September 9th, 2013
06:09 PM ET
If Wentworth Miller had accomplished what he set out to do at 15, he wouldn't have lived past his adolescence.
The "Prison Break" star, who came out as gay in August, said at a recent Human Rights Campaign dinner that he struggled with his sexuality as a teenager, and the pressure to fit in made him want to take his life.
"Growing up, I was a target. Speaking the right way, standing the right way, holding your wrist the right way. Every day was a test, and there were a thousand ways to fail ... to not live up to someone else's standard of what was accepted, of what was normal," Miller told the audience, according to video obtained by TMZ.
"The first time I tried to kill myself, I was 15," he recalled. "I waited until my family went away for the weekend, and I was alone in the house, and I swallowed a bottle of pills."
As he became an actor and grew more successful, he began to fear being honest about his orientation.
"I had multiple opportunities to speak my truth, that I was gay, but I chose not to," the 41-year-old said. "When I thought about the possibility of coming out, of how that might impact me and the career I might work so hard for, I was filled with fear."
It wasn't until this year that Miller, who'd been invited to the St. Petersburg International Film Festival and declined to attend on account of the current climate toward gay men and women in Russia, saw the opportunity to be the inspiration he needed as a kid.
"I thought if even one person notices, this letter in which I speak my truth and integrate my small story into this much larger and more important one is worth sending," he said. "I thought, 'Let me be to someone else what no one was to me.'"
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