Stephen Fry ‘wanted to take my life’ as he details feeling ‘lost’

Stephen Fry celebrates numbers round win on Countdown

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The national treasure has been a writer, actor, comedian and director throughout his expansive career, with his credits including Black Adder and the film series adaptation of The Hobbit. However, there is a side of Stephen which many people will be completely unaware of. The 65-year-old spoke about his childhood as well as his attempts at suicide in an extremely raw interview with Dragons’ Den star Steven Bartlett on his Diary of a CEO podcast. 

The broadcaster has been in the spotlight for the past four decades and has become renowned for his soothing voice and loveable personality. 

However, he opened up about the darker times in his life with Steven on the latest episode of his Spotify podcast. 

Stephen explained: “I was a deeply difficult child that my parents took me to a psychiatrist when I was 14.”

He added: “I was lost and adrift. And really what I felt wanted to do is to take my life. 

“That started my journey into my mental health.”

Stephen explained he ended up being sent to Pucklechurch Prison for three months on remand for credit card fraud at the age of 17. 

“I started doing weird things,” the actor explained. “I was sent to prison, so the best I could do after a disastrous childhood, I decided, was now concentrate on getting into Cambridge. 

“That changed everything. I want to please people. And if I don’t please them, I get upset. I’ve done it wrong.”

Speaking about the lowest time in his life, Stephen explained: “I just suddenly saw myself as in the wrong place, doing the wrong thing. 

“I wanted to get away from everything I knew and really the first thing I wanted to do was take my life.” 

Steven was taken aback by Stephen’s admission mid-way through their interview. 

“I just wanted out really,” Stephen said. “Wherever I was I wanted to be somewhere else and if it was nowhere that would have been the most perfect place to be.”

He continued: “To anyone who is listening who has had the misfortune and the terror of considering to take their life, they will probably concur with me that there comes a moment where you start saying to yourself, ‘What’s the point?’

“It’s a strange phrase because anyone could say it at any point but there are moments where you say it and you feel there is no point.” 

Stephen went into further detail about the difficult time in his life and how he managed to overcome his struggles. 

He later explored how manic depression can “shroud a mind” for a BBC series in 2006 called The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive. 

Stephen later said he started walking each morning in London and listening to or reading audiobooks to cope. 

“It’s really been a slow process of allowing myself to be who I am and not to fight for my place at the table,” the writer explained. 

“I am who I am and I don’t have to say yes to everything I am asked to do.” 

For support with mental health visit Samaritans at or call 116-123 for free. 

The full interview with Stephen Fry is available to listen to on Diary of a CEO’s Spotify or YouTube channel. 

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