Inside Jon Hamm's Depression Struggle

September 22, 2010 By:
Inside Jon Hamm's Depression Struggle

Jon Hamm is opening up about his darkest secrets in a new interview with the The Observer.

We know him today as the successful lead actor on Mad Men, and more recently, the film The Town. But Hamm admits life wasn’t always so easy in LA, and he struggled to pay his bills on time for years.

He recalls one time when he was dropped by his agent and considered quitting acting. He tells the mag, “I thought: 'I could go home, I could teach…' I had already taught [drama at John Burroughs High School in Missouri] and yes, I think I probably was a good teacher."

Hamm even says he wasn’t a frontrunner to play Don Draper in Mad Men. "I was on the bottom of everyone's list,” Hamm admits. "I really really really wanted to do it and really really really responded to the character. And really really felt like I had a handle on it and fit the part well, for whatever reason. I knew it was an enormous risk for the network to put all their chips on… certainly no celebrity of any kind. No name to promote."

All turned out well in the end, but that’s not the only struggle Hamm has dealt with—he lost both his parents by the age of 20: his mother at age 10, his father 10 years later.

"To lose a parent at 10 – which is young, though not unprecedented – it means you understand, at a very early age, what permanence is,” he says.

“I struggled with chronic depression. I was in bad shape. I knew I had to get back in school and back in some kind of structured environment and… continue."

Hamm says he worked a lot and did extensive therapy to get through it. "I did do therapy and antidepressants for a brief period, which helped me,” he says. “Which is what therapy does: it gives you another perspective when you are so lost in your own spiral, your own bullshit. It helps.

And honestly? Antidepressants help! If you can change your brain chemistry enough to think: 'I want to get up in the morning; I don't want to sleep until four in the afternoon. I want to get up and go do my shit and go to work and…' Reset the auto-meter, kick-start the engine!"

Jon’s engine is definitely working overtime now! He has so much now, but it came to him late in life, which makes us realize how hard he actually worked for it! We’re thankful he stuck it out through the tough times and stayed in Hollywood, because no one could be Don Draper but him!