Follying around

Actors Who Experienced TRAGEDIES


Przemysław Mudlaff

22 August 2023

Many viewers look at actresses and actors through the prism of the characters they portray. Thus, their film roles paint an image of the artist in the viewers’ imagination. There are also individuals who primarily see actors as rich, famous, beautiful, and untouchable celebrities. These perspectives are, of course, narrow and limited. Movie stars are, after all, just like us. They share similar values and, like us, have to deal with various problems. In the following compilation, you will learn about terrifying tragedies that befell popular actors. Perhaps this information will become a source of inspiration for you. Effectively pursuing dreams despite experiencing tragedy is indeed a commendable action to emulate.

Jim Carrey

jim carrey catheriona white

Although Jim Carrey has been entertaining generations of viewers with his numerous comedic roles, his personal life is more like a drama – referring to film genres. Jim was born in Canada as the youngest child of Kathleen and Percy Carrey. The first few years of the future movie star’s life were quite happy. The situation changed dramatically when Jim’s father lost his job. The Carrey family fell into dire poverty. In an effort to support the family budget, Jim started working on a production line at a factory at the age of 14, which eventually led him to drop out of school. The Carreys got back on their feet in 1979. Achieving financial stability allowed Jim to focus on his passion, acting, and comedic performances. Moving to Los Angeles turned out to be a jackpot in this regard. The first dozen acting roles by Carrey, along with regular appearances on TV shows, made him recognizable in the industry. The turning point in Jim’s career came in 1994 with his role in the movie Ace Ventura: Pet Detective directed by Tom Shadyac. From that point on, he became one of the biggest stars in cinema. However, his initial successes coincided with the death of his father. The immense turmoil surrounding Jim and the loss of his parent triggered depression. Although he managed to overcome the illness, it returned with doubled strength in 2015. Once again, pharmacological treatment was necessary. Jim’s then-partner, Cathriona White, also played a crucial role in helping him through his problems. Cathriona, who battled depression herself, convinced the comedian to take up painting, which turned out to be quite an effective therapy. In September 2015, the couple broke up. Three days after their breakup, Cathriona was found dead. Her death was caused by an overdose of the depression medication that belonged to Jim. As if these troubles weren’t enough, White’s family accused Carrey of giving Cathriona the pills that caused her death, as well as infecting her with a venereal disease.

At the end of 2017, the actor overcame his depression. In February 2018, Jim Carrey was acquitted of the accusations made by Cathriona White’s family. It seems that the comedian’s life is finally back on track.

John Travolta

Jett Travolta

On July 12, 2020, in Houston, Texas, at the age of 57, after a two-year battle with breast cancer, John Travolta’s wife, Kelly Preston, passed away. Unfortunately, this isn’t the only tragedy in the famous actor’s life involving cancer. Cancer had previously claimed someone dear to Travolta before Kelly Preston. Long before meeting Kelly Preston, John had been in a relationship with Diana Hyland. Similar to Preston, Hyland was also diagnosed with breast cancer. The actress passed away in John Travolta’s arms in March 1977.

However, let’s focus on John and Kelly’s marriage. The couple met on the set of the comedy The Experts (1989), which means they spent 31 years together. However, it wasn’t always an easy time. Their marriage had to endure a terrible tragedy – the death of their son. According to later information provided by both John and Kelly, their son Jett suffered from autism, asthma, and was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease when he was just two years old. For a long time, the circumstances of Jett’s death remained a mystery, leading to accusations against the Travoltas that they didn’t seek medical treatment due to their affiliation with Scientology.

Miles Teller

miles teller

Watching films featuring Miles Teller, you have probably noticed the scars on his face. These are the result of a car accident that the actor experienced when he was 20 years old. He was a passenger in a car driven by a friend who lost control. The vehicle rolled over eight times, and Teller was thrown out through the windshield. He landed 40 feet away from the car. According to a paramedic who helped the future actor, 99% of similar accidents result in the death of those involved. Miles escaped with bruises, deep facial wounds, and small pieces of gravel still embedded under his skin. The star of the new “Top Gun” underwent a series of unpleasant laser treatments to reduce the scars. These “souvenirs” from the car accident often led directors to deny Teller leading roles. Interestingly, in many films he appeared in, there was a motif of a car accident.

