The untold truth of Verne Troyer

Verne Troyer, most famous for starring as Mini-Me in the Austin Powers franchise, died on April 21, 2018, at just 49 years old.

"It is with great sadness and incredibly heavy hearts to write that Verne passed away today," a statement on the actor's Facebook page reads. "Verne was an extremely caring individual. He wanted to make everyone smile, be happy, and laugh. Anybody in need, he would help to any extent possible. Verne hoped he made a positive change with the platform he had and worked towards spreading that message everyday."

Troyer, who stood at 2 feet, 9 inches, was born with achondroplasia dwarfism.

No cause of death has been given as of this writing, but there's been an outpouring of sympathy for the loss of the star from celebrities including Slash, Ludacris, Marley Matlin, Dean Cain, and Tony Hawk.

His Austin Powers co-star, Mike Myers, told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement, "Verne was the consummate professional and a beacon of positivity for those of us who had the honor of working with him. It is a sad day, but I hope he is in a better place. He will be greatly missed."

Though Troyer was often the life of every party and quick to make the world laugh, there was a whole other side to his life that the world often didn't get to see — a side that was often heartbreaking and much darker than the funny man everyone thought they knew from the screen.

He may have been suicidal

An exact cause of Verne Troyer's death hasn't yet been revealed as of this writing, but just weeks before his untimely passing, TMZ reported that police and EMTs rushed to Troyer's home after a friend of the Surreal Life star had called 911, claiming Troyer was "extremely upset, drunk, and suicidal."

Troyer was hospitalized for "poisoning," though privacy laws prohibited authorities from specifying whether the poisoning was alcohol-related.

It appears both Troyer's physical and mental health were in jeopardy at the time. The Blast reported that Troyer was placed under an involuntary psychiatric hold following the incident.

Reps for the actor didn't comment on the nature of his hospitalization directly, but asked fans via Instagram to "keep Verne in your thoughts and prayers. He's getting the best care possible and is resting comfortably." After his death, Troyer's team seemed to hint that he had in fact attempted to take his own life, noting in a statement on his Facebook page, "Depression and suicide are very serious issues. You never know what kind of battle someone is going through inside."

He battled the bottle

Verne Troyer's April 2018 hospitalization seemed like an almost tragic deja vu. In April 2017, Troyer was hospitalized for alcohol addiction, after which he immediately checked into rehab to battle his demons.

"As you know, I've battled alcohol addiction in the past and while it's not always been an easy fight, I'm willing to continue my fight day by day," Troyer told People in a statement at the time. "I've been receiving treatment for the last week and I am voluntarily checking into a treatment center later this week to continue to get the help that I need."

Troyer struggled with alcoholism for more than a decade prior to his death. He was hospitalized in October 2002 for alcohol poisoning, after which he sought treatment. However, The National Enquirer (via Radar Online) reported that by February 2003 that Troyer had fallen off the wagon, and had re-entered rehab by December 2006.

He may have been a sex addict

Booze may not have been Verne Troyer's only vice. The National Enquirer (via Radar Online) reported that Troyer suffered from sex addiction. He openly admitted to engaging in orgies, including at least one encounter at the Playboy Mansion in 2005, in which Troyer and a friend hooked up with three Playboy Bunnies.

Troyer's ex-wife Genevieve Gallen, a former Playmate herself, told Radar Online in April 2017, "He told me that he'd had huge numbers of girls." She explicitly referred to him as a sex addict in a 2009 interview with the now-defunct News Of The World.

Troyer's relationship with Gallen was a complicated one. They dated off and on for years, and he was hospitalized in late-2002 for alcohol poisoning after he tried drowning his sorrows post-split, Female First UK reported. Still, they gave it another go, and Gallen was married to Troyer for a short time in 2004 before they called it quits for good. Gallen claimed it wasn't Troyer's size that led to their split, but his inability to keep other women off of him.

He suffered from numerous health problems

Verne Troyer's alcohol addiction wasn't his only health struggle. Achondroplasia dwarfism comes with its own potential issues: The National Institute of Health reports that those living with the condition, in which cartilage won't properly convert to bones (especially long bones in arms and legs), may also suffer from recurrent ear infections, apnea (a respiratory condition in which one may involuntarily stop or slow their breathing temporarily), curvature of the spine, back pain, and spinal stenosis (pain or tingling in the lower extremities that can cause weakness in the legs and trouble walking).

In addition to the health complications resulting from his dwarfism, Troyer also had other medical problems that may have been unrelated to his life-long condition. In March 2015, TMZ reported that Troyer suffered a seizure during a meet-and-greet with fans at the Heart of Texas Comic Con. Troyer had trouble breathing and was hospitalized, where he ran through "a battery of tests," but was given a clean bill of health shortly after and released.

