Chrissy Metz calls focus on her stepdad’s abuse ‘clickbait’

NEW YORK — Chrissy Metz calls news stories focusing on abusive behaviour by her stepfather while growing up mere “clickbait.”

Metz is one of the stars of NBC’s hit series “This Is Us” and has a new book out called “This Is Me” where she writes about her life, including growing up with a stepfather who sometimes would hit her and was critical of her weight.

“What they fail to leave out is that we have a relationship. I have forgiven him, he’s apologized and I respect him and he was more of a father to me than my biological father.”

Metz says the attention has caused tension in her family.

“I felt so many emotions about it and I still do because my sisters are getting involved… I want him to know that that was never my intention.”

Her purpose, she says, is to share how she got to where she is.

“I didn’t realize that all of these life lessons, these experiences were setting me up for where I’m at today and that’s what I believe the universe does for us. And so by me going through these experiences, I feel like I’m stronger and I can be an advocate for somebody who’s gone through these things or been discriminated against.”

Despite the fallout of sharing her family drama with the public, Metz believes it’s important to be honest.

“I (spoke out) for myself but also, in turn, it’s helping a lot of people and that’s the cherry on top,” she said.

Her stepfather has publicly denied her claims, which Metz says she understands. “It is so hard to accept responsibility for what you’ve done,” said Metz.

Metz told The Associated Press about her “This Is Us” character, being a struggling actress and future goals.

———

AP: Your character, Kate, on “This Is Us” has resonated with so many who can relate to her insecurities, mother issues and bond with her dad. Do people think you are Kate?

Metz: Oh yeah. People think I’m Kate all the time. There are people who just run up and kiss me and I’m like, ‘Oh, hi.’ It takes some getting used to. It’s funny because that’s what they know me as. It’s great that they’re invested.

AP: What was life like for you when you got the role on “This Is Us”?

Metz: These cities (like LA and New York) are expensive to live in and to be an actress with classes and headshots, forget about it. It was always paycheque to paycheque. I was on unemployment for some time… When I booked the role, I was in between paychecks and didn’t even have enough gas to get to the audition. I was living with a friend. (I had) 81 cents in my bank account.

AP: Why be so honest about your ups and downs?

Metz: I told my publicist when I started this whole thing, ‘If I can’t be who I am, I can’t do this.’ I can pretend and play another character on television but I can’t be that in real life. It’s too much. I want to be authentically myself and honest. Sometimes it’s probably to a fault but it is what it is. I want people to know that, yes, I have a great job and it looks very glamorous but I’m not any different. I just have a different job.

AP: You write about confidence struggles in your book. Where are you now with your self-esteem?

Metz: It took me awhile to cultivate a belief in myself and I’m still learning that. There are times I get on the set and I’m like, ‘Am I gonna get fired today? I don’t think I’m a good actress.’ Sometimes it’s just where you’re at mentally and you’ve got to recalibrate.

AP: You’ve got the TV show and a book. What’s on your list next, career-wise?

Metz: I’m the lead of a movie that begins shooting in April. It’s based on a true story called “The Impossible Movie.” I’m over the moon about that. Eventually I’d love to produce and maybe write an episode of “This Is Us.” Maybe do some music and write music. Just help people who I believe in.

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