Shazam! Star Zachary Levi Opens Up On His Mental Health Struggles


Zachary Levi, who stars in Shazam! and its upcoming sequel, has opened up about his mental health difficulties in a new interview. Levi, who found success as the title character in NBC’s Chuck, appeared on Michael Rosenbaum’s Inside of You podcast and went into depth about his experiences, including with depression and how undertaking therapy has given him balance.

Levi had this to say about his personal difficulties, as well as his shared experiences with Rosenbaum:

“I think that, as with any therapy, it really depends on what you need, that you’re ultimately going to get out of it. Because we both went to the same place, but both of us, while we might have some crossover in our reprogramming or what we needed to be done in our lives. We might have had some similar issues, we might have had some very different ones as well. What you take out of therapy is what you bring into therapy and decide to work on in therapy.”

The actor then went on to discuss how therapy helped him turn his life around, explaining:

“Ultimately, what I took away from being there was getting my own life back. I ultimately want to live, which led me there. I left there wanting to live, and being hopeful about what my life could be after having been awakened to a lot of what my major malfunctions were. Where they were rooted, in my past, in my family. My mother specifically, and my stepfather and how they treated me.

My father and him not being around, forgiving myself, building the empathy that you need for yourself when you learn how to do that. How that translates to the empathy that you build for your muses. Because at the end of the day, one of the biggest revelations that I took away from all of it was one I continue to champion even now. People are doing their best, even the ‘worst people in the world.’ They are trying to, or think they are giving their best.”

This isn’t the first time that Levi has been so upfront with his mental health, having previously admitted to being in a dark place before being cast in Shazam!, and doubting his ability to fulfill the role. Since then, he’s been busy working on Shazam! 2, which should hopefully be out in theaters in November 2022, after a COVID-19-related delay to a planned April release that year.

Outside of the DCEU, Levi played Fandral in Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok, although he’s admitted that working with DC has been more fun than his time in the MCU. Meanwhile, he’ll next be seen in Kevin Macdonald’s Prisoner 760, a drama focusing on events at Guantanamo Bay, with the film currently in post-production. Levi also still makes television appearances, mostly recently in Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

It’s good to see a high-profile name like Levi being honest about his mental health, something that’s all-too-often underplayed for those in the media spotlight. Indeed, the recent experiences of Ruby Rose and Jared Padalecki have shown the varying forms that anxiety and depression can take on actors facing significant pressures offscreen. Levi’s openness about his therapy and its part in managing his success with Shazam! and other projects is also useful for highlighting that, while better in the moment, he still has to work at protecting his mental health.