The following article contains mention of suicide.
Since she was 6, Alyson Stoner has appeared in some of the most classic films and TV shows including Cheaper by the Dozen, Drake & Josh, Step Up and Phineas and Ferb to name a few. per IMDb. The child actor didn’t just make waves in the industry at a young age; By the time she was 9, she was also showing off her moves in some of hip hop’s biggest music videos. She starred in several of Missy Elliot’s videos such as “Work It”, “Pass That Dutch” and even had a brief appearance in Eminem’s “Just Lose It”.
On the outside, Stoner was living every child’s dream. But behind closed doors she lived a nightmare. “Nothing was designed to end up being… ‘normal.’ ‘Stable.’ ‘Alive,'” she wrote in a personal comment for People. The ‘The Loud House’ star also shed light on the grueling conditions she endured as a child actress — including how she was encouraged to emancipate herself so she could work longer to make it more rewarding. “Then it hits me. My childhood is officially over,” the Disney star added.
In addition to the emotional and physical stress Stoner experienced as a child star, she also attempted to come to terms with her sexuality.
Alyson Stoner remembers the first time she fell in love with a woman
Alyson Stoner told Teen Vogue about the pivotal moment she realized she was first attracted to the opposite sex. The woman who fascinated Stoner and helped her see the world in a different light happened to be the dance teacher at a workshop she attended. “Her smile was the most electric thing I’ve ever seen,” she wrote. The actress recalls texting her mother and her best friend immediately afterwards to gush about the woman she’d just met and how she was feeling at the moment. “I think she’s going to be in my life for a very long time,” Stoner told them.
Although she eventually fell in love with the young lady, Stoner said she was afraid to confront her sexuality because of her religious beliefs. “My faith played a large part in every aspect of my life at the time, and my worldview was neither supportive nor condoning of same-sex relationships,” she wrote. The dancer told Teen Vogue that people in Hollywood had advised her that coming out would ruin her career. “My dream and everything I had worked tirelessly for since I was six was suddenly in jeopardy,” she added.
Stoner now identifies as pansexual, meaning she is attracted to a person regardless of their biological sex or gender identity. However, the road to living her truth has been tough.
Alyson Stoner underwent conversion therapy
During a heartbreaking interview with Insider, Alyson Stoner opened up about the extreme lengths she went to to cover up her sexual identity. The actress revealed that she had undergone what is known as conversion therapy to rid herself of feelings for the opposite sex. “My mind doesn’t even want to go there,” she told the outlet. “My legs started shaking at the thought of reliving some of that.”
Stoner explained that she spoke to several pastors during this time – and found that they all had preconceived notions about the LGBTQ+ community based on their own religion-influenced experiences. “I felt stuck. I felt miserable,” she added. “I felt like there was something wrong with me, even though in my heart all I aspired to was to be a devoted follower of God.” According to WebMD, conversion therapy is “any emotional or physical therapy used to reduce a person’s attraction.” same-gender or ‘heal’ or ‘repair’ their gender identity and expression.”
Government officials and political figures have opposed this dangerous form of “therapy” for years, and while it received a lot of backlash, Stoner believed it would help. Instead, she contemplated taking her own life. “I was still thinking about whether my life was worth living or whether there was something wrong with me,” she told Insider. Despite everything she’s been through, Stoner now lives in her truth and continues to thrive in her career.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255).