Supernatural‘s Jared Padalecki has been suffering from depression. That’s something that most people know by now. In fact, Mr. Padalecki’s struggle with depression has been so constant and so troubling that Jared cancelled several appearances throughout the summer, as Mr. Padalecki took a much needed break from the stresses of his career. At the time of Padalecki’s most recent breakdown, Jared took to Twitter to ask fans for their love and support. They responded to Mr. Padalecki then and now.
Fans didn’t just respond through Padalecki’s Twitter post. Proving that Supernatural fans are family, the Supernatural panel at San Diego Comic Con was interrupted to present Jared Padalecki with a tremendous gift, bringing tears to everyone in the room, including Padalecki himself.
The moment was inspired by Padalecki’s own depression campaign and his trademark “Always Keep Fighting” slogan. In a sudden moment, the Supernatural panel was brought to a close, as 7,000 fans held up candles in honor of Padalecki’s struggle.
“At first I didn’t know what it is. I thought people were holding up their iPhones or something,” Jared said. “And then someone handed me the note explaining it and I found out what was really going on. It took everything in my power not to cry.”
The note Jared received incorporated the “Always Keep Fighting” slogan, as it explained the significance of the candles.
“Everyone is given a candle that burns just for them. When your flame flickers and you fear it will go out, know not seven the strongest wind lasts forever; and there are other lights to guide you even in the Darkness…And when your candle burns bright, you can ignite the hearts of others and hope will spread like wildfire…Always Keep Fighting, and you’ll never fight alone.”
Padalecki was so touched by the candle sharing moment that he reached out to those fans responsible for organizing the event to let each of them know how meaningful Mr. Padalecki found their gift.
“I just want to say thank you, so much,” Padalecki said to the fans who organized the candlelit moment. “It’s stuff that I have dealt with and I’m still dealing with so it means so much to me. I hope the fans feel support from me the way I feel support from them. I love them all very much. I really do. Fight for each other. Love each other. Always keep fighting.”
“I’m so humbled,” Jared added, wiping away a tear. “With the Always Keep Fighting campaign, it feels a lot like it’s grown into something bigger than I ever could have imagined. And it’s the same with the show, and this character and guys I’ve been working with for 11 years now. It’s so cool and so, so humbling. I feel like I’m the old guy here! I’ve been here for 11 years doing Comic-Con but it’s such a cool experience. I mean, this is what I dreamed of as a kid. I am so, so humbled.”
Padalecki wasn’t the only one to be humbled by the event. Mr. Padalecki’s on-screen brother, Jensen Ackles, also responded, making the awe he felt apparent in his own words.
“I thought there was like a rock band about to come out that I didn’t know about,” Supernatural ‘s Ackles told E! News. “I was like, ‘What is going on? What is happening right now?’ But it’s just this continuing thing. I’m astonished at the support that these fans give Jared and give us on the show, day in and day out. And it just seems to keep growing, on both sides. Jared and I talk about it, Misha [Collins] and I talk about it, we all talk about this relationship that has formed between the fans and us”
“It’s taken off over the past several years and it truly shows….Something that we have that other shows don’t have is a tangible relationship with our fans,” Jensen Ackles continued. “We see them on a regular basis, we do these Supernatural conventions, we hug them, we smile with them, we cry with them. And it’s genuine! We go there with true intent to listen to them and be there with and for them. It’s truly a special thing.”
As Supernatural‘s Bobby Singer would no doubt remind us at this moment, “Family don’t end with blood.”
[Feature image: Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles courtesy of Kevin Winter/Getty Images]