Chrissy Metz from NBC’s hit show This Is Us is no stranger to emotional turmoil. Perhaps it’s one of the reasons she identifies so strongly with Kate Pearson, the character she plays on the tearjerker series. But don’t just take our word for it. Chrissy herself has bravely opened up about the struggles that have plagued her throughout her entire life — and a transformation that no one saw coming.
Chrissy Metz is a bonafide television star, and one of the lead actresses on the hit drama series This Is Us. She plays the role of Kate, a character she identifies with on a multitude of levels. Chrissy especially relates to Kate’s struggle with weight, because it’s something she’s dealt with her entire life.
“I was always the chubby kid,” she said in an exclusive interview with the Hollywood Reporter, where she discussed getting bullied and estranged by people in her life. “No matter what, somebody is going to pick on you for something.” Somehow, she was able to turn it all around — but the road wasn’t easy.
Even at a young age, Chrissy always felt like she needed to be extra conscious of what she was ingesting. “My friends could eat whatever they wanted to, but I knew that as a kid if I ate certain things I would totally gain weight.” Chrissy wished she could be like her “skinny friends,” and constantly worried about the different foods she was eating.
This calorie-counting mentality wasn’t eased by her mother, who brought her to Weight Watchers at the early age of 11, where Chrissy felt “awkward” as the youngest person in the room. The strain of young Chrissy’s weight issue would even come to affect her familial relationships.
Chrissy Metz had a stepfather who wasn’t very understanding. In her memoir This Is Me, Chrissy wrote, “My body seemed to offend him, but he couldn’t help but stare, especially when I was eating. He joked about putting a lock on the refrigerator.”
She further explained that they didn’t have much food in their house back then. So whenever they had some food, she felt the need to eat it quickly “before it disappeared.” At age 14, her stepfather would regularly grab the scale and slam it on the kitchen floor, forcing Chrissy to weigh herself. But here’s why losing the weight was easier said than done.
Chrissy’s family didn’t have much money, and so that meant they rarely had much food. As she explained to Glamour magazine, “There were nights my mom wouldn’t eat dinner.” As a result of all this, food became the way they expressed love in her family, so it was hard to alter her dieting habits when the weight became an issue.
In those days, Chrissy handled it by telling herself, “Oh, I’m happy — let’s celebrate and eat. I’m sad? Let me eat my feelings.” Clearly her stepfather didn’t handle it nicely at all. However, he wasn’t the only fatherly figure who damaged her emotionally.
Before her stepfather, there was Chrissy’s real father. The actress recounted in her memoir how he had abandoned the family when she was only nine years old. She later admitted that it was the hardest thing for her to write about in the book.
Since the release of the novel, her father has hotly responded that Chrissy was the one who actually abandoned him — to which she said incredulously, “How does a child abandon their parent?” In the wake of the revelation, they’ve tried to reconcile their relationship, with Chrissy seeking to find a way to forgive him. Of course, Chrissy’s issues with her father bears a strong parallel to a well-known This Is Us storyline. (Warning: Series spoilers ahead!)
Chrissy’s character on This Is Us, Kate, goes through her share of battles. Much of her sorrow can be traced back to the moment she lost her father, Jack Pearson. Portrayed by Gilmore Girls‘ Milo Ventimiglia, Jack tragically dies after saving his entire family (and the dog) from their house when it becomes engulfed in flames.
Although Chrissy didn’t lose her father in quite the same way (he’s still alive, after all), she nonetheless keenly felt his long absence long after he had left them. This is yet another way she’s able to relate to Kate’s deep well of sadness, allowing her to deliver such strong performances on the show. But getting there wasn’t so simple.
After years of alienation and torment, it looked like Chrissy’s saving grace was on its way. And like most good things in life, it happened quite by accident. When Chrissy was in her early 20s, she accompanied her sister to an acting audition, where she ran into a former teacher who encouraged her to try out as well.
Her heart was saying yes, but Chrissy admits that at the time, she was also afraid of her own shadow. Was this really something she could do? After some deliberation, eventually Chrissy decided to go for it. She was about to discover that the next chapter in her life would prove to be just as rocky as the last.
Lo and behold, Chrissy Metz was on her way to Hollywood to become a star! She got herself a manager, who suggested that she lose some weight before heading out there. She obliged, losing a total of 50 pounds before making her way out west.
Chrissy arrived in Los Angeles a few months after that original audition, with the hopes of scoring a role on a few television pilots that were in the works. The aspiring actress told her mom that she was ready to live her dream. Yet no matter how exciting things may have seemed at the time, the hardest blow was still yet to come.
