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Angela
on Mar 12th, 2015

Variety: Supernatural Star Jared Padalecki Talks Depression and Why You Should ‘Always Keep Fighting’

“Supernatural” star Jared Padalecki has headlined the hit CW series for 10 seasons alongside Jensen Ackles, and, like many public figures, has used his name recognition and fervent fanbase to help support a number of charitable causes throughout his career, including A Dog’s Life Rescue and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Now, Padalecki has launched a T-shirt campaign through Represent.com to benefit nonprofit organization To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA), which supports people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.

The CW’s actors are a philanthropic group, with Padalecki’s “Supernatural” co-star Misha Collins founding nonprofit organization Random Acts to promote and facilitate good deeds across the world, and “Arrow” star Stephen Amell continuing to raise money for F— Cancer through his own Represent T-shirt campaign. Padalecki credits Amell with inspiring him to launch his “Always Keep Fighting” shirt, which is on sale at Represent through March 17.

Variety spoke to Padalecki about his passion for the cause and his personal experience with depression. The interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity, but formatted to allow Padalecki to share his story in full.

Variety: How did the campaign come about?

Padalecki: I, for a long time, have been passionate about people dealing with mental illness and struggling with depression, or addiction, or having suicidal thoughts and, strangely enough, it’s almost like the life I live, as well. These characters that we play on “Supernatural,” Sam and Dean, are always dealing with something greater than themselves and I’ve sort of learned from the two of them that they get through it with each other, and with help and with support. And I, in the past, have had my own struggles of not [being] so happy with where I am in life, which is strange and I think it goes to show. … Maybe a lot of people don’t know this, but Season 3, we were shooting an episode and I went back to my trailer to get changed and just kind of broke down.

A doctor came to set and talked to me for about 30 minutes, or 45 minutes and said, “Jared, I think you’re clinically depressed. I think I should write you a note and we can shut down production for five days and then we can take it from there.” And it kind of hit me like a sack of bricks. I mean, I was 25 years old. I had my own TV show. I had dogs that I loved and tons of friends and I was getting adoration from fans and I was happy with my work, but I couldn’t figure out what it was; it doesn’t always make sense, is my point. It’s not just people who can’t find a job, or can’t fit in in society that struggle with depression sometimes.

Luckily, two of my great friends, Jensen who everybody knows very well, and my friend Kelly who I work with, came to my trailer to check in on me and talked to me for probably an hour or so and then, I was like, “all right guys, I’m going through a tough time right now. I don’t know what it is, but I’m just going to keep my legs moving. I’m going to keep fighting.” They let me go that day. They were like, “Hey buddy, go home. Call your family, and you’re off work. Come back to work tomorrow.” So I went home and the next day I showed up for work and just kind of gradually got better, but it’s something that I’ve been passionate about for a while. Then, Mr. Amell himself did a T-shirt campaign to raise money for F— Cancer and as soon as that happened, I think I saw him over the summer, he came to visit me in Austin and he was like, “It’s incredible. The fans have rallied around this great cause and are helping raise awareness.” Continue Reading

Angela
on Mar 10th, 2015

People: Why Supernatural Star Jared Padalecki Is Speaking Out About Mental Illness

Both as Supernatural’s Sam Winchester and in real life, Jared Padalecki hopes to save lives. The actor, 32, has recently taken part in a campaign for To Write Love on Her Arms, a non-profit organization which aims to help those struggling with depression, addiction and suicidal ideation.

“Always Keep Fighting” is the slogan for his T-shirt campaign which has far exceeded its goal of 1,000 sold thanks to the cause’s message and thanks to his passionate fanbase (his face emblazoned on the front of the shirt probably hasn’t hurt). In an exclusive chat with PEOPLE, Padalecki revealed why the campaign is so important to him as well as what’s coming up for his character on Supernatural, how he and costar Jensen Ackles mess with each other on set and whether you can expect to see him take part in a Gilmore Girls reunion.

I Tweeted that I was going to talk to you and somebody reached out to me and wanted you to know that, as someone with Borderline Personality Disorder, they appreciate everything that you’re doing. What’s it like to have that kind of positive effect on your fanbase?
It’s really hard to put into words. It’s been amazing. Hopefully it’s helping to destigmatize these issues, because it’s all around us. It’s ubiquitous, and people hide it. If somebody has cancer, they’re not embarrassed to have cancer – they know it’s no their fault. They know it’s a struggle. But, for some reason, if someone says they’re depressed, they assume that people are going to look at them like they have three heads. Hopefully, this is helping to start a conversation.

