"I'm just innately kind of a sad person," the Secrets and Lies star revealed in a new interview with Elle.com

By Jacqueline Andriakos
Updated March 02, 2015 05:15 PM
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Kathryn Friedman/ ELLE.com

Ryan Phillippe can relate to the emotional struggles of his on-screen characters.

The 40-year-old actor – who plays a tormented man suspected of murder in the new ABC series Secrets and Lies – opened up about his lifelong struggle with depression and feeling “quietly tortured at times” in a recent interview with Elle.com.

“Depression has been a huge obstacle for me ever since I was a child. As you get older I think it decreases some, but I’m just innately kind of a sad person,” he explains. “I’m empathetic, and I take on the feelings of others and transpose myself into the position of others. It’s just, some people do have this pervading sort of sadness, or they’re so analytical that they can kind of take the fun out of things because they think too much.”

But the Cruel Intentions actor also explained that the heavy feeling of sadness has its value. “If it was a choice between being this way or being completely ignorant, I’d prefer to suffer through the sadness than to be a complete moron with no feelings,” he said.

Phillippe joked about his fans on social media repeatedly asking, “What ever happened to him?” But he has a jam-packed to-do list that involves much more than acting. His goals range from producing more films to launching a startup to “helping liberate a small country” with Isolated, the documentary he produced about the genocide in West Papua.

“I’m still acting, and I still love it, but I really want to try – and be willing to fail – in a bunch of different realms,” he said.

Ryan Phillippe on Suffering from Depression