A lot of you know Tyler James Williams for playing Gregory on Abbott Elementary, but before that, he played the title character on the hit 2000s sitcom Everybody Hates Chris.
And in a new interview with GQ, Tyler opened up about some of the mental health challenges he faced after becoming famous so young, admitting the experience was “the weirdest shit in the world.”
“The time this was happening was the same time the internet was becoming more ingrained in the industry,” Tyler told GQ. “So as I’m going through the most awkward years of my life, everyone sees it.”
“I think my voice was cracking nonstop during Seasons 2 and 3,” he continued. “I was trying to find myself in front of everybody. And everybody had an opinion and was getting used to getting theirs out.”
Tyler said it was a “traumatic” experience overall and that he still gets “triggered” to this day when people only associate him with his earlier roles.
“I still get triggered by things that are part of everybody else’s childhood,” he said. “Every time someone comes up to me, regardless of what it is they recognize me for, what that says to me in the moment is that I’m seen. I have to be on, immediately, because someone’s watching.”
As a result, Tyler said he sought therapy to help him cope with the pressure of fame. “Hypervigilance was one of the things that we had to tackle, because I would be listening to everyone’s conversation in a room,” he said. “I could hear my name being brought up from two, three tables down. I could see how many people clocked me when I walked in the door. And that’s not healthy.”