March 16 (UPI) — Former child actor Jonathan Lipnicki revealed he struggled with bullying in his teen years after starring in Jerry Maguire.
Lipnicki shared a message to Instagram celebrating the fact he has now appeared in more films as an adult than he did as a child and reflected on how he was bullied following his role as Ray Boyd alongside Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger and Cuba Gooding Jr. in the 1996 film.
“As a kid/teen I was made fun of relentlessly by some people who are now even my friends on [Facebook],” Lipnicki wrote. “I was told I was a has-been and would never book a job again. I was made to feel like garbage every day of middle school to the point where I had a panic attack every night before school, because I wondered how I would get through the next day.”
He added that although the bullying continued through high school he continued to pursue his acting goals and encouraged others facing bullying to do the same.
“Chase your dreams, it’s amazing how mean people peak in their teens,” he wrote. “Thank you to everyone who has supported and continues to support me. I love you and I hope that sharing this can shed a little light in a positive way.”
Lipnicki said he was experiencing anxiety about sharing the message, but decided to follow through because “being bullied is a universal problem.”
He also clarified that he did not see himself as a victim, but hoped his post would provide hope for others facing similar difficulties.
“As much as it is easier said than done, overcoming being bullied is a reality and I hope this resonates with all of you,” he said.