'The Bachelorette' Fan Favorite Ben Smith Reveals Past Suicide Attempts
By Jennifer Drysdale
Ben Smith is getting vulnerable on The Bachelorette. The fan favorite got his first one-on-one date with Tayshia Adams on Tuesday's episode of the ABC dating show, during which he got deep about his past, and revealed two failed suicide attempts.
"I was raised in a house where being perfect was expected, or being a certain way was expected. You have to look the part, you have to do all the things a certain way. I had everything I needed, materially, but I think often I was left wanting emotionally," Ben told Tayshia, as she encouraged him to let his walls down.
Ben continued, revealing that he left home when he was 18 and joined the Army. "I've just been conditioned to be this person that even when I'm feeling vulnerable, I default to what's comfortable. It's easier for me to do this than to say the wrong thing or be overtly vulnerable or share a thing that's really uncomfortable for me," he explained.
Tayshia asked Ben if he was close with his family, to which he brought up his sister, who previously helped him with his 15-year battle with an eating disorder. "She's the best person I know, and she's saved my life in more ways than one," Ben said.
"How did she help you?" Tayshia asked.
"2018 was a rough year for me. I left a career that I thought I was going to be in forever. The Army didn't end up working out for me, for a number of reasons, but I ended up breaking my back pretty bad, and I'm 26 years old, and I can barely walk up the steps, and I was living in a city that was too expensive for me, and I was completely lost," Ben shared. "My life was very dark, and I didn't know how to say that I needed things. I don't know if you can relate with that, or how that can be. The only person I confided in was my sister, and I'm trying to give you the whole picture."
After taking a contemplative pause, Ben committed to going "deep."
"I had two failed suicide attempts in 2018 and 2019," he said. "I don't mean to, like, throw that on you. It's a weird thing to do here. My sister, she doesn't know, and I guess she'll know now."
"But I didn't want to be here anymore, and for the same reason that I don't like to share, it's because I didn't want to burden anybody with my problems," Ben continued. "And I thought that the easiest way was to just not be around. Luckily, it didn't work. And the only thing that got me through that was her, and she has no idea. She saved my life, and so I owe her everything."
Ben said he didn't want to worry his sister, and that he never found the right time to tell her about how much she helped him.
"Through being very intentional and aggressive with my therapy, the person that you see before you today, isn't that person," he told Tayshia. "It's insane that I just told you that, because I don't tell you that I was very scared about sharing all of those things, and I'm OK."
"You're OK," Tayshia assured him. "And I'm still right here. I see you and I hear you, and that's all I've been wanting. I've been wanting you to open up to me... you're an amazing person."
"I don't want to cry, but thank you," Ben replied. "It literally means the world to me."
Tayshia then offered Ben the rose. "I'm so incredibly happy that you're here. I'm so happy you were able to take the steps so we're able to progress our relationship."
She further praised Ben for opening up while speaking to the camera. "It makes me feel like he trusts me, and it's the breakthrough I think we needed to have to take the next step in our relationship," she shared.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Next week, The Bachelorette will air Monday and Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.