Chrissy Metz's Tragic Real-Life Story

Chrissy Metz has gained worldwide fame since starring in the hit NBC drama This Is Us. Appearing alongside actors Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown, and Justin Hartley, Metz plays Kate Pearson, a 30-something struggling with her body image. Since the series' debut in 2016, the character has been a fan-favorite that many viewers have found incredibly relatable. "You don't realize that somebody who's average or even very fit could relate to someone who's overweight," Metz told People in February 2017, "but it's not about our size — it's how we look at ourselves and how we feel about ourselves."

Despite Metz's on-screen success, we'd wager that most TV fans don't know about the details of the actress' tragic real-life story. From family troubles and heartbreaking issues related to her weight to a failed marriage and financial strain, Metz has gone through a lot over the years. She's overcome a childhood littered with insecurities to emerge into the self-assured woman she is today, but it hasn't been easy for the former American Horror Story star. 

Keep reading to learn all about the toughest moments of Metz's personal life. Be warned though — like This Is Us, Metz's story is a tearjerker.

Her father reportedly skipped out

When Chrissy Metz was just a child, her father, Mark, reportedly left her and her mother. The abandonment undoubtedly left a mark on the actress, who was just 8 years old at the time, reported the Daily Mail). 

Speaking with People magazine in January 2018, Metz revealed that her relationship with her father factors heavily in the content of her memoir, This Is Me: Loving the Person You Are Today. "There is a chapter about our lack of relationship and trying to establish one," the actress said. "But [I realized] that you can only hope that people will want to have a relationship with you. If they do, they do, and if they don't, that's okay, too."

Mentioning that she once read that her father claimed that she had abandoned him, Metz asked, "How does a child abandon their parent?" Still, the actress said she has "a lot of love for him," and it's obvious that she wishes they could grow closer. "But at the end of the day there's only so much you can do. A relationship is a two-way street."

Her stepfather allegedly criticized her weight

After Metz's parents split, the actress' mother eventually remarried, tying the knot with Crayton Hodge, a man Metz called "Trigger." While Trigger was reportedly loving to his own biological children, he kept Metz at a distance, allegedly criticizing her weight at every turn. 

"My body seemed to offend him, but he couldn't help but stare, especially when I was eating," Metz recalled in an excerpt from her memoir (via People). Remembering how her stepfather had "joked about putting a lock on the refrigerator," Metz — who, like other stars, grew up poor — attributed her eating habits to her family's previous lack of food. She explained, "We had lived with a lack of food for so long that when it was there, I felt like I had to eat it before it disappeared."  

Metz shared that she'd eat to gain "the brief bliss of numbness," noting, "Food was my only happiness." Unfortunately, Trigger's alleged behavior toward his stepdaughter went a lot further than nasty comments and hurtful jokes...

She was abused

In her book, Metz claimed that her stepfather, Trigger, abused her as a child, allegedly physically harming her in an apparent response to her weight. Thinking back to the start of the abuse, Metz wrote, "I don't remember why Trigger hit me the first time. He never punched my face. Just my body, the thing that offended him so much" (via People). "He shoved me, slapped me, punched my arm. He would hit me if he thought I looked at him wrong. I remember being on the kitchen floor after he knocked me over, and I was begging to know what I did. He just shoved me hard with his foot."

According to Metz, Trigger was emotionally abusive, as well. She said that when she was 14 years old, he started making her weigh herself in front of him. "He'd get the scale from the bathroom and clang it hard on the kitchen floor," she recalled. "'Well, get on the damn thing!' Trigger would yell. 'This is what you need to know.'"

After getting on the scale, Trigger would allegedly yell things like "Good God almighty!" and "Why are you getting fatter?"

Her first kiss ignored her in public

As if it wasn't enough to face hate from a family member, Chrissy Metz also encountered bullying from her peers, who would make fun of her for her weight. She remembered how boys would flirt with her but would "never want to be in a relationship or date [her] because [she] was the chubby girl" (via People). 

Metz suffered even more heartbreak when her friend's brother, Derek, the boy with whom she'd shared her first kiss, allegedly started ignoring her in public — all because of her weight. Though the pair had shared "one of the most amazing kisses," Derek was apparently hesitant to show Metz any affection when they were among other kids their age. "The next time we were all at [her friend's house], I waited for him to acknowledge me in a real way, not just through his secret signals," Metz wrote in her book. "When he didn't, I decided this was what I needed to settle for — a wink here and there. He couldn't let anyone know he liked the fat girl. Got it."

