Tragic Details About Mayim Bialik

Trigger warning: This article contains mentions of mental health issues and disordered eating.

We all know and love Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler on "The Big Bang Theory," a wildly brilliant neuroscientist and Sheldon Cooper's true love. Of course, the actor has been on screen for much longer than the ten seasons she was on the CBS hit, as she began acting in the late '80s as a child and got her big break in 1990 with NBC's "Blossom." Throughout her 30-plus years in the industry, Bialik has had a stunning transformation, gotten her Ph.D. in neuroscience, become the star of her own show, "Call Me Kat," and landed the coveted hosting gig on "Jeopardy!" alongside Ken Jennings after long-time host Alex Trebek's death.

However, as successful as Bialik's career has been, her life hasn't all been sunshine and rainbows, and she's dealt with several tragedies over the years. Not only has the actor been the subject of public backlash and criticism, but she's also endured difficulties with her mental health, heartbreak, and grief more than once. Thankfully, she's been brave enough to speak out about the challenges she's faced and has come out the other side stronger than ever. Here are the tragic details about Mayim Bialik and her road to recovery.

Mayim Bialik was in a car accident in 2012

Back in August 2012, Mayim Bialik was driving by herself in Los Angeles when another car driven by a tourist crashed into hers while making a turn. She was taken to the hospital with a serious injury to her left hand. The actor informed her fans via Twitter just a few hours later in a post typed by her husband, sharing that she'd make a full recovery and thankfully wouldn't lose any fingers.

The following week, Bialik spoke with Vanity Fair about the "devastating, tragic accident," saying that she wanted to recover privately, but that she appreciated the outpouring of love from fans. "What I said to the firefighters and paramedics when I was in the ambulance on my way to the hospital was, 'God doesn't give you more than what you can handle.' ... My publicist was on a cruise at the time, and I said to her that this is what happens when your Emmy campaign slows down! You get into a car accident," Bialik quipped.

The following year, the actor sued the driver of the other vehicle for the injuries sustained to her hand, which she was still recovering from in October 2013, more than a year after the accident.

She dealt with anxiety while filming The Big Bang Theory

Mayim Bialik may seem like a natural-born performer and she's been acting since she was just 12 years old, so it's hard to believe that she would still feel anxious on the job. In July 2021, she spoke openly about her anxiety for the first time on her podcast "Mayim Bialik's Breakdown," saying, "With acting stuff, my level of anxiety surrounding performing is very, very high. It's a high level of anxiety. And when I've tried to do things like improv ... things that are very, kind of, free form, I freeze. I literally freeze."

Bialik may have appeared in over 200 episodes of "The Big Bang Theory" between 2010 and 2019, but despite her comfort with the cast and crew, her anxiety around performing impacted her on the set of the hit show as well. She continued, "I've had this a handful of times when working on Big Bang Theory when there was a certain way they wanted a line delivered. ... And I do it, but it's still not right."

Having dealt with anxiety for a number of years, Bialik has learned to implement some coping mechanisms that help her deal with it. She highlighted that she uses guided meditations, goes for walks in the evenings, and sometimes places a weighted blanket on her shoulders.

Mayim Bialik and her husband divorced in 2012

When Mayim Bialik was a grad student at UCLA, she met Michael Stone in calculus class and the two hit it off. All seemed perfect, but there was just one problem; she was Jewish and he was raised Mormon. As the actor explained to Stone, she wouldn't be able to marry him unless he converted, so that's exactly what he did. The couple tied the knot in 2003 and had two sons, Miles in 2005 and Frederik in 2008. Unfortunately, the pairing wasn't meant to be, leading Bialik and Stone to divorce in 2013.

In November 2012, the actor released a blog post on the Jewish parenting site Kveller about their decision to separate. "After much consideration and soul-searching, Michael and I have arrived at the decision to divorce due to 'Irreconcilable Differences.' Divorce is terribly sad, painful and incomprehensible for children. ... Our sons deserve parents committed to their growth and health and that's what we are focusing on," she wrote.

Bialik and Stone have remained cordial as they've continued co-parenting their sons, whom they share joint custody of. In August 2020, the "Big Bang Theory" star shared how appreciative she's been of Stone during the pandemic, telling Us Weekly, "I'm so incredibly grateful, not only for my ex-husband, but for all of the work that we've put in to be able to have the kind of conversations we have to have."

