Audra McDonald revealed in a recent interview she had a suicide attempt in college. The actress, who has been successful on and off the stage, won her record sixth Tony Award in June. Despite her accomplishments, life wasn’t always easy for McDonald.
McDonald revealed her battle with depression when she sat down for an interview for ABC’s Popcorn with Peter Travers. She didn’t go into detail about what caused her to attempt suicide, but McDonald did reveal, “When I was [in college] at Julliard, I had a suicide attempt. I tried to slit my wrist.”
At that point, the actress understood she needed help with her depression, noting, “When someone is suicidal, one of the first things you have to do is to protect them from themselves.”
McDonald explained in the interview that Julliard was a big help in getting her to cope with her depression, saying, ” They had a mental health facilitator there, a therapist there and they checked me into a mental health hospital where I was for a month and got me the help I needed.”
With the help of antidepressants, McDonald got better and was welcomed back at Julliard. The school encouraged her to accept a role in a national tour of “The Secret Garden” before she finished her schooling.
Audra McDonald recalled of the months after her suicide attempt, “Julliard was like… ‘We think that that musical theater thing is more for you anyway. That seems to be where you’re the happiest.’ I went out and did ‘Secret Garden’ and then I came back and finished Julliard.”
When Audra McDonald returned from her tour in “The Secret Garden” and finished school, she was cast for a role in “Carousel” and her success followed. McDonald is now married to Broadway actor and is mother to a teen daughter, notes Us Weekly. June’s Tony Award was for Best Leading Actress in a Musical Category for her portrayal as Billie Holiday in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.”
Broadway isn’t her only stage either, as McDonald is also known for her role on the ABC series Private Practice and has credits in movie adaptations of Annie, A Raisin In The Sun, and Wit. McDonald has won more Tony Awards than any other woman, plus earned two Grammys for performances.
Audra McDonald’s story of a suicide attempt isn’t unique, as many actors and actresses have admitted to battles with depression and suicidal thoughts.
[Image by Ralph Daily]