Audra McDonald, Tony Awards Winner and Private Practice Actress, Opens Up About Past Suicide Attempt During College

Audra McDonald
Private Practice actress and six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald opened up about her past suicide attempt during an episode of Popcorn with Peter Travers Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

Six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald—also known for her work on the ABC series Private Practice—recently opened up about her suicide attempt in college during an episode of Popcorn with Peter Travers.

"When I was at Juilliard, I had a suicide attempt," the 44-year-old actress said. "I have to say they were very supportive. [Juilliard] put me into a facility—I tried to slit my wrists." (The actress did not give any further information.)

McDonald checked into a mental health hospital after the incident for a month and was told she could return to Juilliard to finish her program when she was ready.

"When someone is suicidal, one of the first things you have to do is to protect them from themselves, and that's what they did," she explained. "They had me on medication to help me in terms of antidepressants."

But before McDonald stepped back into the prestigious school, she was given an opportunity to work in a national tour for Secret Garden. Juilliard told her to first take the offer, noting she seems "happiest" in musical theatre. She eventually went back and graduated in 1993.

McDonald made Broadway history last month when she won her sixth Tony Award for acting, more than any other performer. She was recognized in the Best Leading Actress in a Musical category for her portrayal as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill.

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