At the time, while recovering at the hospital, the actor asked his fans and the media for some privacy to "receive care and heal during this difficult time."
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on August 20, 2021. It has since been updated.
Trigger Warning: This story talks about suicide and drug use that may be disturbing to readers.
Owen Wilson always has a charming smile on his face, and was responsible for making his audience laugh with his cute antics, which is why, 14 years ago, it came as a surprise to many when they learned that Wilson had attempted to end his life. On August 26, 2007, Wilson slashed his wrists at his home in Santa Monica in an apparent suicide attempt, according to PEOPLE.
A pal said that the attempt had landed the Wonder star at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. “Owen was very despondent. He slit his wrists. He almost did not make it.” His brothers Luke and Andrew Wilson were by his side, immediately after the incident. His parents Robert and Laura also stuck close to their beloved son while he fought his demons. The Santa Monica Police Department revealed at the time that a 911 call that brought an emergency crew to his home was classified as an “attempt suicide.”
Per TIME, there was speculation that his attempt to end his life may have stemmed from his drug use, depression over his break-up from fellow actor Kate Hudson and a recent fight with a friend.
The only statement to come from the now 52-year-old actor amid all the speculation as he recovered in the hospital was to tell his fans he wanted some time to himself. "I respectfully ask that the media allow me to receive care and heal in private during this difficult time."
While one friend called this the "most out-of-character thing" for Wilson, another added that “it would be irresponsible to say it was any single thing. People are complicated. Owen is no different.” Another friend added, “Owen is fun, kind and caring. [But] it’s like he has a little John Belushi in him. He has demons; on some level, he’s managed them for years."
After over a decade since the incident, Wilson recently opened up to Esquire magazine, recalling how his older brother Andrew Wilson, now 56, helped him on a daily basis after he attempted suicide. Though Wilson "doesn't talk much about" the dark period in his life, the Marley & Me actor did share that Andrew temporarily moved in with him when he returned home from the hospital.
Journalist Ryan D'Agostino wrote that Andrew, also an actor, was "rising with him each morning and writing up little schedules for each day so that life seemed at first manageable and then, at some point, a long time later, actually good."
In the same interview, Wilson also recalled the time he contemplated dying by suicide at a young age. "As a kid, there's a lot of things that you think about. Death — that kind of landed with me when I was about 11. And I don't remember ever talking with my parents about it," he said.
"Although I do remember one time saying to my dad — and I remember exactly where in the house — saying, 'I worry about dying,' and seeing my dad turn away and catch himself. And I was surprised to see that reaction. But who knows, maybe that was part of why I said it."
But now, things have changed, and as Wilson himself says, he is in a "lucky place" of optimism.
"I don't know. I've been in sort of a lucky place of feeling pretty appreciative of things. I know everything's kind of up and down, but when you get on one of these waves, you've gotta ride it as long as you can," he said. "I've just felt — yeah. Feeling pretty grateful. Well, grateful's one of those words that get used all the time. Appreciative. Of, you know, stuff."
If you or someone you know shows signs of suicidal thoughts, please reach out to 1-800-273-8255 (NCPL) or suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Frazer Harrison