Troubled ‘This Is Us’ writer Jas Waters, who took her own life by hanging, had battled depression for 20 years and tried to overdose on pills at age 21, DailyMail.com can reveal.
The successful Hollywood writer and reality star wrote in a final emotional post on her blog about how she had a difficult upbringing and was diagnosed with depression at age 19.
She wrote that two years later, in one of her darkest moments, she took a whole bottle of Tylenol PM to ‘break through this overwhelmingly thick barrier of hopelessness’.
This week there was an outpouring of tributes for Waters from celebrities she worked with including Reese Witherspoon, Mandy Moore, Susan Kelechi Watson and Chrissy Metz.
But her own recent social media posts written under her pen-name Jas Fly, laid bare tragic evidence of how she struggled with her mental health during the isolation of the coronavirus lockdown.
Her father Joseph Waters, speaking exclusively to DailyMail.com, said he spoke to her about her difficulties with social isolation over the past two months, but added that he was ‘sure that wasn’t’ the reason she took her life.’
This Is Us writer Jas Waters, 39, took her own life last week, with the LA County Coroner ruling her death a suicide by hanging
Waters’ tweets leading up to her death told of her stress and anxieties while living in social isolation during the coronavirus pandemic
The grieving father broke down in tears while standing in her Los Angeles apartment. He had flown from Chicago to clear it out.
‘Long before she was Jas Fly or any kind of Hollywood writer she was my little girl,’ he said. ‘My daughter was a brilliant, articulate, beautiful young woman who didn’t deserve this at all.’
Her father Joseph Waters told DailyMail.com: ‘My daughter was a brilliant, articulate, beautiful young woman who didn’t deserve this at all’
Chicago-born Waters had a star-studded career, working on blockbuster movies Spiderman 1 & 2, Hardball, Save The Last Dance, MTV’s Real World, Barbershop 1 & 2 and NBC’s ER.
After working as an entertainment journalist and interviewing celebrities including Jay-Z, Warren Buffett, Common, Joan Rivers, Spike Lee, DMX, Melanie Fiona and Laz Alonso, she gained her own fame starring in the VH1 reality series about hip-hop media, The Gossip Game.
She contributed to 18 episodes of the hit NBC drama ‘This Is Us’ during 2018 and 2019, and most recently served as a story editor on the Showtime series Kidding starring Jim Carrey, Frank Langella and Judy Greer.
In her last entry on her blog JasFly.com, posted in August 2014, the Hollywood writer revealed how she had attempted suicide in the past.
‘I was first diagnosed with depression at 19. I’d stumbled through a pretty rocky childhood and eventually two years later, it all caught up with me one night when I just didn’t think I could stomach another day of intense sadness,’ she wrote.
‘I swallowed a bottle of Tylenol PM. Now, did I want to die? Not really. But that was the only way I could break through this overwhelmingly thick barrier of hopelessness that stood between myself and everyone else.
‘Having your stomach pumped is enough to scar you for life. Trust me on this. More importantly, that and the look of genuine fear in my father’s eyes were enough to make me want to learn how to live with depression.’
‘I’m in hell,’ she wrote in a tweet, and ‘Wonder what my next life will be like,’ in another, while in a dark foreshadowing tweet on March 30 she wrote just two words: ‘Creative strangulation’
Waters continued the post with an uplifting message for her readers, saying she was an example of how to overcome even crippling, suicidal depression.
‘It is a disease. It is not an emotion,’ she wrote. ‘And it’s something that with lots of time, self work and consistent effort, anyone can overcome. I am living proof.
‘People with depression often hide in plain sight. In the worst of times, we go about our lives with canned responses, doing just enough to not ring any alarms because when you’re in the thick of it, the answer to everything is, ‘what’s the point?’
‘But, you. That’s the point. You.
‘These days depression is a part of my life, much like dieting. It’s an exercise in discipline.
‘Once every four or five months I’ll have one really tough day where it’ll feel like my entire life is going to hell. It’s in those moments where I evoke the emergency response part of myself that’s ready to remind me that I’m not having a bad life, just a bad day. Then I wait it out. Or if I can’t, I call someone.
