Kevin Smith Spent 1 Month in Treatment Facility for Childhood Sexual Abuse and Weight Shaming

Kevin Smith
Michael Kovac/Getty Images for IMDb

Smith checked into an Arizona treatment center for a month in January.

Kevin Smith is revealing for the first time that he spent one month at a treatment facility to address memories that he said put him "in a weird, dark place." And it was at that moment when he said he knew he needed to get help.

The famed director opened up like never before about his mental health struggles, telling People he woke up one morning last January in "terror" and he was convinced he was losing his mind. At the center of his mental health struggles was a traumatizing episode at six years old when he said he was sexually abused when an older boy he didn't know forced him to perform sexual acts with a young neighborhood girl.

Smith told the outlet he was convinced that they "were just playing doctor in an alleyway," but it was his therapist who opened his eyes.

"When a third party is instructing you to do something against your core values like that," Smith recalled the therapist telling him, "that's sexual abuse."

There was another incident Smith recalled that proved traumatizing, and that was a teacher fat-shaming him when he was just nine years old and made fun of his "gut" in front of the entire class.

"I felt disgusting, like I didn't matter. That's when 'the other guy' started to appear," he said. "I decided to be entertaining and make people love me before they noticed I was fat."

The Clerks director/writer/star would eventually find his way to Arizona, where he checked himself into the Sierra Tucson treatment center and sought intense therapy to deal with the severe childhood traumas, but not before calling a friend and being vulnerable about his struggles.

"At that moment, I wouldn't have been averse to not being around any longer," he said. "I called a friend and said, 'I'm in a weird, dark place. I need to go somewhere and get help.'"

Smith admitted it wasn't easy to open up in private and group therapy sessions. He told People he was surrounded by military veterans struggling with PTSD.

"In the beginning, it was tough to share when somebody's talking about watching their friend get killed and I'm like, 'Well, my fourth-grade teacher told me I was fat,'" he said.

That being said, Smith said he learned "that there's no differentiation [between levels of trauma] to the human nervous system" and that he ultimately learned about self-acceptance. 

In August 2018, Smith revealed a 51-pound weight-loss transformation some six months after a near-fatal heart attack.

Smith was rushed to the hospital on Feb. 25, 2018 with a 100-percent blockage of his left anterior descending artery, which is also known as a "widowmaker." However, thanks to emergency surgery and talented doctors, Smith survived.

Smith had already lost 80 to 90 pounds over the decade leading up to his cardiac episode, but doctors said the damage had already been done and he needed to get even healthier, which led to his aggressive approach to weight loss and changing his relationship with food.

In July 2018, ET spoke with Smith at San Diego Comic-Con, where he admitted that he never thought he would ever actually be fit.

"I just assumed I'd be fat my whole life and I'd never see my high school weight again or any of those things," Smith shared at the time. "But after the heart attack, suddenly I was like, 'All right, I never want to be back in that room again with someone going up my groin to get to my heart through my femoral artery, telling me that there is a 20 percent chance that I will live, and 80 percent chance I'll die.'"