The lifestyles of the rich and the famous are not always bright shiny lights and freebies. Yes, it is probably really great to be a celebrity. What with the adoring fans, the awesome parties, and the ability to share your talent with others (providing that you are not a Kardashian.) Yet, there is a darker side to the celeb life that we sometimes forget about, or at least try to ignore.
It is not a coincidence that a lot of celebrities find themselves facing depression, anxiety, and even severe mental disorders or illnesses. There have been a number of famous people throughout history who have sought solace and peace in drugs, alcohol, and other destructive behaviors. This is not specific to a certain time period, age, or gender either. Musicians, actors, actresses, athletes, and even comedians find themselves feeling so stressed out and nervous that they turn to suicide as a last resort.
We have lost too many stars in this way. Even the most likable and high-profile “heroes” and “heroines” in television, music, movies, sports, and books have found themselves feeling so down and out that they felt they had no other choice but to kill themselves. This list of 10 famous celebrities you didn’t know committed suicide may open your eyes even more to this harsh reality.
10. Lee Thompson Young
While Lee Thompson Young always loved to perform in front of an audience, the stress and demands of the acting job may have gotten to him. Lee made it big at a young age, starring in commercials, television shows and films, and eventually landing a starring role on a popular Disney show. Yet he was not without his own struggles. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and it seemed that the depressive episodes he experienced ended up being too much for him to bear on his own. In August 2013, Lee was found dead in his apartment, the result of the young actor (aged 29) shooting himself in the head with a gun.
9. Mark Rothko
His paintings of surreal and bold colors made him a famous artist and his work is still shown all over the world. Rothko was a true artist, and he also exhibited some of the artsy associations that went along with the job. The 1950s and 1960s were a flourishing time for the artist who produced many works and found himself at the center of attention of the public and art collectors. He was a wearer of many hats and had the personality to match them all. Unfortunately, the fame may have played a role in his death. Rothko was found in his home with grotesque self-inflicted wounds. He had apparently stabbed himself with his paint knife.
8. Don Cornelius
He was the leading man of Soul Train, yet Don Cornelius was hiding some darkness deep inside that the public never saw. It led to the celebrity taking his own life at age 75 by shooting himself with a gun. He had been suffering with ailments for 30 years and he had also gotten into some trouble with authorities, including a charge of domestic violence. While he is remembered for promoting cultural diversity and peace, his life ended in a very violent way. Perhaps the surgery he had to undergo for blood vessels in his brain led to him taking his own life.
7. Ray Combs
Ray Combs was the less famous host of the hit game show Family Feud. He was a likeable host and also worked as a stand-up comedian. Despite his success on stage and on screen, Ray was dealing with his own inner demons. He had some troubles in his marriage and even though he was hosting a popular television show, he was in financial straits. He found himself under observation in the psychiatric ward of Glendale Adventist Medical Center, but he turned to suicide as a means of escape. On June 2, 1996 he hung himself in one of the hospital’s closets.
6. Freddie Prinze
Freddie Prinze had shot to stardom at a young age. When most 20-year-olds were just trying to figure out what they were good at or how to make some money, Prinze was starring in a hit television show, Chico and the Man. He was admired by the public, as well as niche groups, such as raving girls and the Hispanic community. It was all a lot to bear on his shoulders. There was pressure and stress, of course, and then Prinze was exposed to drugs and dealers hiding out in the television business. He eventually wrote a touching suicide note and ended it all.
5. Tony Scott
Tony Scott was a man who was usually working behind the scenes and helping the stars to look great on the screen. He was a reputable film director and is best known for his work in the critically-acclaimed film Top Gun, starring young Tom Cruise. It was not until the age of 68 that Tony Scott made the decision to take his own life by jumping off of a bridge in Los Angeles, California. The frightening part is that the bridge was used in the backgrounds for a few of the films he had directed. He left a suicide note and was said to be battling cancer at the time, although the autopsy report did not detect any cancerous cells in his body.
4. Shakir Stewart
Shakir Stewart was the man behind the rising success and fame of Rick Ross, Young Jeezy, and other artists signed with Def Jam Records. Stewart was 34 years old when he was found dead in the bathroom of his home. The cause of death was from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Close friends and family members said that in the weeks leading up to his death, Stewart was acting out of the ordinary and was completely out of character. Apparently, there was nothing that they could do for him and soon afterward he had taken the decision to end his own life.
3. Gia Allemand
Gia Allemand may not have been an A-list celebrity, but she was known by the public for appearing on the hit ABC show The Bachelor. In August 2013, Gia took her own life at the young age of 29. Perhaps some serious heartbreak was the cause of her fatal actions, as her boyfriend opened up and admitted that he and Gia had gotten into an argument before her suicide. She had suspected him of cheating on her and had gotten quite worked up. Gia had hung herself in her home and was actually still alive when she arrived at the hospital, but she passed away the next day.
2. Jovan Belcher
Jovan Belcher was the linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs. He had a most tragic death which also included the death of his girlfriend, who was 22 years old. He murdered her and then used the gun to shoot himself, right in team headquarters and in front of his coach. The autopsy report showed that Belcher had been suffering from CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), a degenerative brain disease. This could explain why he had taken such a horrible turn for the worst. There were also rumors that Belcher was worried that his girlfriend would keep him from seeing his newborn son.
1. Chris Lighty
Chris Lighty was a head honcho in the music industry. His death has some controversy surrounding it, however. The autopsy report initially stated that Lighty had killed himself with a gun, maybe as a result of a fight he and his wife had had shortly beforehand. Yet others suggest that perhaps there was foul play involved; after all, Lighty had fame and glory and riches. There was bound to be some jealousy involved. His friends and family members say suicide was an unlikely route for Lighty to take and that it just seems implausible that he could have killed himself. The details are still being disputed.