'The victim of my own moods': Stephen Fry reveals suicide attempt in 2012, adding TV producer saved his life

'It was a close-run thing... my body convulsed so much that I broke four ribs'

Stephen Fry has revealed that a producer saved his life after he tried to commit suicide by taking a cocktail of drugs and alcohol last year.

The comic actor, who was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder, has previously spoken publicly about his battles with depression.

He shocked a central London audience attending a recording of comic Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast by disclosing that the drastic mood swings which he suffers from had prompted an attempt to take his own life.

The incident occurred when he was filming on location. A producer found his unconscious body, which had been convulsing violently, on a hotel room floor and sough medical help. Fry was taken to hospital where he made a full recovery.

"It was a close-run thing. I took a huge number of pills and a huge amount of [alcohol]. The mixture of them made my body convulse so much that I broke four ribs - but I was still unconscious," Fry said, according to the Chortle website.

The QI host continued: "Fortunately the producer - I was filming at the time - came into the hotel room and I was found in an unconscious state and taken back and looked after.

You may say, 'How can anybody who's got it all be so stupid as to want to end it all?' That's the point, there is no 'why?' That's not the right question. There is no reason. If there was reason for it, you could reason someone out of it."

Fry explained: "I am the victim of my own moods, more than most people are perhaps, in as much as I have a condition which requires me to take medication so that I don't get either too hyper or too depressed to the point of suicide."

His honest confession came in response to the innocuous question from the 12-year-old son of one of producers: "What's it like being Stephen Fry?" As president of Mind (mental health charity), Fry said he felt a duty to speak about "the likelihood of death amongst people certain mood disorders."

Asked what normally prevents him acting on suicidal impulses, Fry said: "Sometimes it's the expression I imagine on my mother and father's face - both of whom are alive and happy - that stops me. But there are other occasions when I can't stop myself, or at least I feel I can't."

He said he felt unable to talk to friends about his condition. "All my friends and family, when they eventually heard about it (the suicide attempt), came to visit me in hospital all said, 'Well, why didn't you call?'

"I like to think that if I had children I would think harder about doing it, but I know people who have had children who have done it."

He explained his predicament: "If unmedicated there are times when I am so exuberant, so hyper, that I can go three or four nights without sleep and I'm writing and I'm doing stuff and I'm so grandiose and I'm so full of self-belief it's almost impossible to deal with me. I can't stop speaking. I go on shopping sprees. One of the common signs of mania, or hypermania, is sexual exhibitionism - fortunately I don't have that."

Fry concluded: "There are times when I'm doing QI and I'm going 'ha ha, yeah, yeah', and inside I'm going 'I want to fucking die. I... want... to... fucking... die.'"

Fry, who describes his condition as "bipolar lite", suffered a nervous breakdown in 1995 while appearing in a West End play called Cell Mates and subsequently walked out of the production, prompting its early closure.

His spoke about his experience with bipolar disorder in a BBC documentary, Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive.

Arts and Entertainment
Shades of glory: Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend

Glastonbury Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will perform with Paul Weller as their warm-up act

Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Arts and Entertainment

Will Poulter will play the shape-shifting monsterfilm
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power