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Shang-Chi’s Simu Liu Gets Honest About Working To ‘Exhaustion’ And Mental Health Struggles On One-Year Anniversary Of The MCU Film’s Release

Simu Liu in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

On this day one year ago, Simu Liu became a first-time blockbuster star when Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings blew past box office expectations for a record-breaking Labor Day weekend box office debut. The new Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise quickly catapulted Liu into another bracket of stardom after years of being known to viewers for his role in the sitcom Kim’s Convenience. The actor reflected on the one-year anniversary of the MCU flick with some realness in regard to the "exhaustion" and mental health struggles he's experienced. 

Simu Liu recalled that when Shang-Chi hit theaters this time last year, it “completely changed” his life. He called the experience “the absolute best ride,” but also had some honesty about his personal life to divulge. In his words: 

I was suddenly catapulted into a stratosphere I had no business being in, and was woefully unprepared to deal with the mental ramifications of a life lived in public. I felt like I was riding the hell out of the learning curve, crushing all my talk show appearances and interviews, but I was also neglecting to spend the necessary time to check in with myself and prioritize my mental health.

In his Instagram post, the actor shared a photo of himself, co-star Awkwafina and director/co-writer Destin Daniel Cretton at the movie’s world premiere. He wrote about feeling unprepared for the year ahead in which he became a public figure in a big way but left his own well being unchecked. He continued: 

I’ve shot four movies since, currently shooting my fifth, and also published a memoir. I’ve barely had time to breathe because I’ve been so afraid of taking my foot off the gas. I was SO obsessed with the idea of taking up space and representing for my community that I worked nearly myself to exhaustion. And while I am SO proud of my achievements and my work ethic, I know that moving forward something has to change.

That’s right, Simu Liu has been doing a ton since making his big-screen debut as Shang-Chi. As the actor shared, he has shot numerous movies including a romantic drama called One True Loves and Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie alongside Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling. He’s also in a dog adventure with Mark Wahlberg and, recently, Liu signed on to play a villain opposite Jennifer Lopez in a Netflix film. And that’s all without mentioning his bright future in upcoming Marvel movies. He also put out a now-best-selling memoir full of stories about his journey to stardom. 

Though all the hustle and bustle has unfortunately weighed on his personal life a bit, with the actor citing that he’s nearly worked himself to exhaustion over the fear of slowing down and has had to look to himself and make changes. He said this next: 

So today on the anniversary of the release of Shang-Chi I’m especially excited because I’m in therapy and prioritizing my health. I’m healing and well on my way to becoming something more than a superhero; I’m on my way to becoming a good man.(But also stay tuned cause I do love doing this and will continue for many many years to come).

It sounds like Simu Liu’s fame from Shang-Chi has been incredible for the opportunities he’s been given, but he’s had to learn over the course of the year to not do it all and focus on his own mental health. He capped off his post by sharing that he is now seeking the help of a therapist and changing some of his habits in order to craft a healthier lifestyle. 

In a world where we see a lot of content from celebrities or friends and family regarding everyone’s highlight reels and successes, it’s refreshing to see an actor get real with his fans about what’s really going on behind the scenes and normalize prioritizing one’s mental health and seeking therapy. With that said, Happy One Year is Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings! And those who'd like to watch the film to celebrate can stream it with a Disney+ subscription.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.