Audra McDonald is the most decorated actress in Broadway history. In June she won her sixth Tony Award for her performance as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.
But life for McDonald wasn’t always this rosy.
“When I was [in college] at Juilliard, I had a suicide attempt,” she said in a recent interview for Popcorn With Peter Travers on ABC. “I tried to slit my wrist.”
McDonald notes that it was a combination of Juilliard staff, antidepressants and career opportunities that helped her get better. “When someone is suicidal, one of the first things you have to do is to protect them from themselves,” the 44-year-old actress told Travers. “They had a mental-health facilitator there, a therapist there, and they checked me into a mental-health hospital, where I was for a month, and got me the help I needed.”
Once the clouds began to part for McDonald, the actress notes, Juilliard began pushing her toward landing her first major role. “Juilliard was like … ‘We think that that musical theater thing is more for you anyway. That seems to be where you’re the happiest,’ ” she told Travers. “I went out and did Secret Garden, and then I came back and finished Juilliard.”
McDonald would land her next role in Carousel, and success would soon follow. The actress has been married to Broadway actor Will Swenson since 2012 and is the mother to a teen daughter.
Read more at ABC News.