‘More than anything I’ve learned there is no shame in simply saying, ”I need some help” or ”I’m having a tough time” or ”I just need to hear a friendly voice.” I’m human. And thankfully, so is everyone else.’
After the Los Angeles Coroner released a report this week saying Waters killed herself by hanging, friends and fans of the prolific writer began to see her frequent tweets about the mental impact of the coronavirus lockdown in a different light.
Before her death, Jas wrote about a difficult upbringing and was diagnosed with depression at age 19. She’s pictured with Oprah Winfrey
She revealed that at 21 she took a whole bottle of Tylenol pills to ‘break through this overwhelmingly thick barrier of hopelessness’. Pictured with rapper Drake
Waters said that her struggles early in life made her tougher, and pushed her to become Jas Fly, the successful journalist, hit TV and movie writer and reality TV star
On May 7, Waters tweeted that her anxiety was ‘through the roof’.
‘I’m tired of sheltering in place with my anxiety,’ she wrote on April 24. ‘Most days is nearly debilitating. Hence, the cooking simply for the calm it brings. So if you’re struggling just to keep the fear of the unknown in check, know that you’re not alone. I’m with you.’
‘I’m in hell,’ she wrote two days earlier, and ‘Wonder what my next life will be like,’ on April 20, while in a dark foreshadowing on March 30 she wrote just two words: ‘Creative strangulation.’
One Twitter user replied to her tweets this week ‘I wish I’d seen this sooner,’ and another wrote ‘So many signs of her depression.’
In a post on her website from January 2014, Waters explained how she had a troubled upbringing, spending most of her early years with her grandmother in an old people’s home after her parents split.
‘I was born a runt,’ she wrote. ‘My parent’s marriage was over by the time I arrived and I was left in the care of my elderly grandmother.
‘My father remarried when I was four and that – not really through any fault of my own – didn’t work out too well for me either. At nine, back into my grandmother’s care I went.
‘That’s where I would stay until sixteen when I moved into a two-bedroom apartment with my father.’
The writer said she struggled to build a close relationship with her family after the split.
‘By then, I was accustomed to isolation,’ she wrote. ‘I was the second oldest of five siblings but lived with them for less than five years of my life. I knew them as my brother and sisters but not as people.
‘Absent from their home videos, I went years on end without seeing my mother and was so disconnected that many times I’d only see my other immediate family on Sunday’s, at church.’
But Waters added that the experience made her tougher, and pushed her to become Jas Fly, the successful journalist, hit TV and movie writer and reality TV star.
On Thursday, Reese Witherspoon revealed that Waters also had a connection to her production company Hello Sunshine and paid tribute to her on Twitter
This is Us star Chrissy Metz tweeted: ‘I am praying for your beautiful transition, Jas. May it be full of love, light and peace. Thank you for the time we shared, your fearlessness and inspiration
Series star Susan Kelechi Watson shared: ‘Incredibly shocked and saddened to have just receive this news. Blessed Light, fly with the angels. #jaswaters’
Mandy Moore responded: ‘Sending love and light to @jasfly’s family and loved ones’
Speaking to DailyMail.com, her 65-year-old father said he always knew his daughter would be a high achiever.
‘Long before she was Jas Fly or any kind of Hollywood writer she was my little girl who has always been an articulate brilliant person, who will not only be missed by all of these people who know her, but by myself and the rest of my family,’ he said.
‘I’ve always known that greatness awaited her for the most part.
‘She’s always loved to write. Myself and most of my children are writers, we express ourselves very well with a pen. She just took hers to a whole different level.
‘She loved life, she had a great personality and liked to laugh. She had a great sense of humor and always did well in school, always had a bunch of friends.’
Joseph, a construction worker in Evanston, Illinois, said he was struggling to comprehend why his daughter committed suicide.
‘I’m just shocked about the end here. I don’t understand it. Her whole family is devastated,’ he said.
