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Jerry O’Connell apologises to Wil Wheaton for not ‘doing more’ about his abuse

Jerry O’Connell has apologised to his former Stand By Me co-star Wil Wheaton for not realising that he was experiencing child abuse.

The actors have remained good friends since starring together as children in the 1986 drama film.

Last May, around the 25th anniversary of its cinematic release, Wheaton opened up about what he went through during his childhood, and around the time of filming.

He told US press that he suffered through “a combination of an incredible emotional abuse from my father and a lot of manipulation, using me, from my mother”.

On Thursday (14 April), O’Connell and Wheaton reunited on an episode of The Talk, on which O’Connell is a co-host.

“I heard before you talk about some of the struggles you were going through during Stand by Me, and you know, while I was 11 at the time, that’s an excuse, I do want to apologise for not being there more for you when you were younger,” O’Connell said.

“But I want to say, to the bigger picture, you never know what someone is going through when you’re with them. I don’t feel guilt, but I just want to say I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you more.”

(Left to right) Wil Wheaton, Phoenix, Corey Feldman and Jerry O’Connell in ‘Stand By Me’

(Columbia Pictures)

Wheaton was appreciative of O’Connell’s words and ensured him that he didn’t need to apologise for not noticing.

“You were 11,” Wheaton reasoned. “How could you have possibly known?

“Also, everyone in the audience who is a trauma survivor knows this: we’re real, real, real good at covering up what we’re going through.”

In a previous interview with Yahoo!, Wheaton said that he channelled his inner sadness into his portrayal of the character Gordie, and that he notices his true feelings from that time when watching today.

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“When I watch Stand by Me now, I cannot ignore the unbelievable sadness in my eyes,” he said last year. “And I cannot ignore the reality that it was that sadness, that isolation, that I think gave me what Gordie needed to come to life.”

When life is difficult, Samaritans are here – day or night, 365 days a year. You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at jo@samaritans.org, or visit www.samaritans.org to find your nearest branch.

If you’ve been raped or sexually assaulted, you can contact your nearest Rape Crisis organisation for specialist, independent and confidential support: www.rapecrisis.org.uk.

In the US, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 800 273 8255 or chat online for help.

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