The world knows Jim Carrey as the fantastically funny, Golden Globe-winning comedian from Canada. He is one of Hollywood’s favorite actors, known for his roles in Ace Ventura, Dumb and Dumber, and The Mask. Though in public he’s rarely seen without a smile on his face and a quick joke up his sleeve, the reality is that his life has been anything but a laughing matter.
Jim Carrey’s Life Is Not As Funny As It Seems
Jim Carrey has dedicated his life to making people laugh. He’s been rather successful at it, too, with a number of critically acclaimed and cult-classic comedies to his name. Unfortunately, his life has not been easy by any stretch. In fact, it has been rather difficult – even after he gained fame and fortune. (1)
The Early Years
Jim Carrey had a pretty tough and lonely childhood. His parents were both smokers and he had a deep fear of them dying. Always the entertainer, he was the life of the party making people laugh in one room and curled up in a ball crying in the other. His mother, specifically, struggled with various aspects of her health and spoke of it often.
“I remember locking myself in the bathroom and crying because I thought they were going to die. They banged on the door, telling me to come out. I don’t know if I got over that fear at that time; it was just kind of with me.” he recalled. (2)
He spent much of his time alone in his room and didn’t have very many friends. He certainly did not have a normal childhood.
“I spent most of my time in my room staring at a mirror. I never knew I was supposed to socialize. I just spent hours making faces at myself, having a good time.” (3)
Their family was never what you would consider well-off, but they always had a home. That is, until Carrey was about 14 or 15 years old. At that time, his father lost his job. This put the family in quite a bad financial situation and they were actually homeless for a time.
“But of course, I grew up in Canada and I thought we’d gone camping,” he’s joked on stage before.
Jim Carrey then dropped out of school around the time to begin dedicating his whole life to gaining money as a comedian. He didn’t have much of a choice – their family needed the money. He began doing comedy professionally at the age of 17 and by 22 he was one of the most recognized comedians in Hollywood.
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Professional Success Does Not Translate To Personal Life
Carrey has been rather open about his struggles with depression. He’s been quoted before saying that with therapy and medications, he has finally reached a place where he is “sometimes happy”. He has said that acting has been both a very positive and a somewhat negative influence in his life.
“I act because I’m broken in a lot of pieces and acting gives me a chance to reconfigure those pieces into a thousand different things that are positive for people to watch. And eventually I will be ground down into a fine powder and …” he said in an interview. (4)
Fame has always been difficult for him to deal with. He had so much success, especially in the 90s, that the press made nearly every aspect of his life public. It had quite an impact on his life and his relationships, not to mention his mental health.
“[What’s written about him in the press is] 90 percent myth as well. So that’s a tough thing to deal with. People create your life. They take elements that are true and they put it in an article so that article looks legit, and yet there’s so much of the article that isn’t true. So that’s something to teach you that, “Hey, you know what? In order to go forward, I have to let go of what this creation is,” Carrey said. “I ultimately found that even the me I created wasn’t real, so that left me in an odd situation. Many of the things I do have to do with the disappointment of creating a winning personality in the world and then, eventually, for your own sanity and freedom, letting it go.”
Jim Carrey has had a number of marriages and relationships that have not ended well. He has a daughter with his first wife, then he later married another co-star that lasted only a matter of months. Other relationships were always wrought with rumors in the press. One of his girlfriends, a makeup artist from one of his films, took her own life while the couple was still dating. The family blamed Carrey for it, saying that he gave her multiple STDs which caused her depression, and then provided her with the drugs to deal with it that eventually, she used to overdose on. This, naturally, took a huge toll on the actor.
Learning To Only Worry About Himself
A key to how Carrey has made it out of some dark times in his life was learning to stop worrying about others. Instead of trying to be or do what other people want or expect him to be or do, he decided to just be himself.
“I dropped the whole trying to be something for somebody a long time ago. I don’t feel there is a pressing responsibility to please everyone. I’m not unkind to people, but I would much prefer saying hello and who are you and what are you doing today to giving a selfie. Because selfies stop life. You go (contorts his face), “Eeehh.” And then it’s going on Instagram to give people a false sense of relevance.”
Despite everything, Jim Carrey has persevered and continued to bring laughter and smiles to people around the world. His goal has always been to make others happy, even if he was struggling to make himself feel that way.
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- “The Tragedy Of Jim Carrey Just Keeps Getting Sadder And Sadder.” Youtube. Nicki Swift. April 10, 2019.
- “Jim Carrey on How His Childhood Fears Inspired His New Kids’ Book ‘How Roland Rolls’.” Hollywood Reporter. Ashley Lee. September 24, 2013.
- “New Again: Jim Carrey.” Interview Magazine. Staff and Betsy Borns. May 28, 2014.
- ““I Get Angry at Myself When I Play It Safe”: Jim Carrey, Sacha Baron Cohen and The Hollywood Reporter Comedy Actor Roundtable.” Hollywood Reporter. Lacey Rose. June 18, 2019.