Note: this post discusses suicide and sexual harassment.
On a new episode of Red Table Talk, Constance Wu opened up about her attempted suicide for the first time.
Back in 2019, the actor was frustrated when Fresh Off the Boat – the show she starred in – was renewed for a sixth season. The actor tweeted, “So upset right now that I’m literally crying. Ugh. Fuck.”
Constance faced intense backlash for the tweets. A former colleague messaged her, writing, “Nothing you could ever do would make up for your atrocious behavior and disgusting ingratitude. You sullied the one shining beacon of hope for Asian Americans. You’ve become a blight on the Asian American community.”
“I read these DMs from an Asian actress, somebody who should have been my ally,” Constance said. “And I felt like nothing I could ever do would be enough. I felt like the only thing that would prove to her that I felt as bad as she thought I deserved to feel would be if I died.”
“I felt like even that might not be enough because I felt like the world was saying, ‘You will never suffer as much as you deserve to suffer. You deserve to pay for this and be punished for this.'”
Constance shared that she ended up on the railing of the fifth-story balcony of her apartment, looking down at the streets of NYC. “A friend who had come to check on me pulled me over from climbing over the ledge and dragged me into the elevator and took me into a cab and took me to a psychiatric emergency room.”
After the incident, Constance spoke to a psychiatrist and psychologist in therapy daily. “I needed it. I was unsafe at that point,” she said. “I was in a mental place of just beating myself up and so much shame. Feeling like I didn’t deserve to live, feeling like the world hated me, feeling like I’d ruined everything for everyone. And maybe I did for some people, but people make mistakes, right?”
The 40-year-old recalled how she was treated by the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment just months after her attempted suicide. The organization wanted her to attend a gala where they would celebrate Fresh Off the Boat, but she declined because she didn’t want to distract from the other actors and wasn’t ready to be mocked for her tweets. CAPE insisted there would only be “warm energy” and “positive vibes,” so she agreed to go.
“They sat me in the front row and had all these cameras on me, and within 10 minutes, the host of the show made a crack at me. And I was sitting there alone, trying not to cry in a public setting. And the whole audience was like, ‘Ohh, shit.’ They had promised they wouldn’t mock me, and they did it right off the bat. It almost felt like they were setting me up for it. It truly felt like a betrayal from the Asian American community,” she said as she wiped away tears.
You can watch the full episode of Red Table Talk here.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline is 1-888-950-6264 (NAMI) and provides information and referral services; GoodTherapy.org is an association of mental health professionals from more than 25 countries who support efforts to reduce harm in therapy.