‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ star Lisa Jakub reveals how Robin William helped her battle anxiety, depression

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Lisa Jakub will never forget how Robin Williams stood by her side during tough times.

The former actress played the late star’s teenage daughter in the 1993 comedy “Mrs. Doubtfire.” The 42-year-old recalled how Williams, who passed away in 2014 at age 63, supported her as she struggled with her mental health.

In a recent interview with Yahoo! Entertainment, Jakub detailed how Williams stood up for her when her high school told her not to come back because they weren’t equipped for remote learning while she worked on set. Jakub said Williams wrote a letter asking the school to reconsider their decision and vouched for her work ethic.

“It’s just the fact that he would do that for someone, that he would go out of his way,” Jakub told the outlet.

Jakub was ultimately kicked out of the school. However, she never forgot what Williams did for her. Jakub admitted she doesn’t know if Williams ever knew how much his actions meant to her.

Robin Williams in the kitchen in a scene from the film ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’, 1993. 
(Photo by 20th Century-Fox/Getty Images))

And it wasn’t the only time Williams offered a helping hand. She credited him for helping her cope with anxiety and depression.

“Robin was everything that you would hope he would be, and he was very open and honest with me about his issues with anxiety and depression,” Jakub explained. “I was able to share with him that anxiety was something that I struggled with, and he would talk to me about mental health issues in a way that 14-year-olds aren’t used to adults being really open about those sorts of personal experiences with them.”

Jakub also told the outlet that Williams warned her about addiction and substance abuse, which he struggled with. She said his advice “shifted” her life, especially as a child star.

Jakub went on to star in 1996’s “Independence Day” and 1997’s “The Beautician and the Beast” before the actress took a step back from her Hollywood career.  

“At the age of 22, I realized that there must be more to life than premieres and pretending to be other people,” she shared on her website. “I suspected there was something outside of movies that would feel more authentic to me. I left the film industry under the guise of following a man I loved to Virginia. Luckily, the man I loved really was in Virginia, so it all worked out and we lived happily ever after in our version of a Hollywood ending.”

Lisa Jakub took a step back from Hollywood at age 22.
(Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Today, Jakub teaches workshops for mental wellness. She previously wrote a book about battling anxiety and depression.

Williams took his life after suffering from Lewy Body Dementia, a brain disease that impacts memory and movement control.  

“Robin stood up for me,” Jakub wrote in her blog at the time. “He was in my corner. I was only 14, but I had already seen that I was in an industry that was full of back-stabbing. And it was entirely clear that Robin had my back.”

“… Even though I had not spoken with Robin in a very long time, I always assumed there would be some future opportunity to tell him that his letter changed my life,” she continued. “It taught me that you stand up for the things that matter. And even if your attempts fail, you tried. You told the truth. You took care of your friends. You fought back.

“None of us really know what fights Robin was battling but I know his struggles were not uncommon. It’s estimated that 16 million people in the US have struggled with depression – and I include myself in that statistic. It’s real and it’s not shameful and there is help available.”

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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