Audra McDonald Opens Up About Her Suicide Attempt

The six-time Tony winner was in college when she tried to end her life.

ByABC News
July 25, 2014, 3:22 AM

— -- In June, Audra McDonald made history by winning her sixth Tony Award.

However, there was a time when the actress couldn't imagine that life could be as sweet as it's been.

"When I was [in college] at Julliard, I had a suicide attempt," she said in an interview for "Popcorn with Peter Travers." "I tried to slit my wrist."

Since then, McDonald, 44, has been successful both on stage and off. Not only has the "Lady at Emerson's Bar & Grill" star won more Tonys than any other woman (along with two Grammys), but she's also the mother to a teenage daughter and has been happily married to Broadway actor Will Swenson since 2012. She credits Julliard with helping her cope with her depression.

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"When someone is suicidal, one of the first things you have to do is to protect them from themselves," she said. "They had a mental health facilitator there, a therapist there and they checked me into a mental health hospital where I was for a month and got me the help I needed."

The actress said that antidepressants helped her, as did the professional opportunities that came her way shortly thereafter. Luckily, Julliard not only welcomed her back after her stay in the hospital, but also encouraged her to accept a role in a national tour of "The Secret Garden" first.

"Julliard was like... 'We think that that musical theater thing is more for you anyway. That seems to be where you're the happiest,'" she recalled. "I went out and did 'Secret Garden' and then I came back and finished Julliard."

After that, she got a role in "Carousel," and the rest is history.