Mrs. Doubtfire Child Star Lisa Jakub Recalls How Robin Williams Helped Her Through Depression
Before actress Lisa Jakub retired from Hollywood, she made a name for herself starring in Mrs. Doubtfire, playing the teenage daughter of Robin Williams' iconic character.
In a recent interview with Yahoo Entertainment, the 42-year-old opened up about Williams — who died in 2014 — and the kindness he showed her while growing up, specifically in dealing with her mental health struggles.
Jakub described a moment while filming Mrs. Doubtfire when the late actor stood up for her when her high school told her not to come back because they weren't equipped for her to do remote learning while on set. Williams wrote a letter vouching for her work ethic, asking them to reconsider.
Although Jakub was ultimately still kicked out of the school, she told the outlet that "it's just the fact that he would do that for someone, that he would go out of his way," noting that she doesn't know if Williams ever knew how much it meant to her.
But what really stuck with Jakub was the way Williams helped her through her anxiety and depression, saying the advice he gave her "shifted" her life.
"Robin was everything that you would hope he would be, and he was very open and honest with me about his issues with anxiety and depression," Jakub said. "I was able to share with him that anxiety was something that I struggled with, and he would talk to me about mental health issues in a way that 14-year-olds aren't usually used to adults being really open about those sorts of personal experiences with them."
She added that Williams also warned her about addiction and substance abuse, which he struggled with, a conversation she says was important to have as a child star. Ultimately after a few other roles, including Independence Day, Jakub decided to step back from her acting career after it took a toll on her mental health.
Now, she's teaching workshops for mental wellness to help others cope with anxiety and depression. "I feel like that is one of the ways I'm kind of paying forward some of the things that Robin taught me by being so open," she said.
Williams died by suicide on Aug. 11, 2014, at age 63 after suffering from Lewy Body Dementia, a type of brain disease that affects thinking, memory, and movement control.
"None of us really know what fights Robin was battling, but I know his struggles were not uncommon," said Jakub in a letter she wrote about the actor on her blog. "It's estimated that 16 million people in the US have struggled with depression – and I include myself in that statistic. It's real and it's not shameful and there is help available."
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.