Constance Wu says she doesn't want to hide mental health struggles from her daughter: 'I do want her to know'

Constance Wu is opening up about the emotional trauma that led to a suicide attempt three years ago.

In the latest episode of Meghan Markle’s podcast Archetypes, the Crazy Rich Asians star, 41, chronicles the events surrounding her controversial tweet in May 2019, in which she expressed unhappiness over her hit show Fresh Off the Boat being renewed for a sixth season. The tweet prompted backlash from fans and critics — including a direct message from a fellow “Asian actress” who Wu says called her a “disgrace to my race.”

The emotional aftermath sent Wu in a downward spiral that sent her into therapy.

When reflecting on her choice to be so open about the experience in her new memoir, Making a Scene — which also touches on the alleged sexual harassment she faced at the hands of a producer — the Fresh Off the Boat alum said it was important not to diminish the experience so that her 2-year-old daughter, whom she shares with musician Ryan Kattner, will be able to learn from it one day.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 02: Constance Wu attends
Constance Wu is getting candid about the emotional trauma she faced after a controversial tweet in 2019. (Photo: Cindy Ord/WireImage)

“I was so ashamed of my suicide attempt that my parents didn’t even know until a few weeks before I put out a statement [talking about the attempt]," she explained. "In Asian American families it’s really hard to talk about those kinds of things, so you just kinda don’t.”

Wu says her mom warned against being so public about the experience for the sake of her granddaughter.

“My mom was like, ‘OK, well, think about your daughter now that you put this statement out. Is this something that you want her knowing that you did? You’re a public figure, you shouldn’t let these things out,’” Wu recalls. “It’s funny because I can see her point but I said, ‘You know what mom? I do want her to know that. I do want her to know that everybody, including her mom, goes through a hard time and when you go through those hard times, people will help you and you can find help and you can get better.”

While she hasn't reconnected with the Asian actress who DM'd her, Wu acknowledged that she's forgiven her, pointing out that forgiveness has been a huge part of her personal growth.

"When I think about the actress who shamed me so horribly over DM, a big part of it is that she thought I deserved to suffer, and she thought I wasn’t suffering enough," Wu says, adding that their exchange inspired her to think differently about social media. "I don’t think she’s a horrible person. I think the internet does that to you, because you can’t see the person going through something and I think [seeing me in person] would have opened up her compassion rather than her judgment."

Regarding the 2019 texts — in which she cryptically wrote “So upset right now that I’m literally crying. Ugh. F***" following the news of Fresh Off the Boat's renewal — Wu tells Markle that at the time fans called her "ungrateful and petty and bratty."

Though in hindsight she admits the tweet was a mistake, she says the context behind it was that she'd been experiencing sexual harassment from one of the show's producers.

"Part of the reason my outburst on Twitter three years ago over the show’s renewal was so seemingly out of character is because it was the buildup of several years of repressing a type of abuse that I had encountered at the hands of a producer," she says plainly.

Wu, who hadn't acted in network television before the show, said the unnamed producer made her feel "scared" that any wrong move would get her fired.

"This producer was like, ‘I'm protecting you, so you have to do everything through me, and if you f*** up you don’t know what could happen. So don’t talk to your agents, don’t talk to your lawyers. Everything goes through me,'" she explained. "I sorta thought, OK, because I didn’t know what else to think."

As traumatic as those years were, Wu says there is a silver lining. The collective trauma ultimately prompted her to "get off social media" and put her career aside to focus on her mental health.

"When I think of what would’ve happened if I didn’t have that type of help back then. I wouldn’t have had my daughter, you know?" she said. "It was really scary … I feel like I’ve not only gotten through it, but gotten better because of it. It’s always going to be a scary moment in my life."

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