Leaving an impression. Jared Padalecki has experienced career success with roles in Gilmore Girls and Supernatural — but the actor has also had people talking off screen.
After rising to stardom for playing Dean Forester in Gilmore Girls, Padalecki made a transition to The CW’s Supernatural in 2005. The Texas native and his costar Jensen Ackles quickly won over fans with the fictional brother bond between Sam Winchester and Dean Winchester.
After a decade on the small screen as Sam, Padalecki made headlines when he got candid about his personal battle with depression. “I, in the past, have had my own struggles of not [being] so happy with where I am in life,” he told Variety in March 2015. “Maybe a lot of people don’t know this, but season 3, we were shooting an episode, and I went back to my trailer to get changed and just kind of broke down.”
The New York Minute actor continued: “A doctor came to set and talked to me for about 30 minutes or 45 minutes and said, ‘Jared, I think you’re clinically depressed. I think I should write you a note and we can shut down production for five days and then we can take it from there.’”
The experience inspired Padalecki’s online campaign titled Always Keep Fighting. The online fundraiser featured a shirt for fans to purchase in order to support the nonprofit To Write Love On Her Arms — an organization that offers outreach to people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.
“There’s no shame in having to fight every day,” Padalecki told Variety at the time. “But fighting every day, and presumably, if you’re still alive to hear these words or read this interview, then you are winning your war. You’re here. You might not win every battle. There are going to be some really tough days. There might be several tough times in any given single day, but hopefully, this will help somebody to think, ‘This isn’t easy; it is a fight, but I’m going to keep fighting.’”
The CW star continued to use his connection with his followers to offer updates on his life. In March 2019, the cast of Supernatural confirmed that the show would be ending after 15 seasons. At the time, Padalecki noted that it would be a “bittersweet” experience saying goodbye to the series.
“The reality of being here, fielding questions about the show’s last season, is reminding me that it’s the show’s last season coming up!” he exclusively told Us Weekly ahead of The CW’s Upfront presentation in May 2019, adding that he would miss his costars the most. “We really have become a family. Over 15 years, we’ve cut the fat. We didn’t fire anybody but if they didn’t like being there, they move on. So the people that are there want to be there.”
For Padalecki, wrapping up Supernatural after such a lengthy run was “rough” for everyone. “We’ve known [each other] for 15 years. We’ve seen births and deaths and divorces and marriages. I mean, I met my wife in season 4 and we have three kids! So much has happened,” he continued. “I feel such a deep connection with everybody.”
After parting ways on screen, Padalecki and his former costar Ackles shocked followers when they argued over The Winchesters spinoff series. In June 2021, Padalecki expressed his disappointment with not knowing that Ackles was involved in the next chapter of the franchise.
“Dude. Happy for you. Wish I heard about this some way other than Twitter. I’m excited to watch, but bummed that Sam Winchester had no involvement whatsoever,” he tweeted in June 2021.
The Smallville alum, for his part, later clarified that the longtime friends were able to figure out their issues. “Love you @jarpad … Miss these talks. I forgot how much face time we always used to get. And I miss that too. I know you’re busy…as am I, but you’re still my brother. I miss you, pal.”
The duo reunited when Ackles directed an episode of Padalecki’s series Walker in April 2022.
Scroll down for Padalecki’s ups and downs through the years: