Trigger Warning: Suicide
MANILA, Philippines – After a three-year social media break, Fresh Off the Boat actress Constance Wu shared in a statement on Friday, July 15, that she attempted to take her own life in 2019 after her tweets about the show’s renewal caused public online backlash.
“I was afraid of coming back on social media because I almost lost my life from it: [Three] years ago, when I made careless tweets about the renewal of my TV show, it ignited outrage and internet shaming that got pretty severe,” Wu wrote.
She expressed that she had been prompted to end her life after she received direct messages from a fellow Asian-American actress on Twitter, telling her that she had become “a blight” on the Asian-American community.
“I started feeling like I didn’t even deserve to live anymore. That I was a disgrace to [Asian-Americans], and they’d be better off without me,” she continued. Luckily, a friend found the Crazy Rich Asians star and rushed her to the emergency room immediately.
Wu also mentioned that she had decided to put her acting career on hold to prioritize her mental health. She realized the importance of constantly caring for and reaching out to those who aren’t doing well mentally, and called on Asian-Americans to engage in meaningful discourse on mental health.
“While [Asian-Americans] are quick to celebrate representation wins, there’s a lot of avoidance around the more uncomfortable issues within our community. Even my tweets became a subject so touchy that my [Asian-American] colleagues decided that was the time to avoid me or ice me out,” she added.
The actress has since dropped her own book titled Making a Scene, which is a series of essays that touch on Wu’s own experiences as an Asian-American actress in Hollywood. “That’s why I wrote my book and why I’m here today—to reach out and help people talk about the uncomfortable stuff in order to understand it, reckon with it, and open pathways to healing,” she wrote, wanting to spark healthy discourse on difficult matters like mental health.
After her short break from the limelight and after receiving lots of therapy, Wu shared that she feels “OK” with being on social media again.
In 2019, following the announcement that the ABC comedy Fresh Off the Boat had just been renewed for a sixth season, the 40-year-old actress posted a series of very angry tweets that followers assumed were made in response to the news. On the show, Wu plays Jessica Young, the titular family’s mother.
Wu later clarified that she had posted those tweets out of frustration, having to back out of another project she had been more passionate about, because of scheduling conflicts with the ABC sitcom.
Constance Wu is an Asian-American actress who rose to fame as the ABC sitcom Fresh Off the Boat’s Jessica Huang, the mother of Eddie, Emery, and Evan, and the wife of Louis. The series centered upon a Chinese-American family in ’90s Florida. She also played Rachel Chu in the award-winning film adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s novel Crazy Rich Asians, and stripper Destiny in 2019’s Hustlers film alongside Jennifer Lopez. – with reports from Juno Reyes/Rappler.com
Juno Reyes is a Rappler intern.
The Department of Health, through the National Center for Mental Health, has a national crisis hotline to assist people with mental health concerns. The hotline can be reached at 1553, which is a Luzon-wide, toll-free landline number, 0917-899-8727 and 0966-351-4518 for Globe and TM subscribers, and 0908-639-2672 for Smart and Sun subscribers.