"Project Runway"s Tim Gunn reveals early suicide bid

Wed Oct 6, 2010 3:15pm EDT
 
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Project Runway" star Tim Gunn released a video on Wednesday describing how he tried to kill himself as a teenager after being bullied because he was gay.

Gunn, 57, the urbane mentor of the popular fashion design TV contest, said he had taken more than 100 pills when he was 17 in a botched suicide bid.

"As a 17 year old youth who was in quite a bit of despair, I attempted to kill myself. And I'm very happy today that that attempt was unsuccessful, but at the time it's all I could contemplate. I thought I need to end things right now...

"I woke up next morning after taking over 100 pills," he said in the two minute video spot for the "It Gets Better" project aimed at isolated young gays and lesbians.

Gunn, who told CNN's Larry King on Tuesday that he was bullied as a kid over his sexuality, fought back tears in the video as he told gay youth "I understand the despair. I understand how isolated you can feel...It will get better. I promise."

Gunn is the latest prominent celebrity to speak out in support of behalf of gay young teens following the suicide last week of 19 year-old student Tyler Clementi, whose encounter with a gay man was secretly filmed by a roommate and distributed on the Internet.

Popular "Glee" actor Chris Colfer, 20, who plays a version of himself as a gay high school student, has also joined the campaign by the Trevor Project -- a nationwide suicide prevention hotline for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth and those questioning their sexual orientation.

"How I Met Your Mother" star Neil Patrick Harris, and "Harry Potter" actor Daniel Radcliffe have filmed videos for the campaign in the past few days, along with U.S. talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

In an emotional message on her talk show last week, DeGeneres said she was devastated at the news that Clementi had jumped off a bridge in New Jersey, and called for an end to teenage bullying.

"Things will get easier, people's minds will change, and you should be alive to see it," said DeGeneres, one of Hollywood's most prominent lesbians.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant, editing by Christine Kearney)