Tragic Details About Jim Carrey

Renowned actor and comedian Jim Carrey is the star of films such as Liar, Liar, Bruce AlmightyThe MaskHow The Grinch Stole Christmas, Dumb and Dumber, The Cable Guy, and more. While he has received the most praise for his comedies, he's also managed to make a mark in serious films such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, in which he starred alongside Kate Winslet.

Throughout his career, Carrey has taken on challenging roles and pushed his boundaries. As explained by Reuters, early on, Carrey worked hard under popular comedian Rodney Dangerfield, who helped him explore the world of comedy and discover his potential. Through the 1990s, Carrey worked his way up to superstardom, having been noticed for his work on the popular TV show In Living Color.

That being said, the darker and more tragic parts of Jim Carrey's story aren't as well-known. Here's a look at some of the more tragic parts of the actor's life.

Jim Carrey's childhood was hard

Jim Carrey's early years in Canada weren't easy at all. As explained by a Hollywood Reporter profile, Carrey struggled to make sense of life after his father lost his job in Toronto. The actor was 12. "I was angry," he explained. "My father was hurting, so I blamed the world. It doesn't occur to you when you're a kid, 'Hey, maybe my dad was a drag at work. Maybe he hated his job so much that he was just an emotional skunk.'" 

His father eventually found work in a tire factory, and Jim joined him with his siblings to help with ... everything. Jim, along with his brother, would put in as much as eight hours a day after school, working as janitors and security guards at the factory. Carrey struggled to cope with everything that was happening around him. While he once was getting top-notch grades, his academic performance began to slip. His relationships similarly suffered, and when he turned 16 years old, he dropped out of school. His father was upset and teared up when Jim made this decision. He didn't challenge him, though. "Sometimes, "I wish he had," Carrey reflected.

Jim Carrey was a scared kid

Jim Carrey's childhood was essentially ruled by worry about his parents. In 2013, he worked on a book for kids called How Roland Rolls, which he admitted to The Hollywood Reporter was inspired by his fears. Carey explained what made him so afraid when he was little. "My parents were heavy smokers. I remember locking myself in the bathroom and crying because I thought they were going to die. They banged on the door, telling me to come out. I don't know if I got over that fear at that time; it was just kind of with me," he said. 

Adding to this fear was the fact that his mother was often sick and depressed. Carrey described sitting at the dinner table with his family and watching his mom complain about her health, something that scared him terribly. He explained that she came from a troubled past herself, and her parents were alcoholics, which made her crave love and attention later by complaining about her health. This scarred Carrey, who couldn't help but worry about his parents' well-being. 

Jim Carrey initially struggled in comedy

When Jim Carrey decided to try his luck in the entertainment industry, he realized that things were going to be incredibly hard. As explained by The New York Times, the actor and comedian had a long, hard struggle to make it to the top. It took him almost a decade to get noticed and to be taken seriously as he focused on performing comic acts wherever he could in a bid to land more gigs. "For years I used to drive up to Mulholland Drive every night and look at the city and sit and imagine myself with all this money and being sought after," Carrey explained. He added that he didn't crave the material gains and just wanted to excel at what he was doing.

Carrey recalled the time his father got him a gig at a Toronto comedy club when he was 15. "I got booed off the stage," he said, explaining that he was wearing a polyester suit which wasn't well-received by the hip crowd. The comedian didn't give up and tried again two years later, pulling off a considerably better performance with messy hair and no suit. When he was 19, Carrey started performing in Los Angeles, working day in and day out until he got noticed by bigwigs like Sam Kinison and Rodney Dangerfield and landed television roles.

Jim Carrey faced rejection

Jim Carrey may have been determined, but things weren't exactly easy for him. He faced rejection after rejection while trying to break into the entertainment industry. For example, when he applied to Saturday Night Live, he was turned down pretty much immediately. According to Insider, Jim Carrey's audition tape wasn't even shown to executive producer Lorne Michaels, who confirmed to Vanity Fair that he never got chance to view Carrey's audition and make the decision himself: "Somebody who was there said, 'I don't think Lorne would like it,' and they were probably wrong, but it doesn't matter. Or maybe they were right — who knows? No one gets it all right." 

