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15 Celebrities Who Had Suicide Scares And Lived To Talk About It

Pete Davidson looks into the camera while wearing a hat.
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Mar. 23 2020, Updated 3:15 p.m. ET

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From the outside, being a celebrity can seem like the ultimate lifestyle. From the lavish Hollywood parties, exclusive restaurants and adoring fans, those in the spotlight seem like they have it all. However, there can be a dark side to fame that leads to constant pressure, and unwanted attention, causing severe anxiety and depression.

More: ‘Westworld’ Actress Evan Rachel Wood Attempted Suicide, Checked Herself Into Rehab

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Tragically, we have lost many celebrities who took their own life, from Kurt Cobain and Robin Williams to Anthony Bourdain. However, some famous names have had suicide scares, and have lived through the experience. Some have chosen to talk about these experiences in an effort to help others who may be going through a similar crisis.

More: Pete Davidson Had ‘Good Conversation’ With Dan Crenshaw After Suicidal Breakdown

Here are 15 celebrities who have had suicide scares.

For Help Please Contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

1. Pete Davidson

Pete Davidson looks into the camera while wearing a hat.
Source: Getty Images

After a very brief engagement to pop star Ariana Grande in 2018, Saturday Night Live cast member Pete Davidson, who has been open about his mental health issues, experienced harassment and online bullying because of the breakup. On the morning of Saturday, December 16th, 2018, Davidson posted an image of a note on his Instagram account that read: “I really don’t want to be on this earth anymore. I’m doing my best to stay here for you but I actually don’t know how much longer I can last. All I’ve ever tried to do was help people. Just remember I told you so.”  The post was later deleted and in the following hours the NYPD did a wellness check on the comedian, who also received an outpouring of support from fans and celebrities urging him to seek help. Grande rushed to NBC studios at Rockefeller Center in New York, however Davidson refused to see her. Head SNL producer Lorne Michaels pulled Davidson from appearing in the show’s sketches that night, but he made a brief appearance to introduce the musical guest, which many fans took as a message that he would be OK.

2. Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey poses on the red carpet.
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UFC fighter Ronda Rousey was the undefeated champion of her sport until she was beat in 2015 in an upset by rival Holy Holm. Sadly, the brutal takedown not only hurt the fighter physically, but caused great emotional distress as well. In 2016, Rousey did her first televised interview after the losing match on episode of Ellen. She told host Ellen DeGeneres that the defeat made her contemplate suicide. Directly after the fight she was worried the loss would completely derail her career she had spent so long building. She asked herself, “If I’m not this what am I?” She then tearfully told the studio audience, “I was literally sitting there and thinking about killing myself.” She went on to explain that the love and promise of having a family with her then boyfriend (now husband), fellow UFC fighter Travis Browne kept her alive.

3. Owen Wilson

Owen Wilson smiles on the red carpet.
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In 2007 actor Owen Wilson was at the top of his career, having recently appeared in a plethora of now classic films.  That is why it was extra shocking when in August of that year, the Wedding Crashers star was found by a family member in his Santa Monica, California home bloody and confused. Wilson had taken a handful of sleeping pills and also attempted to slit his wrists. He was rushed to the hospital where he underwent a detox to get the pills out of his system and surgery to repair his cut wrists. Friends and family came to the hospital to give their love and support, including brother Luke Wilson and actor Samuel L. Jackson.  The attempt to take his own life happened after he had recently split with girlfriend Kate Hudson and allegedly gotten in an argument with a close friend. Since then Wilson has sought treatment for his battle with depression.

