What Drove Sawyer Sweeten To Suicide? A Source Reveals Child Star's Struggle After 'Raymond'

Shelley Hazen

Following the tragic suicide of Everybody Loves Raymond star Sawyer Sweeten, everyone in his life - and the fans who watched him grow up - are wondering what happened.

Sadly, Sweeten is just one of a long line of child stars who has committed suicide. Radar Online has spoken with one source who believes Sawyer may have succumbed to the same torments that have haunted other young Hollywood actors.

Sweeten, his brother Sullivan and sister Madylin played the Barone children for nearly a decade; the boys were only 10 when they left the show and the roles followed them for the rest of their childhoods. All three siblings had a hard time finding work.

The source said Sawyer took his struggles much hard than the others.

"Sawyer was always a bit off, but in a very harmless way it seemed. He was a shy, reserved and quiet young man."
"[There was] no depression, no nothing. He was a good kid. Teenage stuff, but no depression, no signs or anything. (He was "just a great, very quiet, very shy kid."

And even more fight personal demons in the public eye -- Lindsay Lohan, Mischa Barton, Jodie Sweetin.

With Sweeten's death, we have to ask -- what's going on here? One psychologist said Sawyer likely endured the kinds of struggles ordinary people will never have to face: "the height of fame to the depth of living without it."

Fame during childhood, like the kind Sweeten experienced, doesn't have the best effect on a young person's development. Though it may seem that being a child star comes with certain freedoms, they're often constrained by work schedules people don't usually face until adulthood.

In that rather unusual environment, "developmental skill-building" just doesn't happen and child stars never learn how to cope with natural struggles like rejection, loss or learn to develop their identities, said clinical psychologist John Mayer. Often they grow up into "ill-equipped, often dysfunctional adults."

"Many of these kids become adults with 'holes' in their development, and, at worst, they are emotional and social disasters."

[Photo Courtesy Kevin Winter/Getty Images]