Her father died in 2015

Barry Bialik died in April 2015 at the age of 72 and was survived by his wife Beverly and daughter Mayim. Soon after, the actor took to Kveller to share a blog post about her father's death and the grief she was experiencing. Bialik's father had been in hospice for months, giving the family time to prepare and come to terms with the end of his life, but it was still a gut-wrenching loss. "For those of you who have lost a parent, you know how I feel. You tell me you do. For those of you who have lost someone else you were close to, you also tell me you know how I feel. But you don't. Because you're not me losing my Abba. ... Jewish mourning is profound and I am deep in it," she wrote.

Many years later, Bialik turned the loss of her father into her first feature-length film, "As They Made Us," which she directed and co-wrote. In speaking with Yahoo Entertainment in 2022, she described the film's premise and how it relates to her life. "The way I've framed it is that it's not a memoir, and it's not autobiography. By definition, that means there are things in it that have never happened, and there are things that have been fabricated," she explained.

She was accused of victim blaming in 2017

Following the groundbreaking revelations around Harvey Weinstein's alleged abusive behavior in early October 2017, celebrities everywhere spoke out about the scandal. Some shared their experiences of sexual assault within the industry while others were seen as adding fuel to the fire, like when Mayim Bialik penned an op-ed for the New York Times titled "Being a Feminist in Harvey Weinstein's World" in mid-October of 2017.

She wrote about her experience working in Hollywood, saying that her "nontraditional" looks led to her being cast as "the frumpy friend" and she wasn't sexualized as harshly. "I still make choices every day as a 41-year-old actress that I think of as self-protecting and wise. I have decided that my sexual self is best reserved for private situations with those I am most intimate with. I dress modestly. I don't act flirtatiously with men as a policy," Bialik wrote.

Many readers took her words to mean that she blamed Weinstein's victims for their abuse, as perhaps they didn't dress modestly or flirted with men when they shouldn't have. A few days after her story was published, Bialik spoke with the New York Times on Facebook Live to clear up any misconceptions. "There is no way to avoid being the victim of assault by what you wear or the way you behave. ... I am deeply, deeply hurt if any woman in particular who has been assaulted, or man, thinks that I was victim blaming," Bialik explained.

Mayim Bialik lives with OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an often misunderstood mental health diagnosis that is composed of repetitive thoughts and behaviors, which can severely impact a person's day-to-day life. In May 2019, Mayim Bialik took part in the #MyYoungerSelf campaign, a movement run by Child Mind Institute intended to reduce the stigma around mental health and learning disorders. In the video, she revealed that she lives with OCD and stated what she would like to tell her younger self. "One of the things that made my life really difficult was trying new things. ... With trusting other people and learning to trust other people and lean on them for support, you can make changes and still be okay," Bialik said.

Because it's such a misunderstood diagnosis, Bialik aimed to dispel some of the myths around OCD while speaking with Mara Wilson on her podcast "Mayim Bialik's Breakdown" in December 2022. "I think what a lot of people sort of mistake colloquially is, like, 'I like to have things this way. I'm OCD,' and obsessive-compulsive disorder is a diagnosis that requires both obsessions and compulsions, and the obsessions are the things that we think about or ruminate on. The compulsions are typically actions that are done to expel the anxiety from the obsessions," the actor explained.

She's been in recovery for an eating disorder since 2019

Mayim Bialik has gained credibility and trust due to her educational background, and since she started her podcast in 2020, she's become a prominent voice in the world of mental health. Bialik's platform has allowed her to discuss her own personal struggles, and we now know the truth of what Bialik has been through, including the fact that she is now in recovery for an eating disorder.

In a March 2021 episode of "Mayim Bialik's Breakdown," the actor said that she had wanted to open up about her eating disorder because she was inspired by her guest on the episode, Glennon Doyle, who had been so open and honest about the difficulties in her life. Bialik explained, "This is the first time I've ever talked about it, because people are like, 'Well, why are you so overweight?' Well, because I'm a compulsive overeater in addition to being an anorexic and restricter." Thankfully, she added that at the time of recording, she had been in recovery for two years already.

If you need help with an eating disorder, or know someone who does, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).

