Alan Ritchson Opens Up About a Suicide Attempt, Being Sexually Assaulted During His Modeling Days, Makes an Allegation Against Mario Testino & More

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Reacher star Alan Ritchson is opening up about some very serious issues he encountered in his career.

In a new interview with THR, the 41-year-old actor spoke out about his early days in the modeling industry.

Keep reading to find out more…

He shared, “There are very few redeeming qualities to working in that industry. Let’s be honest, it’s like legalized sex trafficking. The industry is not regulated, and it’s a widely known secret that if you’re hired on a job, you’re basically being passed off to a photographer to be trafficked. The number of times and situations where I was put in horrific environments where sexual abuse was the goal and the paycheck that you were desperate for in order to survive was the carrot, I can’t count on two hands. It was quite often.”

One gig he learned to love was for department store JCPenney. Why? “Nobody was trying to get you naked and oiled up in the back of a hotel room so they could sexually assault you or threaten you that if you didn’t do it, you wouldn’t get a campaign.”

About booking some modeling jobs, he shared, “You’re always dancing around this very terrible line of, ‘How do I keep the job and not completely offend this photographer or this agent or whoever set this thing up, and how do I not get raped?’ I completely empathize with women who deal with dynamic power struggles with predatory people in the workplace. It’s still unfair, but if I really had to, I could get myself out of whatever room I was in through a physical altercation. Most women don’t have that option. Imagine how terrifying it must be.”

He was then asked if he’d ever been in a situation such as the one he described. He confirmed he had, adding, “I was working a lot at the time, and was one of the highest paid models at the agency. I was booked for a shoot for this very famous photographer. I was sent into a hotel room to do nudes with the promise that if I did the shoot, he would offer me a very lucrative campaign for a magazine and a clothing line. I was sexually assaulted by this guy. I left and drove straight to the agency that I was at in L.A. I stormed in and said, ‘F-ck you for sending me there. You knew what was going to happen, and you did it anyway.’ There was a coy smile [on this agent’s face], knowing he got caught. ‘It’s OK,’ he said. ‘Not a big deal, calm down. I won’t send you back there. I know he’s a little aggressive.’ I said, ‘No! F-ck you!’ I told them to never call me again. I quit the industry and it was the last photo shoot I’ve ever had. Those pictures were never seen or published. That was it. I swore it off and thank God acting found me at the exact same time so I was able to make a switch to a new career, but it left some scars.”

Years later, while pursuing acting, he got to attend the Atelier Versace runway presentation in 2014.

Alan said he was seated next to photographer Mario Testino, and made some big allegations against him. “He wouldn’t keep his hands off me. The entire time we were sitting at dinner, he was trying to rub my crotch under the table. I was like, ‘Get your hands off me, dude. I lived that life with people like you where you feel like you can just have anybody. I’m not an object to you. I’m way past that now, dude.’ But he was entertained by it. He thought it was the funniest thing.”

He continued, “I’m trying to enjoy conversations with the playmakers in the industry and the whole time, he wouldn’t leave me alone. I ended up leaving early, but he called my hotel room later that night and begged me to come over. He said, ‘I’ve never googled someone right after meeting them. What have you done to me? My car is out front.’ Then he said he loved manly men ‘because they kick harder.’ He was disappointed that I wouldn’t come to his place.” Alan claims Testino offered him the Vogue cover if they slept together, to which Alan then reportedly said, “I was like, ‘I don’t give a sh-t about the cover of Vogue. I don’t give a sh-t about whatever opportunity you want to dangle in front of me.’”

If you don’t know, a big expose was published in 2018 about sexual misconduct allegations against Mario Testino and Bruce Weber.

Alan shared, “I’ve had problems with both of them. Some of the stories [from the expose] were just like mine. I was just starting to build a platform and get my voice in the business, and I wondered, ‘Should I say something?’ Because all of the stories that those models were telling were my own. It’s all true.”

Years later, he had another major situation in the industry. A business partner claimed she was going to destroy him if he didn’t sleep with her.

“She gave me an ultimatum to come to her room and said that if I didn’t, she would destroy the business and she would destroy me by calling TMZ to claim I sexually assaulted her,” Alan shared. “It was really disappointing and became a perfect storm. It really broke me in that moment, and it took me a while to recover. I was super depressed and didn’t know how to navigate that.”

Nothing ever came of that threat.

However, years later, “he couldn’t take it” and he attempted to end his life.

He shared, “I hung myself. It all happened so fast, and I was dangling there.” He then saw a vision of his sons. “They calmly asked me not to do it, and told me that they wanted me to be here, alive and part of their lives.”

He was able to pull himself off the rafter before blacking out.

He shared, “I was diagnosed as bipolar right after. Deep down, I was comforted to know, ‘OK, there’s a name for this.’”

A friend suggested he try ecstasy with his wife, Catherine, as a therapeutic method.

He shared, “I had never done drugs but I was truly, like, ‘Well, I might kill myself tomorrow, what do I have to lose?’ So, I did it. I swear to God, the biggest light bulb went off, and it rewired my brain in the best way. MDMA is a proven therapy to treat PTSD in veterans, and it’s something that can work in cognitive therapy settings. The moment it hit, I looked at my wife. We had not really seen each other in a long time because I was just missing things around me. I said, ‘We are one. We are one,’ over and over again. I held her and we talked about suicide, and she’s like, ‘Please don’t do this to us.’ I kept saying, ‘I won’t. I won’t.’ But the problem is I loved it and wanted to do it every day. She never did it again. But, for me, for a year or two, it became like therapy. It allowed me to write and be productive. Thankfully, I was able to move past it.”

He continued, “I came out of that whole thing asking myself, ‘OK, if I am going to choose to be alive here — a decision we all make, some to a greater degree than others — what am I doing? Why am I here?’ What I kept falling back on was the meaning and purpose of life as someone who believes that there is a creator and we are created beings, our purpose in life is, without qualification, to make the world a better place and serve others. That is what life is all about.”

Alan is now enjoying great success as the star of Prime Video’s Reacher series.

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