Brian: Yeah, that must be what’s going on with all those women I know who simply HATE Anderson Cooper.

  • Fael

    I’m the only one here that didn’t try to kill himself?

  • Cam

    Ugh, his story as well as some of the posts here are just heartbreaking!

    THIS is why the right wing, the bigots, the religious nuts fight SO STRONGLY against any laws that give LGBT folks any kind of normalcy or ability to live openly.

    They would rather have gay kids kill themselves, or lie and marry opposite gendered people and ruin two lives.

    Having people come out and live openly means that in the future kids like Wenworth Miller was, will see folks on TV just like him and know that even if his parents are assholes there are people like him everywhere.

    Thanks to him for acknowledging the bigotry in Hollywood also. It isn’t the audience that would stop watching his show. It is the nasty bigoted casting folks and closet case producers that hate gays and won’t hire them.

  • B Damion

    @Fael …I’m with you hon. I was too scared to hurt myself. I think my high school muscial theater program saved me. I was fortunate to be surrounded by like minded people who loved musical theater. I had good friends who cared about me. I was very lucky to have that in school.

    I say bravo to Miller for sharing his truth. I hope his story helps someone who might be lost.

  • BJ McFrisky

    Maybe I’m off-base here, but I don’t understand any of this. I went trough adolescence knowing who/what I was, but it never occurred to me to do away with myself. Yet I hear all these stories of gay kids who try or succeed in killing themselves, and over what? Shame? Embarrassment? Fear of rejection? There are a lot of kids who are proud to be gay. Again, I don’t get it, but maybe someone can enlighten me.

  • Dxley

    Why would you people want to kill yourselves? That thought has NEVER occurred to me. It was never an option. Kill myself and miss out on all the hot guys in the world? (Just humour. No offence) It just makes no sense to me! I’m a successful man in all aspects of my life; in my career, my relationship just to mention two. Sometimes you should take an hour to think before you try to kill yourself and realise that when you live, you’re actually NOT living for yourself but for those who love you. Your father could become abusive and an alcoholic, your mother could be deemed clinically insane. Your siblings might start to fail if they’re at school, neglect and physically hurt themselves. Please, guys. Don’t do that. What’s gonna happen to that man who was made specifically for you? You’re gonna change his fate, his life for the worst. Killing yourself is just not right. I know it gets extremely difficult, but you’ll come out tougher than ever. There are those who don’t struggle to accept who they are and blessed are they. We deal with things differently. Killing yourself, however, never solves anything. It leaves behind problems that will never be solved. Scars that never fade! Just don’t kill yourselves!!!

  • Cam

    @BJ McFrisky: said…

    “Maybe I’m off-base here, but I don’t understand any of this. I went trough adolescence knowing who/what I was, but it never occurred to me to do away with myself. Yet I hear all these stories of gay kids who try or succeed in killing themselves, and over what? Shame? Embarrassment? Fear of rejection? There are a lot of kids who are proud to be gay. Again, I don’t get it, but maybe someone can enlighten me.


    BJ, just my 2 cents here, and I know that I am coming off like a dick, but it’s a judgement on my part so take it for what it’s worth.

    Some kids get a complete load of hatred, shame, and bigotry from their surroundings, they know what they are, but they have been told all their lives that what they are is evil and bad, and that they will never be happy, will never have good lives, and if anybody found out they will be kicked out etc…

    Some would think suicide is the way out. You seem to have taken a different path. You seem to have fully embraced the GOP and conservatives who hate us. That is a tactic that many use…i.e. I’ll show them that I am a good person, a good F****T, I’m not one of those queers that they’re talking about.

    Again, I know it sounds dickish, but you constantly come in here and attack people for pointing out the extreme bigotry of the GOP and try to equivocate it with other folks who are not trying to outlaw our lives, so that is my guess on your coping mechanism.

