Tom Pelphrey has been acting since he was twelve years old, starring in films like Disney’s The Santa Clause and AMC’s original series Mad Men. In 2017, he became one of the biggest stars in the country when he joined the cast of Netflix’s Ozark, where he portrays Ben Davis, brother to main character Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman). But Pelphrey is not just an actor; he also has bipolar disorder, and has been very open about his struggles with it. Ozark Star Tom Pelphrey Opens Up About His Bipolar Disorder

The struggles of living with bipolar

It’s a manic depression, Pelphrey said. So your emotions and everything that you do kind of go out of control and it just takes on a life of its own, really. It’s an illness where you can get very delusional or you can get very depressed. And Ben Davis is not only bipolar but he has a substance abuse problem in season 3. He’s struggling with drugs and alcohol as well as his mental health issues. That was something I wanted to show people who are going through these things — that it doesn’t matter what type of person you are, how great your life is, how much money you have — these things can still happen to anybody at any time.

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How family helps him cope

While out of work, Ben Davis will stay with his sister Wendy and her husband Marty Byrde, played by Jason Bateman. She’s always been really good at keeping me in line, he said of his sister. They have a great life and they have money now so they don’t really understand where I’m coming from — why I am so lost. But I think that was very purposeful because they are a bit removed from my situation.

What people should know about mental illness

Mental illness is something that one out of every five people will experience at some point in their lives. Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness that makes everyday life incredibly difficult for millions of Americans and their families. We reached out to Ozark star Tom Pelphrey, who plays Wendy’s brother Ben Davis on the show, about his personal experience with bipolar disorder to learn more about what it’s like living with a mental illness.

The importance of medication

A lot of people think that getting diagnosed with bipolar disorder means you have to take medication for life, but that’s not true. While medications are a necessary part of treatment, they’re not all that you need to get healthy and stay healthy. There are plenty of things you can do on your own to maintain wellness without medication—and in some cases, those natural methods might be more helpful than drugs.

Finding success despite depression

In a recent interview with VICE, Ozark star and upcoming Star Wars star Tom Pelphrey said that his character on Ozark, Ben Davis, is inspired by his brother who has bipolar disorder. This news comes after THR reported last month that he landed a role in an undisclosed Star Wars film, set to premiere in December 2019. The actor, who plays Wendy’s brother on Ozark and will appear as a guest star in season 4 of American Horror Story: Apocalypse, told Vice that he was diagnosed with depression when he was 16 years old. He also opened up about how acting helped him deal with depression and how important it is for others to speak out about mental health issues. I think it’s so important for people like me—who are lucky enough to have some sort of platform—to speak out, Pelphrey told Vice.

Ozark Star Tom Pelphrey Opens Up About His Bipolar Disorder
Ozark Star Tom Pelphrey Opens Up About His Bipolar Disorder

Getting help before it gets worse

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Ozark star Tom Pelphrey opened up about his experience with bipolar disorder. I feel like it’s a disease I have under control now, he said. And I’m grateful for that. But it was not easy to get to that place. It was very hard work and there were many years of my life where I didn’t know what was going on or why things were happening to me or around me.

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Keeping a positive attitude

In 2017, Ben was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It’s a condition that has been present in his family since before he was born. I had no idea what it was at first, but I knew something wasn’t right and I just wanted to get better, he says. My wife is my rock and she helps me through all of it. The actor credits Wendy for helping him cope with his mental illness. She’s seen me go through all of these different mood swings and she’s always there to support me, he explains.

Seeking help earlier than he did

Pelphrey, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 24, urges others to talk about their mental health. Seek help and reach out sooner than I did, he tells PEOPLE. I was a typical guy, thinking I could solve it on my own. In addition to therapy and medication, Pelphrey says exercise and doing something he loves each day — in his case, playing guitar — are important.

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Who did Tom Pelphrey Play in Ozark?

Ozark star Tom Pelphrey plays Wendy’s brother Ben Davis in seasons 3 and 4 of ‘Ozark’ on Netflix. The show centers around Chicago-based financial advisor Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) and his family who relocate to Missouri after a money laundering scheme goes wrong.

Who is Uncle Ben on Ozark?

Ozark star Tom Pelphrey opened up about his bipolar disorder on his 34th birthday. The actor said he hid his condition from friends and family for years, but felt inspired to open up about it after receiving treatment. He explained to GQ that his character, Wendy’s brother Ben Davis, has bipolar disorder on Ozark.

Why did Wendy leave Ben at the restaurant?

Ben has a bout of manic energy, causing him to be over-the-top weird and unintentionally hurtful. Wendy just can’t take it anymore—and neither can anyone else in that restaurant. After all, he’s been talking loudly to himself for 30 minutes. He’s ruining everyone else’s experience. It would be rude not to ask him to leave.

Who plays Ben Davis father on Ozark?

At first glance, it might be hard to believe that Ozark star Tom Pelphrey has never been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The 37-year-old actor, who plays Wendy’s brother on Netflix’s hit series, certainly knows what it feels like to have his mind take him to dark places—and he can even relate when his character experiences a mental health crisis in an upcoming episode.

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