Thankfully, Carrey became successful nonetheless. He harbored no ill feelings against the show or its makers, and he has hosted SNL three times and was also a part of the show's 40th-anniversary episode in 2015.

Jim Carrey lost his parents when he was becoming famous

Even as he was starting to make his mark in Hollywood, Jim Carrey had to learn to live with a massive sense of personal loss. He lost both his parents in a relatively short span of time, his mother in 1991 and his father in 1994. Carrey revealed in 2014 that his father indirectly helped him follow his dreams. Carrey's father was immensely talented and could have shone in the entertainment industry but was too afraid to take that risk. "So many of us chose our path out of fear disguised as practicality," Carrey explained (via ABC News). "My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn't believe that was possible for him. So, he made a conservative choice and instead he got a job as an accountant."

Years down the line, his father was, of course, forced to reconsider his options after he lost that job. Carrey said that this experience taught him to look at failure differently. According to him, like his father's story proved, it's possible to fail at something that seems like a safe option. In the end, it's a far better idea to fail doing something you love doing and genuinely wish to pursue. In Carrey's case, that was acting and performing comedy.

Jim Carry has gone through heartbreak

For Carrey, it's not just his professional life that has taken a toll on him but also his romantic relationships. He hasn't been, to put it simply, lucky in love. Carrey once revealed to CBS News that one of his most profound movies, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a story that revolves around the tragedy of lost romance, was something that he could personally relate to (via People). 

"I was trying to speak to my ex, and all this stuff, and say these things, and I mean, artistically you do that, you know," Carrey said. The interviewer prompted Carrey to reveal which romantic interest he was hinting at, but he simply replied with, "I don't want to say. There are many. There are many that I've felt that way about, you know?" Carrey was married for seven years to actress Melissa Womer. After their divorce, he was briefly married to another actress, Lauren Holly, after which he dated other women. He was also seriously involved with Renée Zellweger, and they were engaged for a while before parting ways in 2000. He then dated Jenny McCarthy for almost five years. 

A source told People that Carrey can be difficult to be with, romantically. "Jim can run hot and he can run cold. He is someone who desperately needs to be with someone, then just as desperately needs to be alone. But at the same time, he can be a very loving, very compassionate guy."

Jim Carrey was entangled in a legal mess after his ex died

One of Carrey's ex-girlfriends, makeup artist Cathriona White, died by suicide in 2015. Their relationship had its share of ups and downs, and they had broken up several times, including the week before she passed away. "She was a truly kind and delicate Irish flower, too sensitive for this soil, to whom loving and being loved was all that sparkled," a shocked Carrey said at the time (via the BBC).

White was found to have overdosed on prescription drugs, and her death was ruled as a suicide. However, not everyone was convinced.  According to The Independent, White's estranged husband and her mom accused Carrey of giving the drugs to White and sued him. Carrey alleged that this was merely an attempt to take advantage of his status as an actor and filed a countersuit.

After a bit of back-and-forth, Carrey was finally cleared of all charges, and the lawsuits were dropped in 2018. A representative for Carrey stated that the actor hoped to move forward with his life (via The Hollywood Reporter).

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Jim Carrey has battled depression

Jim Carrey is no stranger to battling mental illness. His characters on-screen are known for making people laugh, but the actor has privately fought depression for a long time, seeking professional help to cope with his symptoms. Carrey spoke about his journey in 2004 in a conversation on 60 Minutes. "I was on Prozac for a long time. It may have helped me out of a jam for a little bit, but people stay on it forever. I had to get off at a certain point because I realized that, you know, everything's just OK," Carrey said. 