  • BJ McFrisky

    @Cam: Yes, Cam, as usual, you come across as a dick when it comes to a civilized response. In stating that I’ve “taken a different path than suicide,” you manage to turn that into a political attack, when nothing about this has anything to do with politics. I asked a simple question which didn’t deserve your ire, but for you, anything I say becomes an excuse for personal attacks—but that’s your sad situation, not mine. And when you don’t respond in kind to commenters like Dxley who said the same thing I did, it becomes obvious your responses are personal, so maybe it’s best if you just don’t read my comments anymore. You’re determined to make an enemy out of me, someone you don’t even know, simply because of minor differences in beliefs (and I’d really like for you to show me one instance in which I’ve “attacked people for pointing out the extreme bigotry of the GOP,” because it never happened. I’m not a Republican. That’s your fantasy, not mine. Get over it.)

  • john

    At least he managed to move forward and leave all this terrible memories behind him.I can say that for my self and others gays in my town.Why the straight people don’t leave as alone to live in peace.Perhaps its a matter of culture and what kind of education that every society has that makes the difference.

  • Cam

    @BJ McFrisky:

    There was no ire or anger. You asked a question, basically saying that you had never thought of that. I pointed out a possible reason.

    Please point out the section of my post that was incorrect. You have come in here multiple times defending the GOP, trying to attack any democrat, trying to draw comparisons between the anti-gay policies of the GOP and whatever democrat is mentioned in an article, as well as trying to turn postings about Democrats into an opportunity to play victim by claiming that the coverage would have been different if they were in the GOP.

    My posting was on point as far as your past postings have gone. If I was wrong about it being your coping mechanism that is fine, you will notice that I pointed out more than once it was just an opinion. However, you have dug your feet in multiple times to defend the party and people that has tried to legislate us into non-existance. It is a well established behavior pattern to self identify with people seeking to hurt you in order to cope.

    You may think I’m wrong, but my post was clear and to the point. If you disagree that is fine, I stated I could be wrong. However, your behavior in the past seemed to fit that pattern in my opinion. If you don’t want to hear answers to questions you may dislike perhaps you shouldn’t ask.

  • BJ McFrisky

    @Cam: Or, perhaps I should specify that my question was directed toward decent, fair-minded individuals who aren’t so ideologically immersed in liberal politics that they can provide a non-biased, non-nasty, non-judgmental answer without showing their own misdirected prejudices.

    Your comment, “My posting was on point as far as your past postings have gone,” says it all. Past postings? Really? You just admitted don’t even care about the issue at hand; you just enjoy sniping at those with whom you disagree. What a class act you are.

    Anyhow: It’s pointless for me to respond to your comments anymore. It’s like trying to discuss algebra with a lemming. Let’s just agree to disagree and live and let live. Any future cattiness from your end will be greeted with resounding silence from mine (I know that won’t stop you from trashing me to other commenters, as you have in the past, but that’s your right as a vile, hateful person, and I respect that, too). OK? OK.

  • Cam

    @BJ McFrisky: Said…

    “Your comment, “My posting was on point as far as your past postings have gone,” says it all. Past postings? Really? You just admitted don’t even care about the issue at hand; you just enjoy sniping at those with whom you disagree. What a class act you are.


    No BJ, actually as anybody reading my posting from a non-emotional point of view would have been able to figure out, I was basing my guesses as to your coping mechanism based on what you have let out about yourself in past postings.

    The fact that you never pass up an opportunity to try to equivocate between two disparate groups, one of which is pushing for civil rights laws for gays and the other fighting to install bans on us living our lives is very telling.

    You can try to deflect and pretend that I wrote some post calling you names and flicking spit balls at you but that isn’t the case, as you would see if you would read it for what it is, and not as an excuse for you to once again play the victim.

    I’m sorry this has upset you so much, I seem to have hit a nerve.

  • BJ McFrisky

    Blah, blah, and . . . blah.

