Reacher’s Alan Ritchson Recalls Suicide Attempt After Sexual Assaults, Says Vision of Sons Saved Him

Reacher s Alan Ritchson Attempted Suicide After Being Sexual Assaulted
Alan Ritchson. Edward Berthelot/WireImage
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Reacher actor Alan Ritchson opened up about his difficult time in the modeling industry and how sexual assault affected his mental health.

“There are very few redeeming qualities to working in that industry. Let’s be honest, it’s like legalized sex trafficking," Ritchson, 41, said in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, which was published on Wednesday, April 3. "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. The number of times and situations where I was put in horrific environments where sexual abuse was the goal and the paycheck that you were desperate for in order to survive was the carrot, I can’t count on two hands."

Before his transition into film and TV, Ritchson was “one of the highest paid” at his modeling agency.

“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?’ I completely empathize with women who deal with dynamic power struggles with predatory people in the workplace," he explained. "It’s still unfair, but 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.”

Stars Who’ve Battled Mental Health Issues

Ritchson confirmed he had been in a situation similar to the one he described.

“I was booked for a shoot for this very famous photographer. 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. I was sexually assaulted by this guy. I left and drove straight to the agency that I was at in L.A. I stormed in and said, ‘F—k you for sending me there. You knew what was going to happen, and you did it anyway,'" he recalled. "I told them to never call me again. I quit the industry and it was the last photo shoot I’ve ever had. Those pictures were never seen or published. 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.”

Reacher s Alan Ritchson Attempted Suicide After Being Sexual Assaulted
Alan Ritchson. Jamie McCarthy/WireImage

Following multiple instances of sexual assault, Ritchson struggled with deteriorating mental health and eventually attempted suicide. “I hung myself. It all happened so fast, and I was dangling there,” he said about how he “couldn’t take it” anymore.

Stars Who Survived Abuse

Ritchson said a vision of his sons, whom he shares with wife Catherine Ritchson, stopped him from ending his life, adding, “They calmly asked me not to do it, and told me that they wanted me to be here, alive and part of their lives. I was diagnosed as bipolar right after. Deep down, I was comforted to know, ‘OK, there’s a name for this.’”

He concluded: “I came out of that whole thing asking myself, ‘OK, if I am going to choose to be alive here — a decision we all make, some to a greater degree than others — what am I doing? Why am I here?’ What I kept falling back on was the meaning and purpose of life as someone who believes that there is a creator and we are created beings, our purpose in life is, without qualification, to make the world a better place and serve others. That is what life is all about.”

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988. If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).