He didn't take the M-word lightly

Verne Troyer had a fantastic sense of humor and often poked fun at himself and his short stature first and foremost, but that didn't mean he accepted slurs about those lacking in height. When UFC fighter Jon Jones called fellow fighter Daniel Cormier a "mental m***et" ahead of a scheduled match in April 2016, well, those were fightin' words for Troyer.

"It's not a proper term," Troyer told TMZ. "[The word is used by] people that just aren't very bright, and aren't conscious of other people. They're just naive and, I would say, stupid … I think [he] shouldn't say it, but apologize, yeah. You just shouldn't say it. Nobody should." He added of Jones, "I hope he loses!"

Months later, Troyer told Oprah: Where Are They Now (via People) that as a child, he jumped in the air, packed a mean punch, and gave a bully a bloody nose when he was a child for using the M-word to describe him. He explained, "That's just derogatory slang — the proper thing to say is either little person or dwarf."

He was raised Amish — and it almost killed him

Verne Troyer's immediate family was Amish when he was growing up, but they left the church while he was still a child. Though he admits that their lifestyle, which shuns electricity and modern technology, wasn't a good fit for him, he doesn't look down on it.

He explained to The Guardian, "The best part of growing up Amish is that it's a very tight-knit community. If you fall on hard times or something bad happens, your neighbors pitch in to support you and get you back on your feet … Looking back, I wonder how I survived in the Amish community. I can barely live without my phone and internet access now. But when I go back I still get into that culture. I can even drive a horse and buggy."

Indeed, Troyer almost literally didn't survive growing up Amish. He revealed on Oprah: Where Are They Now in September 2016 that he nearly died from cradle death as an infant because his family didn't have a way to get him to a hospital quickly. Thankfully, a cousin came through and he was able to receive proper care and make a full recovery.

An ex accused him of abuse

In November 2009, one of Verne Troyer's ex-girlfriends, Yvette Monet, filed a temporary restraining order against him. In documents obtained by Radar Online, Monet claimed that Troyer owned a gun and threatened her numerous times despite her requests that he stop contacting her, making her fear for her life.

Troyer denied all of Monet's allegations, telling TMZ that not only were her accusations untrue, but that he only heard about them once reports about the protective order hit the Internet. Troyer also claimed that he only dated Monet briefly, and that she dumped him almost immediately after he cut her a check for $2,000 to cover her own bills (even though she couldn't produce any of the actual bills for Troyer to look over). TMZ reported just one day later that a judge denied Monet's request to make the temporary protective order permanent, ruling that Troyer wasn't actually a threat to her.

He appeared in a sex tape (and sued over it)

In 2008, a sex tape starring Verne Troyer and an ex-girlfriend, Ranae Shrider, hit the Internet.

TMZ obtained a snippet of the tape, then reported days later that Shrider was shopping it around to buyers, hoping to make a minimum of $25,000. Troyer was humiliated at the tape's release and promptly requested a federal injunction to block the video's release, according to The Hollywood Reporter, after previously settling with a pornography distributor and broker to block them from releasing the tape.

Documents obtained by the outlet also revealed that Troyer had claimed that the tape was stolen because Shrider had "tearfully" told him she didn't know how the video got out prior to her allegedly actively and openly shilling the sex tape. In his court documents, Troyer claimed that dissemination of the sex tape was an invasion of privacy, a copyright violation, and a misappropriation of his likeness, voice, and name. He also claims that the sex tape was recorded "at the insistence" of Shrider.

In the lawsuit, Troyer demanded $20 million from Shrider, who TMZ reported would later attempt, unsuccessfully, to get her own pictorial in Playboy. Classy!

He accused his ex of battery

In addition to suing Ranae Shrider for disseminating their sex tape, Verne Troyer also alleged that Shrider physically abused him during their brief relationship. In court documents obtained by TMZ, Troyer, who weighed about 40 pounds, accused the 5'5", 110-pound Shrider of forcefully grabbing him, throwing him to the floor, pinning him to the wall, stole his medication, broke a video camera, called him derogatory names, and broke into his home. (Yikes.)

Shrider denied the claims, but did speak to The Mirror about her intimate life with Troyer, alleging that they only slept together six times throughout their relationship because she wasn't attracted to him and didn't enjoy their nookie. She claimed that Troyer treated her "like a slave," griping, "I was like his assistant but he never paid me. Before I left the house I would have to open the top of every drink bottle as Verne's wrists are too weak. After that I would buy his groceries and carry them home and cook dinner … and not once did I get a thank-you."

She also accused Troyer of cheating and being a cheapskate who bought her fake diamonds, as well as an aggressive drunk, but said she could tolerate his behavior if he'd just been more romantic. Right.