Jack Nicholson

chinatown 1974

Jack Nicholson’s tragedy, which I describe below, has a slightly different dimension than those of the other actors and actresses mentioned in this compilation. However, it was an experience that surely would have shaken many people. What’s the story? Well, at the age of 37, Nicholson learned that the people he thought were his parents were not his biological parents. In fact, his “sister” was his biological mother. How is this possible?

In 1936, June Nicholson became pregnant. However, she did not want the child, as it would interfere with her dance career. Her mother, Ethel, stepped in and decided to raise June’s child as her own son, along with her husband. The truth about Nicholson’s biological parents was discovered by a journalist from “Time” magazine, who was preparing an article about the movie star. This journalist informed Jack about the shocking details of his family. Since both Ethel and June had passed away by that time, the only person who could confirm the story in 1974 was Jack’s “sister,” who was actually his aunt. Lorraine confirmed the revelations of the “Time” journalist, putting Jack in a state of shock. However, he didn’t allow the information to traumatize him. He accepted it with dignity and, in his style, said that it explained a few things from his past. Nicholson never intended to find out about his biological father.

Charlize Theron

Alcoholism is a serious problem not only for the person directly affected but also for their family and friends. Charlize Theron knows this well, as her father struggled with alcohol addiction. The Oscar winner for her role in Monster (2003) mentioned in an interview that her childhood was marked by constant fear. This fear stemmed from the fact that life with an alcoholic father was entirely unpredictable. There were days when things were normal and days when Charlize’s father decided to drink. Once, the future Hollywood star’s father came home completely drunk with a weapon in his hands. Fifteen-year-old Charlize and her mother barricaded themselves in a bedroom, fearing he might harm them. After he demanded the door be opened and was refused, he fired three shots at the door, narrowly missing everyone inside. The shots led Charlize’s mother to react, and in self-defense, she killed her attacker.

For many years, Charlize was embarrassed by this story. Conversations with people who had similar problems convinced her that she should speak out about this traumatic event and give due credit to her mother for her extraordinary courage.

Joaquin Phoenix

river and joaquin

Although Joaquin Phoenix started appearing in film and television productions fairly quickly, it was his brother River who was initially predicted to have the greater career. However, fate had a different plan for the older of the Phoenix siblings. On October 31, 1993, River overdosed on drugs. Despite the immediate intervention of the later Oscar winner for his titular role in Joker (2019), who called the emergency line in despair, River couldn’t be saved. Joaquin was devastated by his brother’s death. At 19 years old, he decided to withdraw from public and professional life for several months. The trauma of losing River led Joaquin into the clutches of addiction. He partied a lot, abused alcohol, and took drugs. In 2005, he checked into rehab, which ultimately helped him get his private life back on track.

Keanu Reeves

keanu alone

The premature death of River Phoenix affected many people. One of them was Keanu Reeves, who was a friend of the elder Phoenix. However, the loss of his friend isn’t the only tragedy that the famous actor had to endure. Reeves’ life wasn’t easy from the start. At the age of 3, his father abandoned the family. Keanu’s mother sought comfort in the arms of men from various parts of the USA, which meant that the young boy had to move with her repeatedly. This had a significant impact on Keanu’s education, making it difficult for him to adapt to constantly changing places and conditions. Eventually, Reeves dropped out of school and decided to become an actor. Thanks to a fortunate series of events, he got his first screen opportunities. He made the most of them and became one of the world’s most popular actors by the end of the millennium. However, professional success didn’t go hand in hand with personal happiness for Keanu. In 1999, the actor and his partner Jennifer Syme were expecting a child. Unfortunately, on December 24 of the same year, their daughter was stillborn. Keanu and Jennifer’s relationship didn’t survive this tragedy. They broke up, and 18 months later, Reeves learned that his former girlfriend had died in a car accident. Although the actor vowed to avoid serious relationships after that, in 2019 he appeared with Alexandra Grant at the LACMA Art+Film Gala. A month ago, there were even speculations in the media about whether the couple had secretly married. It seems that Keanu Reeves’ life has finally fallen into place. There’s probably no one in the world who wouldn’t be rooting for his happiness.

Przemysław Mudlaff

Przemysław Mudlaff

He appreciates the truth and sincerity of the intentions of its creators in cinema. He loves to be emotionally kicked and abused by the film, but also happy and amused. A hunter of film curiosities, references and connections. A fan of the works of PTA, von Trier, Kieślowski, Lantimos and Villeneuve. What he likes the most is talking about the cinema over a beer, and the beer has to be cold and thick, you know what.

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