Unless you grew up in the '90s, it's kind of hard to understand how enormous a star Jim Carrey was. The man was an absolute force of nature who was undoubtedly original. Technically, any acting school would tell you that whatever he was doing shouldn't work: over-the-top performances, exaggerated gesticulations, and generally being much larger than life.
But it did work and he became a comedy legend. So what happened to him?
What happened to Jim Carrey? He went through a deep depression.
It's well known that there are many great comedians who've battled depression, whether quietly or openly. In fact, the best comedy has almost always come from the most disenfranchised and oppressed groups of people. It works as a lubrication to help reconcile with and thrive under the worst of circumstances.
Jim Carrey always had dreams of being a stand-up comic and performer, but he didn't exactly have an ideal upbringing, on paper anyway. At 15 years old he had to drop out of school to become a janitor in order to help support his family. On top of that, both of his parents lost their jobs, forcing Jim, his folks, and his three siblings to live out of a car.
In 1979, Jim Carrey quit his janitor job and continually worked his stand-up act. He was an opener for legends like Rodney Dangerfield and Buddy Hackett and quickly became known for his boundless energy and impersonations. He eventually saved enough money to buy a bus ticket out to Hollywood where he brought his act to The Comedy Store to get even more work as a comic.
After proving that he didn't have to make a living as a janitor and as a personal motivator, Carrey wrote himself a check for $10 million in 1985 for "acting services rendered" and dated it 10 years in the future. Back then it was only a pipe dream, but Carrey's work ethic and drive were unmatched.
He eventually secured roles on various shows. His breakout was on In Living Color, where he quickly became a fan favorite.
While working on the groundbreaking sketch comedy show, Carrey would pen the script for Ace Venture: Pet Detective. The movie would go on to get produced and become an instant classic, launching Carrey's career into the stratosphere, nabbing him the lead role in The Mask. Following that he'd get the biggest offer of his career: Dumb and Dumber.
The amount he'd receive for the movie? $10 million, and it all happened before the 10-year mark.
Jim would go on to stretch his talents as a performer, creating some truly memorable screen performances over the years, but privately he battled with depression and mental health issues.
His first wife, Melissa stated that he was "extremely depressive" in a Daily Mail piece. She explained that she would often console him all night. Phil Roy, who used to room with Jim prior to his marriage with Melissa, said the actor was extremely susceptible to bouts of convalescence.
Jim Carrey has publicly spoken about his own mental health struggles. In a 2004 interview with 60 Minutes, the actor talked about staying away from substances, including caffeine, in order to try and have a balanced mental state. He also talked about his usage of Prozac and how he believed the drug ultimately wasn't for him.
"There are peaks, there are valleys. But they're all kind of carved and smoothed out, and it feels like a low level of despair you live in, where you're not getting any answers, but you're living OK. And you can smile at the office. You know? But it's a low level of despair. You know?"
Jim Carrey is still tackling high-profile movie roles, but he's also getting praise for his paintings, like the one of Melania Trump.
Carrey's artwork has been showcased both on his online social media and in Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. The actor/painter uploaded a piece after Melania and Donald Trump left the Oval Office. The scathing criticism of the former first lady was retweeted thousands of times online.