Prison Break star Wentworth Miller has spoken out about a hurtful meme that mocks his weight gain.
It shows a side by side comparison of the svelte openly gay actor during the filming of the TV drama next to a later picture of the bulkier star hiking in Los Angeles in 2010.
The caption reads: “When you break out of prison and find out about McDonalds’ monopoly.”
Writing on Facebook on Monday, Miller, 43, said that the second picture had been taken when he was “semi-retired” from acting.
He revealed that at the time he was “was suicidal” and suffering from depression, a reality in his life since childhood.
“In 2010, at the lowest point in my adult life, I was looking everywhere for relief/comfort/distraction,” explained Miller. “And I turned to food. It could have been anything. Drugs. Alcohol. Sex. But eating became the one thing I could look forward to.”
He wrote that when he saw the pictures while “fighting for my mental health, it was the last thing I needed.”
Miller added that, “the first time I saw this meme pop up in my social media feed, I have to admit, it hurt to breathe.
“But as with everything in life, I get to assign meaning. And the meaning I assign to this/my image is Strength. Healing. Forgiveness.
“Now, when I see that image of me in my red t-shirt, a rare smile on my face, I am reminded of my struggle. My endurance and my perseverance in the face of all kinds of demons,” he said.
The actor and producer had advice for anyone struggling in life: “Help is available. Reach out. Text. Send an email. Pick up the phone. Someone cares. They’re waiting to hear from you.”
The English-born American actor first rose to fame as Michael Scofield in Prison Break, in which his character famously sported a full upper body tattoo.
He became an international sex symbol and received a 2005 Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actor in a Dramatic Series. After the show’s end in 2009, Miller focused on writing film scripts and producing.
He has since returned to acting in the role of a villain in The Flash and will reprise the character of Michael Scofield for a new Prison Break series later this year.
Miller came out as gay in 2013 in an open letter declining an invitation to the St. Petersburg International Film Festival in Russia because of that country’s anti-gay policies.
Lad Bible, which created the meme, has now apologised.”We want to say we’ve got this very, very wrong. Mental health is no joke or laughing matter,” the website said in a statement.
“We applaud your raw honesty and promise to now cover such matters in the responsible manner that our audience expects.”