Rainn Wilson became a comedy star due to his nine-season run on "The Office," but his childhood was no laughing matter, as it was allegedly filled with abuse, trauma, abandonment and a lack of love.
While on The Diary of A CEO podcast, the actor spoke of how his mother "took off" when he was two years old, leaving him to be raised by his highly religious father. The childhood, he said, was "loveless," and it took him 22 years of therapy to come to terms with it. Ironically, Rainn is grateful for the unorthodox upbringing, as he believes his career would suffer if he didn't have those trying experiences.
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"I experienced a lot of pain in my life, and a lot of suffering with anxiety and depression and addiction. As I dove into recovery and the therapeutic process, I can pin that squarely on a lot of gross imbalances and trauma that I suffered as a child," Rainn Wilson, 57, said on the podcast. "It's important to excavate and honor the pain we went through, the lies that we were told, the gaslighting that we might have undergone, religious trauma as well, all kinds of different traumas that we suffer."
When Rainn Wilson was just two years old, his mother exited the equation, leaving him to be raised by his father. "Abandoned toddler, that'll f*** you up, and there was this weird gaslighting mind f***," the actor said. In an impulsive move a year later, Rainn's dad moved them to the "jungles of Nicaragua." Eventually the father-son duo settled in Washington State so Rainn could begin elementary school. During this time, he was being raised in the Baha'i faith community, which believes in the unity and equality of humanity, and in one God. While that might sound like a love-filled home, the opposite actually existed, as Rainn argued that his impressionable years were filled with "rage" and "gaslighting."
"The Meg" actor said he was raised in a "loveless shell of a house" where he encountered "lots of different kinds of abuse."
Acting soon became an interest of Rainn's due to the "acceptance" he felt within the community.
Rainn Wilson actually believes he has a kinship with many comedians because of his hard childhood.
"There's a reason why so many comedians come from painful backgrounds because comedy is what you plug in to shift your perspective away from pain and trauma just like gratitude takes you away from depression," he said. "You see the great comedians of the age and how much suffering they went through in their lives, but comedy became the necessary thing to plug into their perspective in order to carry forward."
He added, "These confluences of pain and difficulty and abuse and neglect, they caused me a lot of suffering later on but at the same time they caused me to be driven and the best version of myself… they made me funny."
Despite being on one of the funniest sitcoms of recent times, Rainn Wilson wasn't exactly "happy" while filming, admitting, "My chronic dissatisfaction fueled my spiritual drive, and fueled my career drive, and my ambition because I wanted more." But, that's not to say he doesn't have an appreciation for "The Office."
"I just need to speak to how deeply gratified I am, that all of us are, that 'The Office' has brought so much serenity and peace and love and upliftment and inspiration to people. Getting on a TV show is one of the hardest things in the world," he said. "And then getting on one that last, and then getting on one that last and is good and then getting on one that last and is good and still has a cultural impact 10 year after it ended – talk about hitting the lottery. We had no idea it would have this kind of impact."