Wil Wheaton was moved by his former Stand By Me co-star Jerry O’Connell’s apology for being unaware of the abuse and trauma Wheaton had experienced as a child.
Wheaton appeared on The Talk Thursday, where O’Connell serves as a co-host, and where he apologized to Wheaton.
“I heard before you talk about some of the struggles you were going through during Stand by Me, and you know, while I was 11 at the time, that’s an excuse; I do want to apologize for not being there more for you when you were younger,” O’Connell said. “But I want to say, to the bigger picture, you never know what someone is going through when you’re with them. I don’t feel guilt, but I just want to say I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you more when you were younger.”
“But I wish I was older back then so I could’ve said, ‘Hey Wil, hey man, is anything ?’” O’Connell continued.
“I deeply appreciate that,” a sympathetic Wheaton replied. “You were 11. How could you have possibly known? Also, everyone in the audience who is a trauma survivor knows this: We’re real, real, real good at covering up what we’re going through.”
Wheaton spoke of the pain he experienced as a child in an interview with Yahoo Entertainment in May 2021. Wheaton said he “didn’t want to be an actor when I was a kid. My parents forced me to do it,” alleging of his actress mom, “My mother made me do it. My mother coached me to go into her agency and tell the children’s agent, ‘I want to do what Mommy does.’ “
After hearing of Wheaton’s comments, O’Connell later said on The Talk that he had no idea what Wheaton was going through when they were filming the movie.
“I think what should be said is you have no idea — not even co-workers, just people close to you — you have no idea what is going on with someone,” he added. “So if you sense anything amiss, anything weird, it costs you nothing to just go up to them and say, ‘Hey is everything okay? Is anything going on? Do you need someone to talk to?’”
Wheaton and O’Connell starred, along with Corey Feldman and River Phoenix, in the 1986 coming-of-age film Stand By Me, directed by Rob Reiner. They portrayed four boys who, in 1959, go on a hike to find the dead body of a missing boy.
You can watch Wheaton’s appearance on The Talk above.