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4. Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore poses on the red carpet.
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Drew Barrymore became known to millions of movie fans at a very young age in the hit Stephen Spielberg film E.T. That early childhood stardom however came with a price. Barrymore’s mother wanted to live the Hollywood lifestyle and took her young daughter to clubs and parties. Disturbingly by the age of 10 Barrymore had smoked marijuana and by 12 she was using cocaine, and entering rehab by age 13. In her 1990 autobiography Little Girl Lost she told readers that she attempted suicide at the age of 14 by slashing her wrists. Looking back on the incident Barrymore considers the suicide attempt more of an attempt at getting sympathy then actually wanting to die. A year later the actress won legal emancipation from her mother at the age of 15, turning her career and life around to become one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

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5. Vanilla Ice

Vanilla Ice smiles for cameras.
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Robert Van Winkle better known as rapper Vanilla Ice became a household name in 1990 with the release of his Billboard chart topping album To The Extreme which went on to sell 15 million copies worldwide. However, what was then the fastest selling hip-hop album of all time also had one of the quickest falls of all time. Musical tastes can change quickly and with the rise of grunge music and alternative rock dominating the airwaves in the early '90s, songs like Vanilla Ice’s hit Ice Ice Baby went out of style. Vanilla Ice released his follow up album, Mind Blowin in 1994 which was a creative and commercial failure. He later stated that this led to depression and that same year he tried to purposely overdose on heroin, even writing a suicide note. After friends found him, he got a tattoo of a leaf to symbolize that he had “turned over a new leaf” and has been sober ever since. He says creating music is now his therapy to deal with the stress of fame.

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6. Johnny Cash

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Country music legend Johnny Cash was known for his folksy, sometimes whimsical songs that were as American as apple pie. However, Cash went through a dark period of drug use and depression that culminated in 1967 with a suicide attempt. In the fall of that year, the Folsom Prison Blues singer took a lot of drugs before wandering deep into the Nickajack Cave, located in a remote part of Marion County, Tennessee. Depressed, Cash lay down in the cave for several hours intending to take his own life. However, he would later claim to have a religious awakening that stopped him, when a light breeze he called “the hand of God”  led him out of the cave. His future wife June Carter Cash moved in with him to help him kick his drug habit and recover. He got clean and sober for several years, before having a relapse and then getting sober for good in the early 1970s. Cash passed away from complications of diabetes in 2003 at the age of 71.

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7. Artie Lange

Comedian Artie Lange performs on stage.
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Comedian Artie Lange, the onetime Howard Stern sidekick, has had a long history of substance abuse and legal problems. In his book Crash and Burn the comedian recounts some of the darkest points in his life, including his 2010 suicide attempt. In his Manhattan apartment one night, Lange chugged on a bottle of bleach and stabbed himself in the stomach with a knife several times before slitting his wrists. His mother discovered him bleeding and rushed him to the hospital to save his life. Over the next year Lange went to several rehab and detox facilities to attempt to get clean from his serious heroin addiction. He also went to psychiatric centers before getting better for a time and then relapsing again.

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8. Sinéad O’Connor

Singer Sinéad OConnor performs on stage.
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Irish singer Sinéad O'Connor had a very public suicide attempt in 2012. Having previously attempted suicide in 1999, O’Connor reached out to fans via Twitter, posting a literal cry for help in a series of tweets, saying, “I realize I will be in trouble 4 doing this but ... Ireland is a VERY hard place to find help in. So having tried other ways 1st im asking …   does any 1 know a psychiatrist in Dublin or Wicklow who could urgently see me today please? I’m really un-well ... and in danger   … and I desperately need to get back on meds today. am in serious danger.” During this time O’Connor was having an on-again, off-again relationship with her husband and later told newspapers that she had tried to overdose with pills. Nine hours after she tweeted those disturbing messages, she tweeted again to reassure her concerned fans that she felt better and was back on her medication.

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9. Elton John

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Elton John is one of the biggest pop stars to ever live. With that fame and notoriety can come a lot of pressure. The singer contemplated suicide in 1969 while engaged to be married to girlfriend Linda Woodrow. Not sure if he should follow through with the marriage, John stuck his head in an oven and turned on the gas. His friend and song writing partner Bernie Taupin found him laying with his head on a pillow on the oven door and began laughing at him. The Rocket Man singer’s parents later arrived and took them home with him when they heard about the attempt. John had a second suicide attempt in 1975 when he swallowed 60 Valium pills. His hit song Someone Saved My Life Tonight is about his suicide attempts and recovery.

