Dean McDermott Almost Died By Suicide After Taking Sleeping Pills During Drunken Rage Amid Tori Spelling Split
Dean McDermott is continuing to open up about his dark past.
Earlier this week, the Chopped Canada host opened up for the first time about how his drinking problems ruined his marriage to Tori Spelling and caused his kids to be “petrified” of him. Now? He has a lot more to say about that…
Speaking again to DailyMail.com on Thursday (his 57th birthday), Dean revealed he has been struggling with addiction problems for pretty much his whole life — and it all led up to his issues this summer. After spending every night drinking tequila and taking pills while his wife and their five kids, Liam, 16, Stella, 15, Hattie, 11, Finn, 10, Beau, 6, sat in another room, he reached a breaking point on June 15 when he shockingly took to Instagram to announce his divorce — and then quickly deleted the post, making the whole world wonder what was going on. Recalling this emotional night, he said:
“My worst memory with Tori is that last fight when I was drunk and angry. It was the night that I raged against her and the children and I saw the light, the final flicker of the flame go out in her eyes. I posted that because I was at the end of my rope. I didn’t know what to do. I had burned everything down yet again.”
He now thinks the whole thing was a cry for help — including his decision to swallow a handful of Ambien pills before going to bed, he continued:
“I was literally at my wit’s end. That night, I was drinking and I was into my pills. After I sent the post, I took some more pills, and I took six or seven Ambien in the hopes that I would not wake up. Thank God I did. Thank God I did. Because I would’ve ruined so many lives if I had died.”
Whoa. He continued:
“It wasn’t the right way to do it, but it got people’s attention. The people I needed it to. It fell in the ears of people I wanted it to fall into. I was so full of shame and it was such a horrible idea. And then my kids were really, really hurt.”
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The near-death experience and his family’s devastating reaction to the breakup post served as a much-needed wake-up call for him to seek help. He made the decision to go to rehab, and with the help of Tori, checked into Harmony Place, a luxury LA rehab center. First, though, he had to move his family out of their El Lay rental home which had caused them all to be sick due to mold issues.
After getting them to a friend’s home in Pasadena, he spent the next 15 days detoxing while packing up their home, he recalled:
“I had made the decision to go to treatment, but I had to move this house. For 15 days I just worked on packing up this house because I had to. My body just went into survival mode, and it happened to be some of the hottest weather we’ve had all year, so I was able to detox, by sweating it all out and being physical. The day after the last thing, the last piece of furniture was moved and that van pulled away, boom, I crashed, and I ended up in the hospital. High blood pressure, dizziness, abdominal pains, and body pains – the typical things that happen when you detox. I was fortunate it was only for one day, day and a half. My detox wasn’t as bad as a lot of other people’s. I was fortunate in that, and that’s what enabled me to jump right into therapy.”
Once at rehab for 40 days (where he shared a room with another addict named Colton who became a close friend), he underwent intense therapy sessions with Dr. Haleh Malik, whom he believes saved his life. Dr. Malek called him “a story of triumph” while David Cohen, a clinical director at the center, explained Dean “spent a lifetime not really liking himself very much, and came in here and began to love the man that he is.” The Slasher alum reflected:
“Haleh has definitely helped me break the cycle. They say it takes three generations to break the cycle. I’m the third generation and I’m going to break that cycle because I don’t want this for my kids.”
Addressing the complications in his family life growing up, the Due South star said his father acted a similar way, saying he “was an alcoholic and he had anger and rage issues. And that came from his parents. His dad was an alcoholic and a rager.” Dean was first introduced to alcohol when he was 12 living in Toronto:
“Our hockey team won the championship. So, we went to one of our friends’ houses and his dad made this great Italian dinner for us. And then he brought us some grappa, which is Italian moonshine. Once I took a shot of that, it was on. I just felt like I was the person I wanted to be, and I chased it ever since.”
But it was when he was just 15 that he experienced a life-altering trauma that would soon lead him to seek out the comfort alcohol and drugs provided, he went on:
“It was three days before my 16th birthday, so I was 15 when my mother died. We were having a conversation and she just sounded like she was snoring. I looked over – she always chewed gum – and her gum was sitting there, and her head was like this . I went over and tried to get her attention and she wasn’t responding. I performed CPR, but she was gone. My whole world came crashing down because it was just her and I. My older sisters had moved out already. My dad was nowhere to found and my life just came to a screeching halt.
My dreams of playing in the National Hockey League were dashed. I quit everything. I didn’t know what to do. I bounced around a couple of my sisters’ places, but they had young kids and were starting their lives and who didn’t really want a teen sort of complicating things for them. So, I found drugs and alcohol. I started off with alcohol and then hallucinogens, acid, weed. And then it just progressed as I got older and more successful, the more money I had, I could buy better drugs. So that’s when I started doing cocaine.”
