Tragic Details About Pete Davidson

Most people became aware of comedian Pete Davidson through his role as "Saturday Night Live's" "resident young person." The Staten Island native's self-deprecating and brutally honest humor is what has helped him stay on the cast of "SNL" for almost eight years, but the sketch comedy show would only be a jumping off point for Davidson's career.

He co-wrote and starred in "The King of Staten Island," and has also appeared in "Suicide Squad." He even has his own Netflix special, "Pete Davidson: Alive from New York."

Davidson himself will be the first to admit that his failed engagement to Ariana Grande "made me all famous and stuff," as he told First We Feast. Since that highly publicized relationship ultimately failed, his status has helped him charm some of Hollywood's hottest women, including Kate Beckinsale, Kaia Gerber, and Kim Kardashian. Nowadays, his "BDE" and romantic relationships have become embedded in pop culture, but the star still struggles with some things from his past, including mental health issues. Let's look into tragic details about Pete Davidson. 

The actor's dad died in 9/11

Pete Davidson's life changed forever when his dad, Scott, a firefighter with the FDNY's Ladder 118, died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Pete was 7 years old at the time and felt the absence of his father as he got older. However, in true Davidson fashion, he often uses the tragedy as a punchline. Luckily, those who knew Scott said he was a big fan of stand-up comedy, so hopefully he would've laughed with his son.

"I have a lot of jokes about it, and if you don't like the first one, you probably won't like the rest," Davidson warned the crowd during his "Pete Davidson SMD" Comedy Central special. Davidson went on to say he is "lucky" his dad died when he was young because it would've been harder for him to process as an adult. "Like I remember my dad died and my mom was like, 'your dad's dead, but we got you a PlayStation 2.' And I was like 'yeah cool. That sounds about even,'" Davidson joked.

He also paid respect to his dad in his semi-autobiographical movie "The King of Staten Island." Davidson plays a tattoo artist named after his dad, who is dealing with the loss of his father and trying to keep his cool after his mom starts dating again.

He struggles with depression

Pete Davidson has never been one to shy away from talking about his mental health. In fact, he often uses "Weekend Update" as a platform to share stories, and of course, jokes, about his struggles. In 2017, he suggested the importance of seeking medical help and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, before handling it Pete-style. "And if you're in the cast of a late night comedy show, it might help if they, you know, do more of your sketches," Davidson joked.

In 2020, Davidson told Charlamagne Tha God that he still can't shake the feeling, but does have better coping skills than he once did. "I'm always depressed all the time. I wake up depressed, but now I know my steps," he said. "I have to go outside and be in sun for a little bit, or go for a walk. It's all just programming yourself to trick your brain."

Pete Davidson has had suicidal thoughts

Pete' Davidson's anxiety, depression, and drug use has led to multiple trips to rehab for the young comedian. "I've been in and out of mental health facilities since I was 9," he told Variety. "I tried to drown myself in the pool when I was in the fourth or fifth grade. I was trying to get my head stuck in the ladder in the deep end, so I would not be able to get up."

His mom, Amy, said she tried to help her son through his days by bribing him with going to New York City do stand-up. "We had a deal! That's how he made it through high school," she said. "He is one of the strongest and bravest people I know."

Davidson's struggles continued in 2018 when he posted a concerning letter on Instagram, writing he "didn't want to be on this earth anymore," then deleting his account. This came after he and Grande broke off their engagement, and many outlets blame the intense microscope he was under for reaching this breaking point. Davidson's bestie, Machine Gun Kelly, rushed to be by his side when he saw the post. Grande reportedly tried to meet up with him, too, but Davidson did not want to see her.

The comedian has Crohn's disease

Pete Davidson was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, an inflammatory bowel disease that affects the lining of the digestive tract, when he was around 18 years old. Davidson said he was prescribed multiple medicines to help ease the pain of the condition, but medical marijuana was the only thing that worked.

"I'd smoke and I'd be able to eat and be able to do my shows," he told High Times in 2016. "I wouldn't be able to do 'SNL' if I didn't smoke weed. I wouldn't be able to do anything really. Me performing not high has gone awful."

In 2016, he went to rehab because he had "mental breakdowns" where he wouldn't remember what happened until "after I broke something or after I came to." He told Marc Maron on the WTF Podcast that he thought it was the weed, but that wasn't the case. The doctors in rehab thought he might be bipolar, so they prescribed him medicine to help treat it. Davidson said he weaned himself off the pills and continued to smoke weed instead. But that didn't help, either. He then went to a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with and given medicine for borderline personality disorder.

He's been to rehab multiple times

While Pete Davidson said he does do drugs, a lot of his rehab stints are to get his head right and find the proper dose of medication. "I don't think going to rehab is that big of a deal," he said. "I think it's a really strong, powerful thing, and some of the most beautiful, cool people you'll ever meet are there," he said in his interview with Charlamagne Tha God (who himself has been vocal about raising awareness for mental health). Davidson likens his stints with getting readjustments. 

In addition, the comedian said he has a good group of friends around him that aren't afraid to tell him when it's time to seek treatment. "We're at a point where like people will come over and be like 'hey, we're all ... pissed and terrified. Not pissed, but like 'we're all terrified so you should go.' I got a good group around me" who care about him.

The actor got tattoos to cover self-harm scars

Pete Davidson is also well-known for being covered in tattoos. He once had over 70 of them, in fact, ranging from his dad's firefighter helmet to artwork supporting his love of Harry Potter. But the reason he started getting tatted may not be why people think. "I cut my chest. That is why I started getting tatts on my chest to cover [the cut marks]. It's like a release," Davidson said on Charlamagne Tha God's podcast. "[When I'm] so manic and so upset, sometimes that's the only thing that works for me."

As Davidson's movie career started to take off, he found himself spending extra time in the makeup chair to cover his tattoos. In 2021, he made the decision to get them removed. Davidson told Seth Meyers that the process isn't only painful because they're burning his skin, but also because his doctor audibly describes his each tattoo to make sure he wants it removed.

"All of a sudden, I'll just hear, 'Are we keeping the Stewie Griffin smoking the blunt?' and then I have to sit there and be like, 'No, Dr. G,'" Davidson laughed. He also turned this personal decision into a business move by poking fun at the process in a SmartWater commercial.

Pete Davidson vs. SNL cast

Depending on the day, Pete Davidson has conflicting thoughts on how he's treated by his "SNL" costars. In his early years on the show, he often mentioned that he didn't belong on the cast and that they never took his sketch ideas. "I personally think I should be done with that show because they make fun of me," he told Charlamagne tha God in 2020. "I'm like cold open, political punchlines, I'm like weekend update jokes ... when I'm not there. They'll be like 'ha ha ha, but Pete's a f****n jerk face, and you're like 'whose side are you on.' I have a weird feeling in that building where I don't know ... if I'm the joke or I'm in on the joke."

Rumors of the cast being upset with Davidson swirled in 2022 when The Sun reported he had become a diva and was missing rehearsals to spend time with girlfriend Kim Kardashian. An NBC spokesperson responded to the claim, telling Us, "no rehearsals have been missed." 

Davidson and fellow "SNL" cast member Colin Jost, at least, seem to have a smooth enough relationship to be business partners outside of work. In early 2022, the two bought a retired Staten Island ferry boat together that they reportedly want to turn into a comedy club.