  • scallywag53

    I was 15 when I too took a bottle of pills which made me sick but obviously didn’t end my life. It was 1974 and my mother (who I’m sure always knew) told me if she has a “queer” son she would drown him and put him out of his misery. And miserable I was. I suffered under the misconception that if I was to attract another male I would have to dress as a woman and that idea filled my with loathing. I don’t think younger gay men realize how lacking any kind of gay role models or education there was in the 60s and 70s and we stumbled along learning about what is was to be a gay man as we went along. I sense a lack of empathy on some posts here (BJ McFrisky) about how dark one’s soul can become as adolescence with the feeling there was only one option to the pain, suffering and loneliness.

  • Cam


    I never went down the same path, but your posting is so sad, I’m so glad you did not succeed when you were 15.

    And BJ, your last response is about at the level of most of your responses when you can no longer defend your posts. I await your next posting telling us why you think Ted Cruz is better for the gay community than Hillary Clinton

  • DonW

    @Jake357: FYI, “Brian” is a well-known misogynist troll on other sites. On he goes by various names, particularly “Rick,” and finds some way to spew psychopathic hatred of women and non-“straight-acting” gay men on every thread. Ignore him.

  • the other Greg

    @DonW: “Brian” is also an HIV denialist – he believes that HIV is not the cause of AIDS and that it’s caused by “promiscuity and drugs.”

  • erikwm

    @BJ McFrisky: If as a GAY MAN you can’t understand it, you lack basic empathy and there’s no point even trying to explain. You will never understand it, because you can’t feel empathy.

    That’s probably why you’re a Republican, too.

  • Thedrdonna

    @DonW: Oh, wow, he’s Rick? I woulda ignored the troll if I’d known. I mean, it’s fun to point out logical inconsistencies (like the fact that I know many straight women who love yaoi), but there are some folks who simply ignore facts and logic, so they can keep up their pointless rambling. Other Greg, you also forgot to mention he’s a hardcore transphobe as well.

  • DrakeScott

    All the silly, endless political bickering aside, @scallywag53 has probably come closest to answering the questions posed by @BJ McFrisky and @Dxley. Some people just seem to possess unusually-ironclad constitutions and senses of self worth, even at an early age. Fortunately for them, they’re just wired in such a way that self harm is unthinkable and impossible to imagine (where @Scallywag53’s aforementioned empathy comes into play). Unfortunately, this also leads to comments on this sensitive subject that (presumably unintentionally) come across as unfeeling, judgmental, or thoughtless. However, it’s vital to remember that most people – especially those with a still-developing, impulsive adolescent brain – are a lot more vulnerable to external trauma, the need for social acceptance, and despair. If you’re one of the lucky few who just doesn’t “get it,” be happy you were spared and kind to those who eren’t.

  • Polaro

    I know I have probably taken issue with a lot of people on Queerty in the past. I’m kind of a prick when it comes to haters hating other gay people. So, I then hate a bit on the haters…which isn’t the best way to make a point. All I have to say here is, if we can’t, every once in a while, tell each other something nice and supportive, then we have become what we despise – them – all the straight bullies and bashers. So, on that note, I’m glad we are all here today to chat and bicker a bit. Let’s just remember, we may differ on the details, but we all agree on the cause. I love you all and just hope we can stop the next kid or man or woman from falling into despondency to the point of trying to kill themselves. Don’t let the bastards win. Live to rub it in.

  • Polaro

    PS. love me some Wentworth. Woof.

  • asby

    it would of been nice if he would of came out when he was on the hottest show on TV…rather then now when most people are asking “who is he”

  • Lexi

    @Brian – One name. Matt Boomer. I know plenty of my friends don’t have a problem drooling over him, and they are very much aware that he’s a gay man.

    I had a similar experience as Wentworth. My first attempted suicide was when I was 15. I took the bottle of pills but nothing happened. Went to school the next day and threw up in English class and later when I got home. I never told a soul what I’d done. It’s only a cry for help if you want someone to stop you, I didn’t.

    I’m glad that he’s finally decided to speak out. It takes the time it takes, and no one should be judged on their process as long as they aren’t hurting anyone else.

  • Mykey

    This guy is so classy looking…

Comments are closed.