So, so sad.
He continued to play hockey and began working as an actor at age 17, when he was forced to start supporting himself. As he gained success, his drinking continued through his first marriage and the arrival of his first son, Jack, 25. He knew something was wrong and would try sporadic AA sessions in an attempt to control his behavior, but, of course, it didn’t work.
Looking back, he thinks Tori turned a blind eye to his struggles while his mother-in-law Candy, whom he was never close to, had no idea the extent of his addiction. But the issue grew worse as they faced a mountain of financial struggles in 2016 and 2017, he acknowledged:
“I would initiate fights, absolutely. There would be arguments about issues that most couples have. Just the day-to-day struggles of being parents and being a couple. There are also our financial issues, yes. But they would also stem from my depression and self-loathing. Normal fights that couples have would be elevated because of my anger and drinking.”
“It takes two, and right now I am hugging the cactus. I’m apologizing and I’m doing all the right things. I’m doing what was asked of me and beyond. I got into treatment because they wanted me to go. When I got into treatment, I wanted to be there for me, and I wanted to be in sober living for me. I want to be sober for me, I want to be a good dad for me.”
He’s especially committed to getting sober now that he realizes he began his worst nightmare:
“When life starts to sink in, the everyday things you have to do in life sink in, then it’s just like, I can’t deal with this. I’m not equipped to deal with this. Here’s this little being that’s just full of love, unconditional love, and I don’t love myself enough to love it back. I got to put alcohol and drugs on that. I don’t want to feel that.”
Things with his family are still strained, and his main priority is getting better. He’s currently living in the sober living home Freedom House in the West Hills:
“It was great going from all the glitz and glamor of a 6,500 square foot house into treatment into a 3,000 square foot house with nine guys and having a roommate. It just showed me how to live, right sized my life and it showed me what’s important. And today I’m broke – you’ve all seen the food stamp pictures and I’m so grateful that that exists, that people can go in their time of need and get assistance with food. I’m so grateful, and I’ve never been happier in my life. I’m in sober living and going to be 57 this month while on food stamps. But I’ve never been happier.”
As for where he and Tori stand? He didn’t say much, noting their communication is limited and he hasn’t seen his kids since June. On the status of a divorce, he’s not sure he truly meant what he said in his breakup post, but replied:
“I can’t get into that right now. That’s something that is still a discussion. That’s to be private between Tori and I, and she’s not here, so I can’t go into that.”
But they have both moved on, him with his girlfriend Lily Calo, an account manager at Conscious Community, a well-being charity he’s involved with. Of their two-month relationship, he gushed:
“We just hit it off. The furthest thing from my mind was looking for a relationship and God put her in my path and she’s just a lovely, lovely lady. She supports my journey. She’s there for me. She’s very smart, very wise, very thoughtful, and very helpful to me.”
The Beverly Hills, 90210 alum also has a new boyfriend, Ryan Cramer, whom she was photographed kissing two weeks ago. Dean saw the pics and said:
“I did see the photographs of Tori kissing another man, and it hurt, I’m not going to lie, but she saw the same thing with Lily. It made me realize that was really hurtful towards Tori. But seeing Tori with Ryan… I know Ryan, I know him. He’s a really good man. He’s a smart man. He’s a funny man, and she looks so beautiful and healthy and happy in those pictures.”
Ryan’s been friends with the exes for a while after meeting through their kids, he added:
“If it continues, I just want happiness for her because she deserves so much happiness in this life because she’s given so much to other people. She’s given it to me for 18 years and I’ve been so hard and brutal on her that I just want her to be loved and happy. She deserves it.”
As he continues to work on himself and rebuild his relationship with his loved ones, he believes they will be proud of his progress, concluding:
“I believe so. I believe so. And the more we work towards co-parenting, I’m sure I’ll find that out. But my kids and Tori love me regardless, even in all the hatred and anger and drinking. They love me and I’m so grateful for that. I can see that now. When I was in the middle of it, I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t see any of that. Tori is such a beautiful human being. She’s so kind and compassionate and caring and empathetic, and generous to a fault. I know her. I’ve known her for 18 years, and I know that she’ll be proud.”
He’s really been through hell and back these last few months… We’re wishing this whole family nothing but love and healing as they all work through the pain this addiction caused them all. Thoughts? Let us know (below).
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, help is available. Consider contacting the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988, by calling, texting, or chatting, or go to 988lifeline.org.
If you or someone you know is experiencing substance abuse, help is available. Consider checking out the resources SAMHSA provides at https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline or check out StartYourRecovery.org
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