Rebecca Gayheart Reveals She 'Didn't Want to Live' After Fatal 2001 Car Accident
By Liz Calvario
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images
Rebecca Gayheart is getting candid about a tragic event that changed her life forever.
The 47-year-old actress revealed that she "didn't want to live" after a 2001 car accident she was involved in that resulted in the death of a 9-year-old boy, Jorge Cruz Jr.
"I had a very terrible accident happen. A 9-year-old child died. And, you know, everything changed from that and I still have trouble talking about it, obviously. So if I get emotional, I apologize," she expressed on Tuesday's episode of The Only One in the Room podcast. "And that, you know, changed me. And, luckily, I came out the other side and really positive things have happened in my life since then."
Cruz Jr. died from injuries a day after the accident, with Gayheart paying for his funeral and settling a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the child's parents a year later. However, the incident was something that has always weighed heavy on her.
"I struggle with the 'Why?' still," the actress explained. "I still replay it in my head of, 'Had I stopped at the gas station, maybe I wouldn't have been on that street.' You know, those things never go away. They stay with you forever and I did not cope very well after…Listen, I just didn’t want to live after that accident."
She continued, revealing that she "spent about a year" after the accident "trying to kill myself."
"That’s what it came down to. I couldn’t handle it at all. So I spent about a year just trying to kill myself, basically, by doing every self-destructive thing a person can do," she confessed.
"I just didn’t understand. I didn’t understand any of it, like, I had led a sort of a charmed life up until then, even though I grew up dirt-poor," Gayheart said, adding that the accident "turned my world upside down and I lost faith in everything... I questioned God, like, ‘Why me? Why Jorge?'"
After many years, however, Gayheart is in a better place. "Today, I am able to ponder those questions and still realize that I deserve to be happy," the former Jawbreaker star shared. "That I am meant to be on this planet and that I have a purpose and I’m making, living amends for that, even though it was an accident."
These days, Gayheart is working hard to balance her life and work, as well as care for her two daughters -- Billie, 9, and Georgia, 7 -- whom she shares with ex-husband Eric Dane.