Mark Ruffalo's Tragic Past

Mark Ruffalo's Tragic Past

These days, Mark Ruffalo seems to be riding high on his blockbuster success. But in reality, the actor has endured overwhelming challenges to get where he is today. From life-threatening health issues, to the loss of those closest to him, here's a look at Mark Ruffalo's tragic real-life story.

Ruffalo grew up in Wisconsin, alongside his brother and two sisters. But according to Men's Journal, when his father, Frank's painting business went under, the family moved to Virginia Beach. Then, when a second business tanked, the Ruffalos headed west.

In San Diego, Frank was only able to find temporary work, and the family spiraled into bankruptcy. Mark, who had just graduated high school, has recalled in several interviews that the family was living in a neighborhood where drugs like meth were commonly sold.

As Ruffalo recalls it, grade school was difficult. He told Parade,

"I was miserable. This sounds sappy, but I was always aware of the frailty of human beings, the sorrow in the nature of things. I didn't know how to live in the world, how to cope. I felt like I didn't belong."

Later in life, Ruffalo discovered he had been suffering from undiagnosed ADHD and dyslexia. In 2017, he teamed up with the Child Mind Institute on their My Younger Self initiative, revealing a bit of his own journey with mental health.

Ruffalo even moved his young family from upstate New York back to New York City so his children could attend a school with a program for dyslexic students, should they need it.

While Ruffalo was living in L.A., he had a best friend named Michael.

But in 1994, Michael succumbed to his own depression, and took his own life.

To Ruffalo, acting became a way of moving forward past the pain of his younger years. Keep watching the video to see more of Mark Ruffalo's tragic past.

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Working class roots | 0:15
A late diagnosis | 0:48
Losing his best friend | 1:31
Dark times | 1:58
A serious health crisis | 2:41
A family tragedy | 3:37
A break from the biz | 4:18
Mark Ruffalo's Tragic Past backup