The ex-child star shared an emotional message about how he suffered bullying at school because of his fame.
Jonathan Lipnicki has opened up about the depression he suffered and the bullying he was on the receiving end of after he found fame as a child star in Jerry Maguire nearly two decades ago.
Tom Cruise’s 1996 movie was a worldwide hit, and it catapulted Lipnicki, then just six years old, to fame as the adorable son of Renee Zellweger’s character. Now 26 years old, he took to his Instagram account to reveal that he suffered years of ridicule and taunting from his schoolmates after the initial storm of attention subsided.
Jonathan Lipnicki pictured in 2014
“As a kid/teen I was made fun of relentlessly by some people who are now even my friends on FB,” he wrote in the post earlier this week. “I was told I was a has-been and would never book a job again.”
Lipnicki scored a handful of other roles in films like Stuart Little, The Little Vampire and a voice role in Doctor Dolittle off the back of his success in Jerry Maguire. However, as he went into middle and high school, roles dried up and he was teased by his classmates. While his career has picked up again in the last two years, with a number of roles in smaller movies, the experience has stayed with him.
“I was made to feel like garbage every day of middle school to the point where I had a panic attack every night before school, because I wondered how I would get through the day,” Lipnicki continued. “It was humiliating.”
In the days after he shared the post on Monday (March 13th), he revealed in a follow-up message that he has been deluged with requests for interviews from media outlets looking for more insight into the issue of child stardom, and how it affects individuals once the fame has died down.
Lipnicki said that he never normally discusses his “lifelong battle with anxiety and depression,” but that he is “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.”
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