In 2017, he also spoke about depression in general and his perception of it. He said that he wasn't depressed anymore but that he definitely had experienced it firsthand for many years. He said that he still had bad moments but that they were fleeting and didn't stay with him anymore. Per the New York Post, Carrey also had an online exchange with singer Ariana Grande in 2019 after the latter shared that Carrey's accounts of depression had helped her cope with her own battles. Carrey, honored, replied to her on Twitter, "@ArianaGrande I read your lovely mention of me and things I've said about depression. [...] I admire your openness. I wish you freedom and peace. I feel blessed to have such a gifted admirer. Happy Easter!"

Jim Carrey's career has suffered

Despite being an incredibly talented, versatile actor, it would be fair to say that Jim Carrey has seen his fair share of ups and downs in his career. Acting has definitely taken a backseat over the last few years, but Carrey hasn't forgotten his love for the craft. In 2018, he told the Associated Press that he found acting therapeutic. "It's unfathomable to me that life somehow ended up in this direction and at this place of, you know, being able to do something — alchemize our pain and turn it into something beautiful and be recognized as well for it is an incredible thing," he said, adding that he's realized that as an artist, it's his job to not just entertain his audiences and help them forget their worries but also to talk about problematic issues instead of shying away from them.

Carrey also shed light on why even though he was still doing projects, the frequency had reduced. He explained that the industry stopped appealing to him when corporations really began to make their presence felt. The actor was tempted to express himself through another creative medium and turned to painting as a way to allow his feelings to flow freely.

Jim Carrey tried to make sense of his identity

Jim Carrey has always taken his roles very seriously. Sometimes, he's lost himself in them. He spoke about this in a conversation with The Talks and revealed how playing the role of Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon (1999) helped him understand that he could definitely become completely immersed in a character. He said that he understood it was a choice, but he could literally become a character and live like them.

"When I finished with that [role], I took a month to remember who I was," Carrey explained, adding that he felt he had to reascertain what his beliefs were, as well as his likes and dislikes. "It took me a while and I was depressed going back into my concerns and my politics. But there was a shift that had already happened. And the shift was, 'Wait a second. If I can put Jim Carrey aside for four months, who is Jim Carrey? Who the hell is that?'"

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Carrey once revealed in a Netflix documentary called Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond that he was in character and so immersed in his role as Kaufman that the film's producers actually made an attempt to hide away footage from those times to help safeguard his image and avoid making Carrey look bad. 

Jim Carry has had a tricky relationship with fame

Jim Carrey, as it turns out, is not a big fan of being famous. In his book, a fictional autobiography called Memoirs and Misinformation, he explored the idea of fame and the many evils that come with it. Per USA Today, at one point in the book, Carrey decides to dress up before bed in case he dies in his sleep. This decision is made after he sees pictures of John Lennon's dead body on the internet. The point Carrey is making is simple: Fame is not easy to deal with.

"That's a very weird thing to know about yourself," Carrey said. "That when I die, someone is going to take a picture on the operating table and sell it."

Also, it's worth noting that Carrey may have a public persona, but he's actually rather private and has always been skeptical toward the idea of fame (via E! Online). The actor understands that being famous means that he will be pushed into the limelight no matter what's happening in his life. "I don't believe in personalities," Carrey once said. "I believe that peace lies beyond personalities, beyond invention and disguise, beyond the red 'S' you wear on your chest, that makes bullets bounce off."

Jim Carrey has spent a lot of time alone

After losing his ex-partner Cathriona White and fighting a court battle with her family, Jim Carrey chose to spend a lot of time alone and isolate himself. He revealed in a 2018 interview with the Radio Times (via People) that he was comfortable being by himself and devoted his time to doing things he liked, such as painting and sculpture. He also said that he understood that his choice to remain isolated may come across as odd to some folks. "I spend a lot of time by myself but I like being by myself, so it's OK. That might be strange to some people, but I enjoy it," he explained.

However, he did mention even though he spends so much time on his own, he does date, implying that he hasn't completely given up on the prospect of finding love again.