Reacher star Alan Ritchson reveals he attempted suicide – but a vision of his sons convinced him to continue living: ‘They calmly asked me not to do it’

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Reacher star Alan Ritchson has described his 2019 suicide attempt and how a vision of his sons convinced him to continue living. 

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter Ritchson, 41, revealed he had become incredibly depressed and was forced to finish editing his directorial debut, Dark Web: Cicada 3301, from bed.

Ritchson revealed he hung himself in his attic but, in what the actor believes was divine intervention, was presented with a vision of his young sons as adults that ultimately compelled him to continue living. 

‘I hung myself. It all happened so fast, and I was dangling there,’ he said.

In a vision, his sons, now aged 11, 10, and 8, appeared to him as adults in their mid-30s, just a few years younger than he was then. 

Reacher star Alan Ritchson has described his 2019 suicide attempt and how a vision of his sons convinced him to continue living; pictured December 2023 

‘They calmly asked me not to do it, and told me that they wanted me to be here, alive and part of their lives,’ he explained. 

He said he was then able to pull himself up off the rafters before blacking out.

The suicide attempt came after the dissolution of a film fund he had been building with a business partner. She threatened to falsely accuse him of sexual assault in the press if he did not go to her hotel room. 

‘She gave me an ultimatum to come to her room and said that if I didn’t, she would destroy the business and she would destroy me by calling TMZ  to claim I sexually assaulted her,’ he recalled. 

‘It was really disappointing and became a perfect storm,’ Ritchson, who was working 20 hours a day on top of launching their business, recalled. 

Ritchson obtained legal representation, but ultimately she never followed through on her threats and their business ended. 

The experience ‘really broke me in that moment, and it took me a while to recover. I was super depressed and didn’t know how to navigate that,’ he recalled.

After the suicide attempt, he sought help from a doctor who diagnosed him with bipolar disorder.  

‘I was diagnosed as bipolar right after. Deep down, I was comforted to know, “OK, there’s a name for this.”‘

A friend then suggested he try MDMA therapy with his wife Catherine. 

Ritchson claimed that he was sexually assaulted while he worked in the modeling industry; pictured in 2022

Ritchson claimed that he was sexually assaulted while he worked in the modeling industry; pictured in 2022

‘I had never done drugs but I was truly, like, “Well, I might kill myself tomorrow, what do I have to lose?” So, I did it. 

‘I swear to God, the biggest light bulb went off, and it rewired my brain in the best way. MDMA is a proven therapy to treat PTSD in veterans, and it’s something that can work in cognitive therapy settings.’

The therapy session made him reflect on his existential journey and conclude that his purpose is ‘to make the world a better place and serve others.’ 

Ritchson’s epiphany prompted him to seek out more fulfilling opportunities in his career, ultimately leading him to the TV series Reacher, adapted from the popular Jack Reacher novels penned by British author Jim Grant, writing under the pseudonym Lee Child.

During his interview, Ritchson also claimed he had been sexually assaulted while working in the modeling industry.

The actor said the incident happened while he was ‘one of the highest paid models at the agency’ and offered a gig with a ‘very famous photographer’.

The 41-year-old actor said the incident happened while he was 'one of the highest paid models at the agency' in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter; pictured at the Versace Atelier show 2014

The 41-year-old actor said the incident happened while he was ‘one of the highest paid models at the agency’ in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter; pictured at the Versace Atelier show 2014

‘I was sent into a hotel room to do nudes with the promise that if I did the shoot, he would offer me a very lucrative campaign for a magazine and a clothing line,’ he explained. ‘I was sexually assaulted by this guy.’

The North Dakota native said he immediately left the photo shoot, drove to his agency’s office, and told them to never call him again.

‘I quit the industry and it was the last photo shoot I’ve ever had. Those pictures were never seen or published,’ he claimed. ‘That was it. I swore it off and thank God acting found me at the exact same time so I was able to make a switch to a new career, but it left some scars.’ 

Ritchson did not name the photographer.  

‘Let’s be honest, it’s like legalized sex trafficking,’ he said of modeling. ‘The industry is not regulated, and it’s a widely known secret that if you’re hired on a job, you’re basically being passed off to a photographer to be trafficked.’

'I was sent into a hotel room to do nudes with the promise that if I did the shoot, he would offer me a very lucrative campaign for a magazine and a clothing line,' he explained. 'I was sexually assaulted by this guy'; Versace show 2014

‘I was sent into a hotel room to do nudes with the promise that if I did the shoot, he would offer me a very lucrative campaign for a magazine and a clothing line,’ he explained. ‘I was sexually assaulted by this guy’; Versace show 2014

He said that there were numerous occasions when he found himself in these situations where sexual abuse seemed to be the objective, and the paycheck he desperately needed to survive served as the incentive. 

‘You’re always dancing around this very terrible line of, “How do I keep the job and not completely offend this photographer or this agent or whoever set this thing up, and how do I not get raped?”‘

Ritchson said he deeply empathizes with women who face power struggles and predatory behavior in the workplace. 

‘If I really had to, I could get myself out of whatever room I was in through a physical altercation. Most women don’t have that option. Imagine how terrifying it must be.’

The action star did mention that his modeling work for the department store JCPenney held a different experience. 

The North Dakota native said he immediately left the photo shoot, drove to his agency's office, and told them to never call him again; pictured at Maxim Hot 100 Party in 2010

The North Dakota native said he immediately left the photo shoot, drove to his agency’s office, and told them to never call him again; pictured at Maxim Hot 100 Party in 2010

'I swore it off and thank God acting found me at the exact same time so I was able to make a switch to a new career, but it left some scars' pictured in 2009

‘I swore it off and thank God acting found me at the exact same time so I was able to make a switch to a new career, but it left some scars’ pictured in 2009

‘Nobody was trying to get you naked and oiled up in the back of a hotel room so they could sexually assault you or threaten you that if you didn’t do it, you wouldn’t get a campaign.’

He also weighed in on a 2018 New York Times report of sexual misconduct allegations against two famous fashion photographers. 

‘Some of the stories [from the expose] were just like mine. I was just starting to build a platform and get my voice in the business, and I wondered, “Should I say something?” Because all of the stories that those models were telling were my own. It’s all true.’

Although Ritchson moved on from modeling after briefly exploring an American Idol audition in 2004 and securing a few small acting roles shortly thereafter, he still found himself confronting sexual harassment, including the business partner who threatened to ruin him if he refused to engage in a sexual relationship with her. 

Let¿s be honest, it¿s like legalized sex trafficking,' he said of modeling

Let’s be honest, it’s like legalized sex trafficking,’ he said of modeling

His producing partner threatened to ruin him if he refused to engage in a sexual relationship with her; pictured in Prime's Reacher

His producing partner threatened to ruin him if he refused to engage in a sexual relationship with her; pictured in Prime’s Reacher

Years later, while married with children, Ritchson reached a breaking point and attempted to take his own life

Years later, while married with children, Ritchson reached a breaking point and attempted to take his own life

He said he was then able to pull himself up off the rafters before blacking out

He said he was then able to pull himself up off the rafters before blacking out

Reacher debuted as a massive success in February 2022, immediately topping Amazon Prime Video’s streaming charts, marking a first for the platform. 

It quickly became one of the most-watched series debuts ever, accumulating 1.84 billion minutes of watch time in its first week. Within days, it was renewed for a second season. 

‘What got me ready for Reacher was all the losses that I took early on,’ Ritchson said.

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