Mayim Bialik faced backlash for being an anti-vaxxer

Back in 2012, Mayim Bialik published a book about parenting, "Beyond the Sling," in which she wrote about not vaccinating her children. "We made an informed decision not to vaccinate our children. But this is a very personal decision that should be made only after sufficient research, which today is within reach of every parent who seeks to learn about their child's health regardless of their medical knowledge or educational status," she wrote.

Bialik was labeled an anti-vaxxer and when COVID came about, the internet was quick to resurface comments the actor had made about vaccinations. Given her prominence in Hollywood and the fact that she has a Ph.D. in neuroscience, commenters online were shocked by the actor's stance.

In October 2020, Bialik released a video on YouTube setting the record straight about her thoughts on getting vaccinated. She revealed that she would be getting the COVID vaccine and flu shot after not receiving a vaccine in 30 years and that her sons would be getting their first-ever flu shots as well. "I wrote a book about 10 years ago about my experience parenting. And, at the time, my children had not received the typical schedule of vaccines. But I have never, not once, said that vaccines are not valuable, not useful, or not necessary, because they are," she said. Bialik went on to say that her reasons for delaying her children's vaccinations were private, but that they are now vaccinated.

She's faced criticism as the host of Jeopardy!

When the beloved "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek died in 2020 after a 37-season run, former champion of the show Ken Jennings and actor Mayim Bialik were handed the reins. They took turns hosting the game show, alternating every couple of months, and fans were quick to flood the internet with their thoughts on Jennings' and Bialik's performances. Sadly, "The Big Bang Theory" actor received some strong criticism around everything from her timing to her own personal beliefs.

Several posts on Reddit painted Bialik in a harsh light with comments like, "Would anyone else agree that Mayim [Bialik] can come off as condescending?" and "I like her as an actress, but I do not respect her as a person." It became clear that Jennings was the preferred host, and this was a difficult pill for the Bialik to swallow.

In a 2022 interview with Yahoo Entertainment, the host addressed the comments made about her by the "Jeopardy!" audience, saying, "People care a lot. I get it. And I'm sorry; I'm doing my best!" Despite being a target for hateful comments online, the actor said that she does enjoy several aspects of hosting the game show. "I love meeting the contestants. ... I'm interested in people, and it's just so fun to get to meet people from all over the country," she continued.

Mayim Bialik got COVID in 2022

For years, Mayim Bialik has been reiterating her stance on vaccinations, and in April 2022, she again addressed the anti-vaxxer rumors circulating around her. "If I had been the kind of person to say, 'Don't get vaccinated,' then yes, people would have an interesting story to write. But I never said to not get vaccinated," she told the Daily Beast. Just two months after she had again confirmed that she received the COVID vaccination, Bialik came down with the illness.

In an Instagram video with the hashtags #vaxxed and #boosted in the caption, "The Big Bang Theory" actor quipped, "Not sure if this is clickbait or not but I have a COVID." She directed followers to watch her Instagram Live video in which she discussed her symptoms, referring to them as "no joke," adding that the exhaustion was difficult to deal with and that she was immunocompromised due to asthma and a thyroid condition. After receiving more backlash over her vaccination stance, Bialik made a follow-up video in which she stated, "I do have COVID as a person who is vaccinated and boosted. No one said you wouldn't get COVID if you're vaccinated and boosted."

She found out her co-star died while waiting for him on set

Leslie Jordan had been acting since the '80s and became known for his roles on "Will & Grace" and "American Horror Story" before he co-starred alongside Mayim Bialik in "Call Me Kat." He played Phil in what would become his last television show appearance, as the actor died in October 2022 at the age of 67 from sudden cardiac dysfunction.

Of course, those who had worked with him were devastated by Jordan's death. Bialik posted a heartful message to Instagram, and Fox released a statement on behalf of the cast and crew of "Call Me Kat." It read, "Leslie was far more than an Emmy Award-winning comedic talent with whom we've laughed alongside for all these years. He was the kindest person you could ever imagine who simply lit up a room and brought pure joy and huge smiles to millions of people around the world."

But the way Bialik and many of the cast members found out about Jordan's death emphasizes the tragedy all the more. In speaking on "The Jennifer Hudson Show" nearly six months after her co-star died, Bialik mentioned that she and the rest of the cast had been expecting Jordan on set when they heard the news. "We were all at work and waiting for him to show up at work, so it was very, very, very complicated to have the whole crew there and the whole cast," she explained.