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Frankie Jonas Says He 'Wanted to Disappear' as a Child Actor: 'I Wanted to Run Away from Everything'

Tomás Mier
·3 min read
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  Christian Cody for Bustle  

Frankie Jonas is TikTok's favorite Jonas — but his journey to self-acceptance has been a long, difficult one.

On Thursday, the youngest Jonas Brother, 20, opened up in an interview with Bustle about growing up in what he calls "adjacent" to the spotlight and how it affected him as a child.

"My future just slowly died," he told Bustle about his family's decision to pursue a career for his older siblings. "It was a conversation — I don't remember it, but I've been told about it — regarding the fans of my brothers, who also had a similar kinship to me as this symbol, as this mascot. 'Frankie could theoretically act. He could be in their shows. He can continue that legacy of that mascot-like character.'"

Jonas said he hated being referred to as "Bonus Jonas" and continues to dislike the term to this day.

 "I always hated that nickname," he said. "A lot of my problem with being in the public eye was that I was seen as this commodified vision of myself."

  Christian Cody for Bustle  

RELATED: Frankie Jonas Is TikTok's Favorite Jonas Brother — Here's What Nick Has to Say About It

By 12 years old, he said he had joined Twitter to see people make memes and tweets making cruel jokes, calling him the "forgotten" Jonas brother.

"It became a form of self-harm to look at these things," Jonas said. "Then it became essentially an OCD, like a tic. I couldn't stop. I checked it every day, and I had to, to feel OK in a way. It really became a serious issue for me. A lot of that perpetuated the idea that I was just this meme." 

"I was this joke, and my entire identity to people was 'adjacent,' which really affected myself and the way that I thought about the world and the way I felt about myself," he added.

RELATED VIDEO: Frankie Jonas Shares He's 'Grateful' to Be Alive After Struggles with Drugs, Alcohol and Suicidal Thoughts

 

Jonas also opened up to a particular moment where he had an allergic reaction and soiled himself as a 13-year-old and how that traumatic moment affected him.

"I became disillusioned with it all and feeling the way I was feeling," he says. "I wanted to disappear, but I wanted to do everything I could to get back to that normal life that I thought I watched die. I wanted to run away from everything."

Things got worse for Jonas, who recently opened up on TikTok about "trying to kill himself accidentally," but told Bustle that he was able to get treatment and "my life was saved."

"I've always dealt with a lot more than just anxiety. At the time, I didn't know that I got panic attacks. I didn't know that I had obsessive thoughts," he said. "I didn't know that I would go on to be diagnosed with PTSD."

  Christian Cody for Bustle  

RELATED: Frankie Jonas Films Himself Getting 'Honorary Jonas Sister' Tana Mongeau's Name Tattooed on His Leg

Today, however, the TikTok star says he's found a place where he feels comfortable to be exactly who he is. 

"Everything that I talk about on TikTok… no one knew that that was how I speak, how I express myself, what I think is funny," Jonas says. "I was just making jokes, thinking no one was hearing them. And then people heard them and liked them. I thought, 'I'm going to continue to do this,' because I've never had my thing really. This feels like so much of my thing. It feels so empowering to have a thing."

"I have massive anxiety about everything I post because I don't want to fail," he added. "I'm someone who has spent his whole life wanting to be liked."