Constance Wu Opens Up About Suicide Attempt After 'Fresh Off the Boat' Twitter Backlash

Constance Wu
Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Constance Wu returned to social media after nearly three years on Thursday to announce her new book, Making a Scene, and to speak out about attempting suicide as a result of the backlash she endured following a Twitter fiasco surrounding Fresh Off the Boat's renewal in 2019. After ABC renewed the Asian-led comedy for a sixth season in May of that year, Wu posted a series of explicit tweets expressing her frustration and disappointment over the pickup.

"I was afraid of coming back on social media because I almost lost my life from it: [Three] years ago, when I made careless tweets about the renewal of my TV show, it ignited outrage and internet shaming that got pretty severe," the 40-year-old actress wrote in a lengthy letter posted on Twitter. "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 [Asian Americans], and they'd be better off without me. Looking back, it's surreal that a few DMs convinced me to end my own life, but that's what happened. Luckily, a friend found me and rushed me to the ER."

The Crazy Rich Asians star was at the center of controversy in 2019 after ABC picked up Fresh Off the Boat for a sixth season, prompting Wu to tweet at the time: "So upset right now that I’m literally crying. Ugh. F**k." She followed up with another tweet: "F**king hell." When someone left a comment congratulating Wu on the "great news," she replied back, writing, "No it's not." Shortly thereafter, Wu clarified that her tweets were not indicative of her feelings over the sitcom's renewal, but rather a culmination of a "rough day," "ill timed w/the news of the show" and that the pickup meant she'd have to give up a project she was "passionate about." The actress later apologized.

"It was a scary moment that made me reassess a lot in my life," Wu wrote in the new letter. "For the next few years, I put my career aside to focus on my mental health. AsAms don't talk about mental health enough. While we're quick to celebrate representation wins, there's a lot of avoidance around the more uncomfortable issues within our community. Even my tweets became a subject so touchy that most of my AsAm colleagues decided that was the time to avoid me or ice me out. I'll admit it hurt a lot, but it also made me realize how important it is to reach out and care for people who are going through a hard time."

Wu shared that the three years away from the spotlight brought her clarity and provided her an outlet to put her experiences and thoughts on paper, resulting in her upcoming book that she hopes will "help people talk about the uncomfortable stuff in order to understand it, reckon with it, and open pathways to healing."

"If we want to be seen, really seen... we need to let all of ourselves be seen, including the parts we're scared of or ashamed of -- parts that, however imperfect, require care and attention. And we need to stop beating each other (and ourselves) up when we do," she continued, adding that her book won't be "the most flattering portrayal, it's as honest as I know how to be."

"I'm not poised or graceful or perfect. I'm emotional. I make mistakes... lots of 'em!"

Wu, who currently stars in Amazon Prime Video's The Terminal List, also revealed she's gone to therapy during her break and says she feels "OK enough to venture back on [social media]" for at least a little bit. "Even though I'm scared, I've decided that I owe it to the me-of-[three]-years-ago to be brave and share my story so that it might help someone with theirs," she ended her note.

Read Wu's full letter below.

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).


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