After Wil Wheaton Opens Up About Trauma He Went Through Filming Stand By Me, His Former Co-Star Jerry O’Connell Reaches Out

Despite being in popular shows and movies like The Big Bang Theory, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Toy Soldiers, actor Wil Wheaton opened up in recent years about the traumatic experiences he had off and on set in Hollywood. But his issues were below the surface as none of his co-stars knew about his pain. The actor kept his problems so secret that his Stand By Me co-stars had no inkling of any trouble. After hearing about Wheaton’s traumatic childhood, Stand By Me’s Jerry O’Connell felt the need to reach out.

The Star Trek: TNG alum has been open in recent years about the alleged emotional abuse he suffered at the hands of his parents. He claimed his actress mother manipulated him into becoming an actor. But it was reportedly the emotional trauma inflicted by his father that informed his performance in the classic coming-of-age drama. He felt a connection with the emotionally distant Gordie Lachance as both lived in the shadow of their brothers and were treated as scapegoats for familial problems.

But his co-stars weren’t aware of his family life as Wheaton and O’Connell shared a touching moment on the latter’s daytime talk show The Talk. The former was on the show to promote his memoir Still Just a Geek: An Annotated Memoir. Hearing his former co-star open up about his familial struggles provoked the Jerry Maguire actor to give a heartfelt response.

I heard before you talk about some of the struggles you were going through during Stand By Me. And while I was 11 at the time, that’s an excuse. I do want to apologize for not being there more for you when you were younger. I want to say in the bigger picture, you never know what someone is going through when you’re with them. I don’t feel guilt, but I just wanted to say I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you more.

It was commendable for the host to offer words of comfort despite not knowing about the actor’s circumstances. Jerry O'Connell was clearly moved by Wheaton’s story. While Wil Wheaton appreciated O’Connell’s kind words, he reminded the talk show host that he was 11 years old when they filmed the cult classic. The TV icon put everything into perspective by admitting he hid the abuse from everyone around him.

While acting came naturally to him, Wil Wheaton seemingly felt his whole acting career was a little traumatic for him. The film and TV actor admitted at one point begging his mother to stop sending him on auditions as a kid. But he doesn’t want fans to pity him or his work as he is grateful and proud of his work as a prolific child actor. So viewers can still love and cherish his past work despite the pain he experienced in his personal life.

Opening more about the alleged child abuse he suffered is just part of his journey explored in his memoir. He spoke on his not-so-pleasant experience with William Shatner and dealing with a Wesley-hating tech writer on the Star Trek TNG set. But if you want to revisit Wheaton’s standout performance in Stand By Me, you can view the coming-of-age film by subscribing to Netflix or Amazon Prime.

Adreon Patterson
News Writer

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).