The Truth About John Hinckley Jr.'s Obsession With Jodie Foster

The man who tried to assassinate the 40th American president has won his bid to officially be free from institutionalization, per NPR. John Hinckley Jr., who's been living in Virginia, will be free of all imposed restrictions by next year.

Hinckley Jr. tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981 — just a few months after he was inaugurated into his first term. Reagan was walking out of a hotel in Washington, D.C. when he and the secret service were ambushed by a hail of gunfire from Hinckley Jr.'s gun (via History). The president was shot in the chest, but it was a failed plot, and Reagan survived the incident. Hinckley Jr. was immediately apprehended, arrested, and charged. But in the wake of the assassination attempt, the world would come to know more about the man who tried to kill the leader of the highest American office.

Hinckley Jr. was believed to be suffering from mental health issues, and when people learned his motivation behind trying to kill Reagan, the story grew even more complex. Per Politico, Hinckley was diagnosed with narcissistic and schizoid personality disorders and dysthymia, and his lawyer suggested he experienced schizophrenia. When his case went to trial, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He was then placed in a mental health hospital instead of prison, where he'd spend almost four decades until a conditional release in 2016 (via NBC News).

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

John Hinckley Jr.'s infatuation with Jodie Foster

John Hinckley Jr. attempted to assassinate President Reagan due to his obsession with actress Jodie Foster. She has been one of the most popular actresses in Hollywood since the late '70s, and Hinckley Jr. had a thing for her. Just a few days after the incident, an investigation led authorities to his hotel room and a series of letters written by Hinckley Jr. that were all addressed to Foster, The Washington Post reported. The letters detailed the level of infatuation he had with the actress and what he'd do to get her attention. One of them: attempting to assassinate the president — something he felt would impress her. A portion of one of his letters read: "I would abandon this idea of getting Reagan in a second if I could only win your heart and live out the rest of my life with you, whether it be in total obscurity or whatever."

Hinckley Jr. harrassed Foster with his letters and sent them to Yale University, where she was a student. The actress admitted she threw most of them away, but in the few that she did read, she told media outlets that Hinckley Jr. never mentioned his plot to kill Reagan. His obsession with Foster also went beyond the letters — he even stayed at a hotel near Yale and collected newspaper clippings about the actress. Now, 40 years after the whole ordeal, Hinckley Jr. has apologized to Jodie Foster and his victims, per The Independent.