The suicide of a loved one, especially a parent, is a trauma that can take years to heal from. Imagine undergoing that grieving process in the public eye. Sadly, these celebrities had to do just that. A number of famous people had parents who committed suicide. Some of these stars are musicians, while others are actors. Many celebrities who have experienced this type of family tragedy have suffered from depression throughout their lives.
Who will you find on this list of famous people whose parents committed suicide? Jane Fonda didn’t know that her mother, Frances Ford Seymour, had committed suicide until she read it in a magazine. “A year after my mother died, I was in study hall and a girlfriend passed me a movie magazine, in which it said that my mother had cut her throat,” she said. MMA fighter Ronda Rousey’s father also killed himself.
Ernest Hemingway’s father, Clarence Hemingway, committed suicide in 1928 by shooting himself in the head. Tragically, Hemingway also committed suicide by a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1961. Other famous people whose parents committed suicide include Tricky, Melissa Gilbert, and Kurt Vonnegut.
Ernest Hemingway‘s father, Clarence Hemingway, committed suicide in 1928 by shooting himself in the head. He had been struggling with poor health, financial problems, and depression. Tragically, Hemingway also committed suicide by a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1961.
Jane Fonda didn’t know that her mother, Frances Ford Seymour, had committed suicide until she read it in a magazine. “A year after my mother died, I was in study hall and a girlfriend passed me a movie magazine, in which it said that my mother had cut her throat,” she said. She suffered years of depression as a result, though Fonda now says she has been able to forgive herself for not stopping her mother: “It had nothing to do with me.”
Freddie Prinze, Jr.
Freddie Prinze, Jr.‘s father committed suicide in 1977 when the future teen-flick star was just an infant. He reportedly called his wife to say goodbye before pulling the trigger.
On Mother’s Day of 1944, Kurt Vonnegut returned home on leave from the army to discover that his mother had committed suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills. Vonnegut himself struggled with depression throughout his life, and attempted suicide in 1984.
Spalding Gray‘s mother killed herself when she was 52 years old. The actor himself fell into a deep depression following a car accident and eventually committed suicide by jumping off the Staten Island ferry in 2004.
For most of her life, Melissa Gilbert believed that her father had died from a stroke when she was 11 years old. She learned that he had actually committed suicide in 2009. “I still sometimes wonder why I wasn’t enough to stick around for and I think that is something that all children whose parents commit suicide [feel],” she said. “But he was in unbearable pain. I understand his decision and I honor that decision.”
When Ginuwine‘s father shot himself to death in 1999 and his mother died from cancer the following year, the musician found himself feeling suicidal. “I really didn’t want to be here anymore, I didn’t want to live and tried to commit suicide more than once. There was no one around that I really loved at the time, so I turned to the drinking and drugs like weed and ecstasy,” he said of that troubled time.
Judith Barsi, who appeared in Jaws IV, died alongside her mother in a fire in 1988. The incident was believed to be a murder/suicide, with her father setting fire to the family’s San Fernando Valley home after shooting his wife, daughter, and himself.
Perry Farrell‘s mother committed suicide when he was just a child. The musician references his family tragedy in the lyrics to “Then She Died…,” singing, “Will you say hello to my ma?…She was an artist, just as you were.”
Trip-hop artist Tricky‘s mother killed herself when the musician was only four years old. “I’m trying to become more comfortable in myself. I used to see a psychiatrist in New York but I got bored,” he said in an interview with The Guardian. “It’s obvious I got problems, you know: my mum committed suicide when I was a kid. I moved around from place to place. I’ve been thinking about seeing a therapist again.”
British comedian Michael McIntyre grew up believing that his father, Ray Cameron, had died of a heart attack in 1993. He learned in 2010 that his dad had actually died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Musician Peter Allen‘s father shot himself when Allen was just a child. Allen died from AIDS-related complications in 1992.
David Zinczenko‘s stepfather committed suicide. He wrote, “When my stepfather took his own life with a rifle in April 2003, I felt shocked, saddened, remorseful, bereft. But as a journalist who studies male health issues, I also felt angry. Because with that simple act, my stepfather not only left my mother a widow, but he also left behind four children and stepchildren. And the moment he pulled that trigger, he increased his children’s risk of death by suicide multifold.”
The mother of Barry Switzer, the former football player and coach, committed suicide. His last words to her were, “Mother, I would rather not ever see you again than see you like this.” He has stated that he suffered guilt over this for decades, until he learned that she wrote a suicide note before he spoke to her.
NASCAR driver Dylan Kwasniewski‘s father, Randy Kwasniewsk, committed suicide in 2010. “We’re a Christian family, so I always pray about him and every single race kind of ask for him to keep me safe and allow me to win,” he said. “He would always push me so hard for me to go win the race. Second wasn’t good enough. You had to win.”