Robin Williams' Son Speaks Out About Addiction And The Loss Of His Father

Robin Williams' son, Zak Williams, has opened up about his struggles with alcohol and drugs in the Apple TV+ mental health series "The Me You Can't See," co-produced by Prince Harry and Oprah Winfrey. According to The Independent, Zak discussed how his own addiction issues were "generational," adding that he wants to "break the cycle" within his own family. 

"It just became part of my identity. I'm just like, 'I can do this so I can get through the day.' And the weird thing for me, I would take uppers. I would take cocaine and the like to calm down," Zak revealed, adding that he had previously spoken to his father about his issues. "He was similar. He would use uppers as a way of focusing and relaxing." 

According to the Daily Mail, Zak later discussed how he struggled to cope in the wake of his father's death, revealing that he was eventually diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. "My life became unmanageable as part of that. I was just angry and sad and didn't want to feel anything so it just created wreckage ... I was drinking to excess, damaging my relationship with my family, I was experiencing psychosis." Williams added that in order to change his life, he had to cut out "the self medicating" and deal with his grief head on.

Zak Williams is a mental health advocate

Per The Independent, Zak's late father, Robin Williams, died by suicide at the age of 63 in 2014. Following an autopsy, it was revealed the comedian and actor had been suffering from a brain disease known as Lewy body dementia. As People reported in 2020, Zak Williams was "traumatized" after the death of his father. He eventually realized he needed help when his drinking got to be too much. "Ultimately, I found that if I continued living that way, it wasn't a life that was worth living. Something had to give," he says. 

Zak began a recovery program and began the healing process with a combination of "therapy, healthy eating, exercise, and meditation." For him, it's important that he break the cycle of addiction because he doesn't want his own son to go through what he did. In October 2020, Zak married his wife, Olivia, following the 2019 birth of their son, McLaurin Clement Williams. Per USA Today, Zak honored his father in naming his child, as McLaurin was Robin Williams' middle name.

"I'm thrilled to have a family and live the life that I always wanted to live," Zak says. "I've learned I'm not broken. Despite experiencing traumatic events, I can recover. And I am now on a path of healing and being the person I always wanted to be."

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.