In June of 2015, former child actor Jake Lloyd — best known for portraying young Anakin Skywalker in 1999’s Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace — was arrested after a high-speed chase with police, and spent 10 months in a South Carolina jail…
In 1999, a 10-year old Jake Lloyd was about to star in one of the biggest Hollywood blockbuster in years. It was the first Star Wars film since Return of the Jedi in 1983, and it marked the first of George Lucas’ Prequel Trilogy films. Lloyd was to portray a nine-year old slave boy named Anakin Skywalker, who would one day grow-up and become the most feared villain in all the galaxy, Darth Vader.
Then the film debuted and the fanboys/girls got ahold of it, and critically destroyed the film’s actors, Lucas’ perceived overuse of CGI, and what was hailed as poor lightsaber battles (fighting at each other instead of through each other). The fanboy/girl reaction would haunt the entire Prequel Trilogy, and is something that has been a tragically unfair critique that — for some unknown reason — still stands as a legitimate concern of the films, today.
Perhaps what alienated Jake Lloyd from the Star Wars fanbase, is when the actor infamously came out against the entire Star Wars franchise, when he said that the films ruined his life, and eventually led to his quitting acting altogether:
"“Other children were really mean to me. They would make the sound of the lightsaber every time they saw me. It was totally mad.”"
Lloyd’s hatred of acting, born from the bullying he received from the Star Wars films, echoed in his professional life, and caused him to turn his back on the profession that had earned he and his family money and him, fame:
"“I’ve learned to hate it when the cameras are pointed at me.”"
This leads us to South Carolina in June of 2015, and Lloyd led police on a wild, high-speed car chase through two counties, while exceeding speed-limits of 100 mph. I won’t show you the video or Lloyd’s mugshot photo, because TMZ did enough to drive home that another former child actor was in trouble with the law, yet again. Instead, I’ll show you a photo of Jake Lloyd from when he was still going to Star Wars conventions, and meeting the fans.
According to the NY Daily News, Lloyd spent 10 months in a South Carolina jail, before someone noticed something about his mental health. Just last week, Lloyd was transferred from the jail to a mental institution to get the proper help he needs, because you see, Jake Lloyd because suffers from schizophrenia.
This would also explain why he once attacked his own mother. She never filed charges because Lisa knew her 19-year old son was suffering from schizophrenia, was supposed to be taking prescribed medications, but was not, and this most likely led to the attack.
"Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by abnormal social behavior and failure to understand reality. Common symptoms include false beliefs, unclear or confused thinking, hearing voices, reduced social engagement and emotional expression, and a lack of motivation. People often have additional mental health problems such as anxiety disorders, major depressive illness or substance use disorder. Symptoms typically come on gradually, begin in young adulthood, and last a long time."
Jake Lloyd needs the Star Wars fanbase more than ever. He needs us to rally around him and send our support to him, to let him know that he’s not alone with this illness. Despite his one-time denouncing the Star Wars franchise and fanbase, he was once Anakin Skywalker, and that makes him forever one of us.
Currently, there’s no mention of how to contact Lloyd’s mother, in order to send support, but there is the Brain and Behaviour Research Foundation that deals with just about every mental illness and you can donate there.
And, if you or someone you know suffers from a mental illness and has considered hurting yourself or others, please call the National Suicide Hotline at: 1 (800) 273-8255, or the National Mental Illness HelpLine at: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or firstname.lastname@example.org. The NAMI HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 am–6 pm, ET.