Why did you decide to start the “Always Keep Fighting” campaign?
All of the cards fell in the right place. Specifically, [Arrow star] Stephen Amell did a few fundraisers through F— Cancer, and he approached me and told me that it’s remarkable how supportive the fans are and how much money and awareness they’re able to raise for these great causes. A month or so after we started talking about it, I received a phone call on New Year’s Day and I learned that my friend of 10 years had lost his battle with depression. I’m not alone, here, and there are so many people out there who have experienced the same thing. I have friends and a life and people I work with and I get a lot of love and support – this campaign is more about those who don’t have as much of a support system as I do.

And why did you choose that slogan?
I used to work with somebody who had been sober for 20 years, and he told me that it’s a daily struggle – that he wakes up every morning knowing it’s going to be a battle. We were talking about maybe going with “Never Give Up,” but that just puts somebody on defense, like their only options are to get beaten down or to quit. It’s a proactive approach, and that’s what was important to me – if you think it’s just going to go away, it’s not going to. We need to take these things head-on and treat it like a fight. People who are dealing with depression or addition or suicidal thoughts or mental illness … they’re strong. You’re strong because you’ve been in this fight and you wake up thinking you’re going to beat it again today. Continue Reading

Angela
on Nov 18th, 2014

Entertainment Weekly: Jared & Jensen Discuss What’s Next

Supernatural‘s Winchester brothers have officially been “saving people, hunting things” for 200 episodes … and season 10 isn’t even halfway over. But after taking a break from some of the season-long drama last week to celebrate the show’s milestone, it’s time to get back in the swing of things. EW chatted with stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles about the season so far and what lies ahead.

EW: Were you all surprised at how quickly Dean became human again?
PADALECKI: Yes. I was disappointed.
ACKLES: Yeah, I thought they probably could’ve dragged that on a little longer. They wanted to get Dean back to Dean and get the brothers back to being brothers again. I like that. I’m thankful that, for the first time in several seasons, [Sam and Dean are] kind of back together as brothers. That being said, I wouldn’t have minded a handful of more episodes with that separation. That would’ve been fun.
PADALECKI: My wet dream was like having a cat-and-mouse chase ala De Niro and Pacino in Heat. I wanted to be on his trail for a while.
ACKLES: We could’ve explored more of what Sam went through too because a lot of that is being implied and not seen, which will come back in the future, and I think maybe we’ll get to see some of that in flashbacks. I hope so.
PADALECKI: I felt so blessed that I was able to play soulless Sam for half a season or Gadreel/Ezekiel Sam for half a season, and it’s so fun to watch that dynamic. Part of me wanted that action movie, like Sam on Dean’s trail or vice versa to dance around it for a little bit, but I understand we have other stories to tell.
ACKLES: It could’ve very easily been five to 10 episodes of leading up to that meeting of Sam and Dean. But they’ve only got 23 episodes and they gotta get to the point, they gotta move the story along because they got places to go.

We got a glimpse at how dark Sam went to save Dean. Is there more where that came from?
PADALECKI: There is a little bit more. It’s more hinted towards than necessarily seen.
ACKLES: We might get some flashbacks and stuff in the future.
PADALECKI: And we also see it kind of manifested in the way Sam behaves. He knows that he crossed these boundaries that he swore he’d never cross. These people were humans. And so Sam has done whatever it took to monsters but to do it to a human being and to a human soul I think has put this kind of resolution inside of Sam where he knows where he’s gone and he doesn’t want to go there again.

Continue Reading

Angela
on Nov 10th, 2014

Access Hollywood: Jared & Jensen on Reaching 200 Episodes

“Supernatural” reaches a new milestone on Tuesday night as it airs its 200th episode. Jared Padalecki, who plays Sam Winchester, said he is thrilled to have reached this point.”It’s been this weird kind of comedy of errors and this very lucky situation where we started out at [The WB], went to The CW and we had a few of the same crew, and obviously, [The CW President] Mark Pedowitz came in and loved the show and kept us going strong right when it could’ve been a coin toss and either heads or tails, heads they stay, tails they leave and he kept us around and we’ve had this new, fresh breath of life breathed into our show, and here we are,” Jared said. “And I still sometimes can’t believe it. It’s amazing.

Tuesday’s episode, titled “Fan Fiction,” has been described as a love letter to the show’s devoted fans and it will see Jensen’s Dean and Jared’s Sam Winchester, follow up on a case that leads them to a girls’ high school where the Winchesters’ story is being recreated on the stage.

They’re actually doing a musical version of Sam and Dean Winchester’s lives and so Sam and Dean Winchester go to investigate this death and go like, ‘Why are these people — why is this person dressed like Bobby? Why is this person dressed like Cas? And [they] come to find out it’s this kind of like fantastical version of our lives,” Jared told Access. “And it became like this pseudo-realism where Jensen and I, as Jared and Jensen, were watching as Sam and Dean and we were kind of watching like the last 10 years of our lives and the shows that we had done and these journeys that we had been through as Sam and Dean and it was a really cool just blessing that not a lot of people get to experience.

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