‘My son-in-law who also lives here in LA called me and told me, as I was in Chicago. I flew here immediately. I’m here now in her apartment, trying to clean it out and get her things in order.
‘My daughter was a brilliant, articulate, beautiful young woman who didn’t deserve this at all.’
On Thursday, Reese Witherspoon revealed that Waters also had a connection to her production company Hello Sunshine.
The actress and producer tweeted: ‘My heart is with the family and friends of Jas Waters. Jas was an incredibly kind woman and a truly brilliant talent.’
She went on: ‘My team at Hello Sunshine was honored to collaborate with her. I send my deepest sympathies and condolences to everyone whose lives she touched.’
‘Long before she was Jas Fly or any kind of Hollywood writer she was my little girl who has always been an articulate brilliant person, who will not only be missed by all of these people who know her, but by myself and the rest of my family,’ her father said
Her father added: ‘I’m just shocked about the end here. I don’t understand it. Her whole family is devastated’
On Wednesday, the writers at This Is Us posted a tweet on their official Twitter and said ‘The entire #ThisIsUs family was devastated to learn of Jas Waters passing’.
The statement continued: ‘In our time together, Jas left her mark on us and ALL over the show. She was a brilliant storyteller and a force of nature. We send our deepest sympathies to her loved ones. She was one of us. RIP @jasfly.’
Mandy Moore replied to the tweet, saying: ‘Sending love and light to @jasfly’s family and loved ones.’
Susan Kelechi Watson wrote: ‘Incredibly shocked and saddened to have just receive this news. Blessed Light, fly with the angels. #jaswaters.’
Chrissy Metz tweeted: ‘We were graced with @jasfly on the show as a fantastic writer but to know her and her beautiful spirit was to love her.’
Metz added: ‘I am praying for your beautiful transition, Jas. May it be full of love, light and peace. Thank you for the time we shared, your fearlessness and inspiration,’ Metz added.
For confidential support call the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.
Former Playboy Playmate Ashley Mattingly dies from self-inflicted gunshot wound to head
Former Playboy Playmate Ashley Mattingly died from a gunshot wound to head, her autopsy determined.
The model, who died at age 33, placed a handgun in her mouth and pulled the trigger, according to Thursday report from TMZ.
She was found dead at her home in Austin, Texas, on April 16 after a friend called police and requested a wellness check because they had not heard from her in several days.
Death by suicide: Former Playboy Playmate Ashley Mattingly’s autopsy revealed she died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, TMZ reports; pictured in 2016 in Hollywood
Toxicology reports from the autopsy indicate that she had opiates and benzodiazepines in her system at the time of her death.
Two days before she took her own life, Mattingly shared a video of herself in the hospital on Instagram.
Her family later revealed that she had fought a years-long battle with alcohol and substance abuse.
In her final Instagram post on April 13, Mattingly filmed herself in a hospital bed and revealed that she was ‘sick from alcohol.’
Mattingly is seen with Hugh Hefner in an undated photo
The caption read: ‘I’m not quarantined I took bad advice and drank too much which I vometed [sic] a lot of blood – please slow down on the drinking ! U won’t be able to get into a hospital ! I’m lucky!’
In the video Mattingly covered up her green hospital gown and oxygen tube with an animal filter which distorted her voice to the point that it’s difficult to understand.
She appears to say: ‘I’m sick with alcohol…don’t drink it. Don’t drink it. Leave it alone.’
After news of her death broke, the post was flooded with comments from fans expressing their shock and sadness.
Fans also noticed two other alarming posts Mattingly had shared in February, offering a glimpse into her addiction struggle.
On February 6, the model shared a screengrab from her Notes app where she had written: ‘I Ashley Mattingly is not going down as you’re drunk playboy playmate! Remember this!’
She shared a similar photo the day before with the words: ‘DEATH ISN’T FUNNY!’
The photos are embedded among much happier snaps of her everyday life, chronicling everything from vacations to grocery store runs to her new golden retriever puppy, Miss Jean.
Mattingly also regularly posted about how she owned guns, including one photo on March 22 which showed a pistol strapped to her thigh.