So Glad They Made It: 15 Very Famous Celebrities Who Attempted Suicide
With Mental Health Month right around the corner, these celebrities who attempted suicide discuss why they decided to end their lives — and how they survived.
After eight Grammy nominations and a successful run on Broadway, American Idol star Fantasia Barrino attempted to take her life in 2010 by overdosing on Tylenol after she broke up with her boyfriend. Fantasia said,
“I think I was just overloaded with everything, with carrying six years of so much. I always take a licking and keep on ticking…it just became heavy for me to the point that I just wanted to be away from the noise.
There’s so much that people don’t understand. They just see the glitz and the glamour, and they feel like life is so perfect, but we’re human and we go through things.”
Sammy Davis, Jr.
Sammy Davis attempted suicide when he had to end his relationship with actress Kim Novak after racist mobsters threatened his life.
His friend recalls, “Sammy was putting a gun to his head. I jumped on top of him and pinned his arms as I wrestled the gun out of his hand. It was loaded. I twisted his arm and the gun fell to the floor.”
Sammy later wed dancer Loray White in a marriage of convenience. When he got drunk at the ceremony he wailed, “Why can’t I be with the woman I love?”
Elton John says his song, Someone Saved My Life Tonight is about the night he tried to take his life.
The night before his wedding, Elton John attempted suicide by sleeping by an open gas oven. Elton later says he knew he shouldn’t get married but didn’t know how to get out of it. Luckily for Elton, a friend found him, Elton found the courage to end the marriage and later came out of the closet.
The Princess of Wales once tried to commit suicide by throwing herself down a flight of stairs because she was so distressed about the way her husband Prince Charles was treating her. The princess confessed to her biographer Andrew Morton:
“My husband made me feel so inadequate in every possible way. Every time I tried to come up for air, he pushed me back down again.
I threw myself down the stairs bearing in mind I was carrying a child. Queen [Elizabeth] comes out, absolutely horrified, shaking she’s so frightened … and Charles went out riding.”
Jack Osbourne’s addiction led him to a suicide attempt. Jack confessed on MTV News:
“I tried… I took a bottle of pills. I’d been in Europe and I had a lot of absinthe and I was just drinking and drinking, trying to, you know, just shut my body down.
I’d run out of OxyContin, and life just got super stressful for me, and I just sat in a hotel room, [thinking,] ‘I want it to end, I want it to end.'”
Jack Osbourne got sober in 2003.
In 1996, a fight with his then-girlfriend Kim drove Eminem to attempt suicide by overdosing on Tylenol. Eminem survived the attempt and married Kim a few years later.
In 1979, a hotel maid found Donna Summer on the ledge of her open hotel window. In 2003, she confessed,
“I wasn’t getting a feel. I was jumping over. I was attempting to go. I didn’t plan it. I just decided, I’m out of here.”
But when a maid found her, Donna said she reconsidered:
“Then I sought help. I got help. I realized that I had a serious problem with depression, and I went to a doctor and he gave me some medication.”
When Vanilla Ice’s rap comeback failed in 1994, he tried to commit suicide by purposefully overdosing on heroin in 1994. When he survived, he not only cleaned up his act but changed his musical sound and had some success as a rock and reality show star.
Richard Pryor has talked about his 1980 suicide attempt during his stand up. Years after he recovered from the burns he suffered after pouring rum on his body and lighting himself on fire, he joked:
“You know what I noticed? When you run down the street on fire, people will move out of your way.”
Mike Tyson says Don King drove him to attempt suicide when the promoter’s manipulation led him to depression, drug use and the urge to take his own life as he struggled to get clean.
Halle Berry told People magazine that she attempted suicide after her marriage to David Justice ended. Halle said, “I was sitting in my car, and I knew the gas was coming when I had an image of my mother finding me.”
Halle says the image of her mother was what saved her: “She sacrificed so much for her children, and to end my life would be an incredibly selfish thing to do. It was all about a relationship. My sense of worth was so low. I promised myself I would never be a coward again.”
Drew Barrymore’s troubled childhood of drinking, partying and drug abuse eventually led to a suicide attempt. At only 14, Drew Barrymore cut her wrists with a kitchen knife.
Drew went to rehab after, emancipated herself from her parents and continued her acting career.
Owen Wilson may play a laid-back happy-go-lucky guy in front of the camera, but the actor has a dark history of struggling with depression. That struggle became public in 2007 when Owen was found bloodied and dazed after trying to commit suicide by overdosing on pills and slitting his wrists.
Tina Turner’s life with Ike Turner is infamous. And in 1968, Tina attempted suicide by swallowing 50 Valiums before a show after a fight with her manager and husband.