The Hills Star Jason Wahler Opens Up About Attempted Suicide

Marion Curtis/StarPix/REX/Shutterstock
It turns out that becoming a major reality TV personality might not be super great for your mental health. Shocking, we know. But what seems like good drama on MTV can have devastating real life consequences. Jason Wahler sat down with ET and broke down how his stints on Laguna Beach and The Hills contributed to his addiction and eventual breakdown. "I was supposed to go to school and college for baseball, down that path, and the phenomenon of the show came up," Wahler tells host Ashley Crossan, referring to the whirlwind success of Laguna Beach. "Everything transitioned ... There was a lot of pros to this — there was a lot of things that came overnight that were very, very glamorous, I guess you can call it — and that's when that downward spiral happened for me. It ignited my addiction and things started to domino effect right before our own eyes, and before you knew it, it got out of control and I couldn't handle it." Wahler acknowledges that his addictive behavior affected his tumultuous relationship with Lauren Conrad. "Oh my alcoholism, a hundred percent," he tells ET. "I became a totally different person active in my addiction versus when I'm sober and living life in recovery. It's a totally different mentality and thought process. The way my brain operates, it's completely different." While that might have created appealing drama, it had devastating consequences in his personal life. "My addiction drove me to suicide," Wahler tells ET. "Not contemplation. Actually attempting suicide. And somebody found me and that's why I'm still here today. I'm very grateful for that." But he doesn’t blame his addiction problems on the show. He places the blame with himself and with genetics. Still, being on TV couldn’t have helped. "That was going to happen regardless. Addiction is genetic," Wahler tells ET. "There's forms of it. It was going to happen no matter what. The TV show might have ignited it, or added fuel to the fire, but it didn't cause it." Wahler also addressed the question of the reality of reality TV. We’re all wondering this basically all the time when we watch any show. "The relationships were real," Wahler tells ET. "Look, were things reshot and retaken? Yeah. But the relationships, the whole basis of the show, was real. They would set up some stuff, like, 'Hey, we're going to go to dinner and you're going to run into somebody potentially,' but that was as fake as it got. There was no script. There was a production team and stuff, but other than that, it was pretty real." While reality stars growing up and making good choices makes for terrible TV, it’s not a bad story. This is the best we can hope for; that when the lights go out that people find their way into something resembling sane adulthood. Watch the whole interview below.

More from TV

R29 Original Series