Constance Wu has opened up about a tweet she wrote three years ago and how severely it affected her mental health afterwards.
In the latest episode of Meghan Markle's podcast Archetypes – that also features Jenny Slate and Deepika Padukone – the Crazy Rich Asians star, 40, addresses the consequences of her controversial post back in May 2019.
Wu had surprised her followers by expressing unhappiness that the hit sitcom she had starred in since 2015, Fresh Off the Boat, had been renewed for another season.
"So upset right now that I'm literally crying. Ugh F***," she wrote.
At the time, her reaction wasn't put into context, but she has since detailed her alleged experience of sexual harassment from a producer, revelations that emerged during interviews with the New York Times and on Red Table Talk, which she also covered in her memoir.
After taking a three-year hiatus from Twitter, she returned in July, sharing that she had attempted suicide after the backlash at her lowest point, before going on to take a break and have therapy.
"I felt awful about what I’d said, and when a few DMs from a fellow Asian actress told me I’d become a blight on the Asian American community, I started feeling like I didn’t even deserve to live anymore.
“That I was a disgrace to AsAms [Asian Americans], and they’d be better off without me.”
Watch: Constance Wu was 'unsafe' and alone when her mental health plummeted
Reflecting on her choice to open up in her new memoir, Making a Scene, and online, while speaking to Markle, she acknowledges why being a parent to her two-year-old daughter, who she shares with Ryan Kattner, prompted her to publicly share her thoughts again.
“I was so ashamed of my suicide attempt that my parents didn’t even know until a few weeks before I put out a statement [talking about the attempt]," Wu explains. "In Asian American families it’s really hard to talk about those kinds of things, so you just kinda don’t.”
Following this, she recalls her mum advising her against a public statement about her mental health, due to concerns for her granddaughter.
“My mum was like, ‘OK, well, think about your daughter now that you put this statement out. Is this something that you want her knowing that you did? You’re a public figure, you shouldn’t let these things out,’” Wu says.
But, she adds, “It’s funny because I can see her point but I said, ‘You know what mom [sic]? I do want her to know that. I do want her to know that everybody, including her mum, goes through a hard time and when you go through those hard times, people will help you and you can find help and you can get better.”
During the episode, Wu also says she's forgiven the aforementioned Asian actor, which has helped her hugely.
"When I think about the actress who shamed me so horribly over DM, a big part of it is that she thought I deserved to suffer, and she thought I wasn’t suffering enough," Wu explains, something that made her see social media differently.
"I don’t think she’s a horrible person. I think the internet does that to you, because you can’t see the person going through something and I think [seeing me in person] would have opened up her compassion rather than her judgment."
Referring to the 2019 tweets, when she wrote at the time, Wu also discusses the public reaction she experienced.
“When I tweeted all this stuff without context, it made me seem really ungrateful and petty, and bratty, I guess is a word a lot of people used," she says.
When she tried to end her own life, thankfully Wu had a friend who was able to get her to hospital for the help she desperately needed.
Speaking on the alleged story behind her tweets, Wu says, "Part of the reason my outburst on Twitter three years ago over the show’s renewal was so seemingly out of character is because it was the build-up of several years of repressing a type of abuse that I had encountered at the hands of a producer."
"This producer was like, ‘I'm protecting you, so you have to do everything through me, and if you f*** up you don’t know what could happen. So don’t talk to your agents, don’t talk to your lawyers. Everything goes through me,'" Wu adds. "I sorta thought, ok, because I didn’t know what else to think."
And despite the trauma she's been through online, it prompted her to get off social media and prioritise her mental health in her life.
"When I think of what would’ve happened if I didn’t have that type of help back then. I wouldn’t have had my daughter, you know?" she says. "It was really scary... I feel like I’ve not only gotten through it, but gotten better because of it. It’s always going to be a scary moment in my life."
If you're struggling, there is help out there. If you need someone to talk to, Samaritans listen without judgement or telling you what to do. You can call them any time, day or night for free on 116 123, or you can put your thoughts down to help understand them better and email them on firstname.lastname@example.org.