If Chrissy was hoping to be prancing down the red carpet within her first month in Hollywood, the dreamer was sorely mistaken. Like most people who aspire to succeed in the entertainment industry, she was forced to pay her dues the hard way. This came in the form of countless rejections. And of course, the more often this happened, the more tiresome the process grew.
This lasted for a few years before Chrissy started changing her approach. Did she really have what it took to become a star? Or was she meant to live a life behind the scenes? That’s when Chrissy decided to pursue a different job in the film industry.
When it wasn’t looking like she would succeed as an actress, Chrissy Metz decided to become a talent agent’s assistant. This was especially hard for her: “Scheduling auditions for the talent was like watching your boyfriend take out another woman every single day.”
Interestingly enough, on This Is Us, her alias Kate also works as an assistant to actor brother Kevin, after throwing away her once-optimistic dream to become a singer. Clearly Chrissy was able to relate to that feeling, when you consider how much she initially struggled to become an actress. Unfortunately, as Chrissy’s dreams came crashing down around her, so did the state of her mental health.
Right before she moved to LA, Chrissy had lost 50 pounds because of her manager’s advice. But after failing to catch a break in the acting industry for years, she began to grow depressed, and gained 100 pounds back. Indeed, she also started experiencing panic attacks: on her 30th birthday, she was admitted to the hospital after suffering from a particularly devastating one.
But as the old cliché goes, sometimes things in life are darkest before the dawn. Indeed, it was because of these frightening experiences that Chrissy Metz began to rethink her life completely. She made a decision that she would refuse to let panic get her down.
After getting dealt a series of bad hands, Chrissy decided it was time to take control of her life, and to start aggressively pursuing acting again. In her mind, it all started with losing the weight back, and feeling good about herself: “I was so gung-ho, I lost 100 pounds in less than five months.”
She let People Magazine in on her secret that enabled her to do it: “All I did was eat a 2,000-calorie diet and walk 20 minutes a day.” With the power of positivity in effect, this momentous turn would soon be the catalyst behind her first big break.
Chrissy Metz finally scored a five-episode gig to play Ima Wiggles, or “The Fat Lady,” for the popular series American Horror Story: Freak Show. But although this seemed like a promising step in her career, there was one negative caveat that she says changed her life.
She was asked to wear a body-suit for the role, which once again made her think about her weight, even after she had lost so much of it: “It was sobering… I thought, ‘What if I become that heavy and can’t walk around or get stuck in the doorframe?’” This unsettling thought came with a few other problems as well.
In addition to the weight issue and her mental health, Chrissy had also been having trouble staying afloat financially. This had been going on for a while, and although her paychecks from American Horror Story helped, she could still barely keep her head above water. At one point, she only had 81 cents in her bank account and no place to live.
Chrissy told Glamour magazine, “I kept auditioning, with no savings and no money, credit card debt gaining interest.” She could barely afford to buy groceries, and practically survived on ramen noodles throughout this period. But in her time of dire need, help was right at her doorstep.
Right around that time, Chrissy caught wind of a pilot called This Is Us. When she read the script, she was blown away by the role of Kate: “This was a role that finally broke down the real issues behind weight, inadequacy, codependent relationships, and living in the shadows.”
Here was finally a role that not only seemed right for her, but something she was destined to play. However, the producers weren’t simply handing out auditions. Kate had to beg her agent to try and get her a chance to read for the part. At long last, Chrissy Metz was given the opportunity to show why she was perfect for it.
Chrissy didn’t think she would be getting the callback for This Is Us. When she did, she said it was unlike any of the callbacks she’d ever experienced. The excited actress ended up killing the audition, and of course, she got the part. There were a few lines in the script she particularly identified with.
For example, she was touched by one line where Kate says, “It’s always going to be about weight for me,” and another where she says, “I’m always going to be afraid of a chair breaking underneath me.” She went to This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman and told him earnestly, “These are my fears.” Clearly things were about to change in her life, but it was not about to happen in the way she may have expected.
It’s one thing to become a star, and to separate your work from your personal life. But in the case of Chrissy Metz, the lines would get blurred pretty heavily. Since many of her issues were the same issues as Kate’s, she was forced to confront them on a more intimate and frequent level.
