Prison Break star Wentworth Miller has hit out at a meme mocking him for his weight gain after leaving his most iconic role.
The actor was a huge name while starring in Prison Break, but was forced to deny gossip about his sexuality at the time. He spent several years away from the spotlight after Prison Break ended in 2009 struggling with depression, before coming out as gay in 2013, admitting he “chose to lie” previously for the sake of his career.
In recent years, Miller has made an acting comeback, appearing on CW shows, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow, and signing up to a Prison Break revival miniseries.
But the star was confronted with his past this week when Facebook page ‘The Lad Bible’ posted a meme, with a before-and-after shots of him, comparing a Prison Break still to a pap photo snapped during his break from acting in 2010.
Noting his abs and substantial weight gain, the page joked: “When you break out of prison and find out about McDonald’s monopoly…”
In response to the body-shaming meme, Miller went on social media and wrote a powerful post about his struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts.
“Today I found myself the subject of an Internet meme. Not for the first time. This one, however, stands out from the rest.
“In 2010, semi-retired from acting, I was keeping a low-profile for a number of reasons.
“First and foremost, I was suicidal. This is a subject I’ve since written about, spoken about, shared about. But at the time I suffered in silence. As so many do. The extent of my struggle known to very, very few. Ashamed and in pain, I considered myself damaged goods. And the voices in my head urged me down the path to self-destruction. Not for the first time.
“I’ve struggled with depression since childhood. It’s a battle that’s cost me time, opportunities, relationships, and a thousand sleepless nights.
“In 2010, at the lowest point in my adult life, I was looking everywhere for relief/comfort/distraction. And I turned to food. It could have been anything. Drugs. Alcohol. Sex. But eating became the one thing I could look forward to. Count on to get me through. There were stretches when the highlight of my week was a favorite meal and a new episode of TOP CHEF. Sometimes that was enough. Had to be.
“And I put on weight. Big f–king deal.
“One day, out for a hike in Los Angeles with a friend, we crossed paths with a film crew shooting a reality show. Unbeknownst to me, paparazzi were circling. They took my picture, and the photos were published alongside images of me from another time in my career. “Hunk To Chunk.” “Fit To Flab.” Etc.
“My mother has one of those “friends” who’s always the first to bring you bad news. They clipped one of these articles from a popular national magazine and mailed it to her. She called me, concerned.
“In 2010, fighting for my mental health, it was the last thing I needed.
“Long story short, I survived.
“So do those pictures. I’m glad.
“Now, when I see that image of me in my red t-shirt, a rare smile on my face, I am reminded of my struggle. My endurance and my perseverance in the face of all kinds of demons. Some within. Some without. Like a dandelion up through the pavement, I persist.
“Anyway. Still. Despite.
“The first time I saw this meme pop up in my social media feed, I have to admit, it hurt to breathe. But as with everything in life, I get to assign meaning. And the meaning I assign to this/my image is Strength. Healing. Forgiveness.
“Of myself and others.
“If you or someone you know is struggling, help is available. Reach out. Text. Send an email. Pick up the phone. Someone cares. They’re waiting to hear from you. Much love. – W.M.
The creator of the meme, Lad Bible, later wrote a Facebook post apologizing to Miller and reminding us all that “mental health is no joke or laughing matter.”