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10. Scott Stapp

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Former Creed singer Scott Stapp has had a lot of ups and downs since his band won a Grammy Award for their hit single “With Arms Wide Open” in 2001. In 2003 Stapp attempted suicide by drinking an entire bottle of Jack Daniels and putting two guns to his head. He later said that he thought everyone in Creed hated him, so in order to increase album sales he would “become a Kurt Cobain martyr type.” However, after looking at pictures of his son, he couldn’t follow through with it and fired off a few rounds of ammunition into his house. Causing damage to the walls snapped him out of it and he immediately went to the garage to get putty to start fixing the holes. In a second incident that he characterized as a suicide attempt in 2006, Stapp jumped off the balcony of a hotel in Miami, Florida where he said he laid for two hours before rapper T.I. found him and saved his life. Stapp changed the story in 2018 that the balcony incident was not a suicide attempt but merely an accident and luckily T.I was there to help.

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11. War Machine

Former UFC fighter War Machine poses for a mugshot.
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In 2014 MMA fighter Jonathan Koppenhaver, better known as War Machine attacked and savagely beat his ex-girlfriend, adult film actress Christy Mack. Mack claims that Koppenhaver showed up at her home and without speaking attacked her friend Corey Thomas before the professional fighter allegedly turned on Mack, viciously hitting her face. After being arrested, and awaiting trial in a Las Vegas jail cell, in October of 2014 Koppenhaver attempted suicide by tying a bedsheet around his neck, but was stopped by a prison corrections officer who found him lying in his cell with his face turning purple.  In 2017 Koppenhaver was convicted of charges including kidnapping and attempted murder and sentenced to life in prison.

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12. Gary Coleman

Gary Coleman smiles for a photo.
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Gary Coleman, best known for his role in the hit 1980’s sitcom, Different Strokes attempted suicide several times throughout his life. From 2005 until 2010 police were called to his Utah home upwards of 20 times. Having filed for bankruptcy in 1999, Coleman later took a job as a security guard to make money while still appearing in reality TV shows from time to time. Coleman had earlier attempted suicide by taking sleeping pills in 1993. Sadly, Coleman passed away at the age of 42 due to a brain hemorrhage in 2010. While not officially confirmed, some speculate that his death may have also been the result of suicide.

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13. Jack Osbourne

Jack Osbourne looks at the camera.
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Jack Osbourne, reality TV star and son of heavy metal icon Ozzy Osbourne, revealed in his 2006 autobiography 21 Years Gone that he had attempted suicide at age 17. Osbourne recounted how he was at a point in his life that he had become so depressed while addicted to alcohol and painkillers that being rejected by a lover put him over the edge. After calling his then girlfriend, only to have her ex-boyfriend answer the phone, Osborne cut his hands up in a New York City hotel room. He then chugged a bottle of absinthe and took handfuls of sleeping pills and prescription opiates, climbing into bed and “waiting to die.” In the morning he immediately called his therapist. He later went to rehab for his addictions and has not had a drink of alcohol since.

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14. Paris Jackson

Paris Jackson looks into the distance.
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In 2013, a then 15-year-old Paris Jackson had been uploading disturbing pictures to a Tumblr account that featured suicidal imagery of other teenagers, including a girl putting a gun in her mouth. Jackson attempted suicide on June 5th of that year — she cut her arm with a kitchen knife, leaving a large, bleeding wound and swallowed twenty Motrin, according to a 911 call. She was rushed to the hospital in Los Angeles where she recovered. After the incident Jackson spent the summer with her biological mother, Debbie Rowe for love and support and later spent three months in a treatment center.

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15. Alexa Ray Joel

Alexa Ray Joel sings on stage as her father Billy Joel plays the piano.
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Singer and daughter of Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley, Alexa Ray Joel, attempted suicide in 2009. After breaking up with boyfriend and fellow musician, Jimmy Riot, Joel took a handful of sleeping pills. She later regretted the attempt and was able to call an ambulance that took her from her New York apartment to the hospital. She was released after a few hours and later said that she is not depressed and is “over the incident.” For Help Please Contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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