And what’s more, it seemed that her and her character Kate’s destinies were now strangely intertwined. Due to the fact that a big part of Kate’s storyline revolves around her plan to lose more weight, Chrissy couldn’t really hide from tackling that issue in her own life. It led the producers to add a little requirement in Chrissy’s contract.
Getting the role of Kate on This Is Us wasn’t just an acting job for Chrissy Metz. It was a commitment to lose the weight she’d been trying to lose for most of her life. In an interview with TVLive, she explained that it’s literally written into her contract that she has to lose weight gradually as the show goes on, in order to reflect the weight loss of her character.
But instead of seeing it as an additional source of stress, Chrissy is looking at it optimistically: “That was a win-win for me.” She explained, “We’re more likely to do something for someone else.” Yet despite the fact that Chrissy herself continues to have a positive attitude, not everyone is supporting her journey.
When you become a celebrity, you make yourself vulnerable to all kinds of people in the world: the good, the bad, and the trolls. Unfortunately, while Chrissy Metz embraces her on-screen platform as a place to spread a positive message of self-love and encouragement, there are those out there who try to bring her down.
For instance, at the MTV Movie and TV Awards in 2017, she received tons of hurtful comments attacking a red latex dress she wore. The online trolls body-shamed Chrissy ruthlessly, and told her that she shouldn’t be wearing that dress. But our fearless warrior knows just how to deal with those people.
When it comes to Internet trolls, Chrissy has cultivated an impressively mature perspective. She responds to them with “with kindness and love,” because in her mind that’s probably what they need more than anything. “They’re misunderstood and probably really upset themselves.”
Regarding that awards show dress, she had worked with designer Jane Doe for a whole year on it, and said she just wanted to try something “different.” But Chrissy has no shortage of sass either, tweeting back to the haters: “For the record, I wear what I want, when I want. Newsflash, it’s MY body.” And this confidence is certainly present in one of her most recent releases.
This is an Instagram selfie that Chrissy Metz posted as recently as November 19th, 2019. As can be seen, she’s changed in more ways than one. But for this star actress, it’s not all about the weight. She tweeted online: “Your weight does not define you! People’s perceptions are theirs. You are worthy and purposeful no matter what.”
It’s this kind of mindset that has allowed fans all across the world to simply fall in love with her. More specifically, fans’ lives have changed for the better because of Chrissy’s on-screen work through her role as Kate. And they haven’t been shy to tell her about it either.
Chrissy says that people are constantly telling her that her role as Kate on This Is Us changed their lives for the better. This is perhaps what she had originally hoped for when she heard about the role, that she could send a positive message to the world. Now, she has Twitter users saying things like, “Chrissy I wish I had your courage.”
The flattered actress told Glamour magazine, “That makes all the struggle, all the ramen noodles, all the times when I couldn’t pay my bills, all the times where I was like, ‘I can’t do this,’ worth it.” Then, of course, there’s the one thing that every wants to know: what’s going on in her romantic life?
Before getting cast on This Is Us, Chrissy was actually married for seven years to a screenwriter named Martyn Eaden, whom she met online. According to Chrissy’s mom Denise, Martyn was her first love — and after they called it quits she was “devastated.” But that was before her success on This Is Us. By that point, she had been thrust well into the spotlight, with the eyes of a lot more men on her.
In fact, Chrissy didn’t really have to look too far once she started filming the show, finding love with cameraman Josh Stancil. Of course, this came at a time while This Is Us fans were growing obsessed with Kate’s very similar relationship on the show.
You can’t talk about This Is Us without at least once bringing up Kate’s relationship with Toby. To call their love story heartwarming is a massive understatement. In the pilot episode, she meets him at a weight loss support group, and they eventually embark into a loving relationship.
In real life, however, Chrissy’s relationship with Josh began to wither. After being spotted together at events like the SAG Awards, people were hoping the pair would go the distance. But in March of 2018, the couple split. Still, Chrissy wasn’t wasting any time, keeping her eyes open in case she met someone new. As fate would have it, that’s exactly what happened.
Towards the end of 2018, rumors sparked that Chrissy Metz was getting cozy with a 25-year-old composer named Hal Rosenfeld. In February 2019, it was confirmed by a This Is Us costume designer that the couple are “obviously in love.” In August later that year, Chrissy posted a picture of herself wearing a sparkling ring on her left hand ring finger.
She hasn’t yet confirmed the engagement, although she did give fans a few subtle hints that this is no joke. Chrissy is obviously very private about her love life, but at this point, we’re positive her fans will be with her every step of the way!
Sources: Women’s Health, Good Housekeeping, The List