She couldn't wear the same clothes as her friends

Being a teenager is tough. Like most kids, Metz desperately want to fit in with her peers — after all, nobody wants to feel alone. But because Metz was a larger size than other girls her age, she had trouble blending in with everyone else, especially when it came to fashion. 

"I was the only chubby girl in my friend group," Metz told People in September 2017. "I remember Wet Seal becoming popular when I was in school, but the clothes didn't fit me the same way they fit my friends." She added, "Only Lane Bryant had clothing I could wear."

That experience motivated her to create a personal style at a young age. "I had to make [my style] my own, because otherwise you'd look like someone's grandma and you're 14," she said. In her efforts to define her own trademark look, Metz started trading clothes with friends and even crafting her very own clothes and accessories, making purses from an old container of Baskin Robbins ice cream or from a pair of jeans.

Though Metz was certainly flexing her fashion muscles at a young age, she didn't like it much. "It was terrible," she said. "I had to settle for clothes."

Her first marriage fell apart

Before she gained celebrity status on This Is Us, Metz was married ... and divorced. She tied the knot with British screenwriter Martyn Eaden, whom her mother had called "her first real love," reported Radar Online. Metz and Eaden said their "I do's" in a small ceremony in Santa Barbara, Calif., but their wedded bliss wouldn't last long. After five years of marriage, the couple called it quits in 2013.

Their relationship didn't end well. Eaden filed for divorce from Metz in November 2014, citing "irreconcilable differences," but Metz reportedly didn't respond to the court filing. Instead, the actress is said to have ignored the filing altogether, so in an effort to once again become a single man, Eaden reportedly had to ask the court to declare that his divorce was uncontested — a request which was eventually granted. In December 2015, the couple's split became official.

She was broke

In an article published by Glamour magazine in February 2017, Chrissy Metz revealed that she was broke before she snagged her gig as Kate Pearson on This Is Us. Despite having booked a recurring role as Ima "Barbara" Wiggles in American Horror Story's fourth season, she couldn't find much additional work in Hollywood. "I kept auditioning, with no savings and no money, credit card debt gaining interest," she said. "I went on unemployment. I bought ramen noodles at dollar stores."

Fortunately, with the support of friends and family, Metz never went homeless — though she came close. Recalling her financial situation before securing her part on This Is Us, Metz said, "...I had 81 cents in my bank account." She added, "I could cry right now just thinking about it."

Since raking in some serious cash with her acting career, Metz has paid back everyone she owed money to and has even paid off all of her credit card debt.

She lost a close friend

While Metz has been seen coping with the loss of her TV father, played by actor Milo Ventimiglia, on the small screen, the actress has also had to deal with the passing of a loved one in real life. During an appearance on E!'s Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry, Metz revealed that the life of one of her friends had been cut short. While she couldn't go into the details about the incident — at the time of the show's airing, there was an active investigation into her friend's passing — she shared that she hoped that there would be justice for her late friend.

According to celebrity medium Tyler Henry, Metz will find closure after the loss of her friend. "It's easy when a case is open to think of a person and to focus all on how they died and what happened and the circumstances," he told her. "But when he came through, there was this feeling of understanding that he was so much more than that. And I think justice will be served. I think there will be closure to this."

Hopefully, Metz will be able to find comfort after such a tragic loss.

She's learned to love herself

Fortunately, despite all the hardships that she's gone through, Chrissy Metz has been able to move on with her life, accepting her past for what it was while looking forward to the future. 

"I've found a lot of freedom in speaking my truth," Metz told People magazine while promoting her book, This Is Me: Loving the Person You Are Today. "It's really hard and it's scary because you're vulnerable, but I think the past two years of my life have been so well-received because [the way I play Kate Pearson] and the way that I try to live my life is through vulnerability."

Metz is also happy to be able to portray a woman of her size on the small screen. Speaking to Glamour, she said, "It seems so silly that it's taken this long, but people are finally getting to see themselves through these beautiful projects."

Seriously, could Metz be any more inspiring?