“I’m not a victim, I’m a survivor.”
Remember adorably precocious child star Jonathan Lipnicki, who won America’s hearts in films like Jerry Maguire and Stuart Little?
Now 26, the hunky actor is opening up for the first time about what he calls a “lifelong battle with anxiety and depression.”
Lipnicki took to Instagram last week to reveal that his anxiety issues stemmed from the fact that he had been bullied throughout his childhood, following his early success in Hollywood.
Later, in a second post, he continued, “I’m here to help others by sharing my experience. I’m not a victim, I’m a survivor and kids will hopefully see that they can be too.”
“I felt like I didn’t know how my life was going to end up,” Lipnicki tells TooFab in an exclusive follow-up interview. “It was the lowest point of my life.”
Lipnicki, who has been in treatment for his anxiety for many years, says he even suffered from excema on his hands from constantly rubbing them together due to his nerves.
“I didn’t go a day without going home and being upset,” he says. “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.”
Lipnicki, who works steadily as an actor in independent films, can be seen later this month in 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.’”