General Hospital star Tyler Christopher, who died Tuesday at 50, had been candid about the battles with alcohol addiction and bipolar disorder which haunted him for much of his life.
Christopher in March of 2022 sat down for an in-depth interview with his friend and colleague Maurice Bernard on Bernard’s podcast about mental health, State of Mind.
Christopher told Bernard that he understood that drinking led down a deadly path, saying, ‘At some point, you cannot survive it’ and that ‘at some point, it will kill you – and it has.’
Christopher revealed on the podcast that he had ‘flatlined’ three times after alcohol-related incidents.
‘Nobody knows that,’ he said. ‘Three times I have flatlined, and they brought me back. Twice from poisoning, once from withdrawal.’
Details: General Hospital star Tyler Christopher, who died Tuesday at 50, had been candid about the battles with alcohol addiction and bipolar disorder which haunted him for much of his life. He was pictured on a podcast in March of 2022 discussing his issues
The actor played the role of Nikolas Cassadine on 1,153 episodes of General Hospital from 1996 to 2016.
For his work on the series, he earned four daytime Emmy nominations and in 2016, he won the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.
In the years following, he portrayed Stefan DiMera on 159 episodes of another stalwart soap in Days of Our Lives, from 2018 to 2019.
On the podcast, Christopher said he was ‘crushed’ when his alcohol problems impacted him professionally, leading to his departures from both high-profile soap operas, according to Soaps In-Depth.
‘I took for granted the one thing I love the most,’ he said. ‘It was devastating for a myriad of reasons. One, the thing that I love the most was taken away. Two, I threw it away. Nobody took it away from me. I dropped it, okay?
‘Having to walk out those doors under that circumstance, was like, “Wow, this is for real, dude.” This is for real.’
Christopher said that after introspection, he accepted responsibility for the impact his addiction had on his life.
‘My pride and ego were very quick to intervene – “Who can I blame for this?” – and when I looked in the mirror, there was only one person to point the finger at.’
The actor had been plagued by legal problems involving alcohol in recent years, including a November 2019 public intoxication arrest in Indiana on his birthday
Christopher in March of 2022 sat down for an in-depth interview with his friend and colleague Maurice Benard on Benard’s podcast about mental health, State of Mind, in an exchange he described as ‘100% real and honest’
The show’s Maurice Benard announced the tragic news on Instagram Tuesday
In the exchange, Christopher told Benard that the first time he had consumed liquor, he was nine-years-old and in the third grade after one of his peers encouraged him to try vanilla extract.
‘Some idiot said, “There’s alcohol in there; if you drink it, you’ll get funny, silly,”‘ he said. ‘So what’s the first thing I do when I go home? I go in the cabinet and my mom had vanilla extract from left to right.
‘And I took every one. And exactly what my friends told me would happen, happened. That’s how it started, and it never stopped.’
The actor had been plagued by legal problems involving alcohol in recent years: He was arrested six months ago after passing out drunk at an LA airport, which marked his second public intoxication arrest in three years.
Christopher was found on the floor fast asleep at Burbank Airport in Los Angeles this past May 26, when police were alerted to the snoozing soap star and woke him, according to TMZ.
Christopher told the authorities he had missed his flight before he was handcuffed and booked for public intoxication.
The authorities said Christopher displayed clear signs of being intoxicated and that he was ‘unable to care for himself,’ according to the news outlet.
He was released shortly after his arrest and given a court date, the news outlet reported.
Christopher was pictured in 2018 in Pasadena, California at the NBCUniversal Winter Press Tour
Christopher in a 2010 scene with actress Rebecca Herbst (Elizabeth) during their days together on the long-running soap General Hospital
Christopher, pictured in 2018, said he was ‘crushed’ when his alcohol problems impacted him professionally, leading to his departures from both high-profile soap operas
In November 2019, Christopher was arrested for public intoxication in his hometown of Martinsville, Indiana, forcing him to spend his 47th birthday behind bars, TMZ reported.
In an incident on November 11, 2019, an Uber driver had alerted officers to Christopher’s behavior after he allegedly passed out and urinated on himself after he’d been dropped off at his home. He had 2 fifths of bourbon on her person at the time, according to the outlet.
Authorities said in legal docs reviews by the outlet that police had taken nine reports in connection with Christopher’s drunken behavior in the two-month span beginning September 14.
In one incident November 8, 2019 at a Walgreens, a person reported that Christopher had been trying to get inside of their vehicle. Police who detained the actor said that he had sported possible head injuries as he had been bleeding from his nose and urinated in his pants.
Authorities transported Christopher to a nearby emergency room for an examination and a breathalyzer test, which his BAC showed as .267, more than three times the legal limit to drive.
On the 2022 podcast, Christopher said that in late 2019, he suffered further health setbacks when he suffered alcohol withdrawal, and cracked the back of his skull when he fell and his head on a bathtub. Christopher said he underwent neurological rehab for four months to regain his facilities following the dangerous occurrence.
‘The doctor told me, “You are never 100 percent going to be healed from this,”‘ Christopher said on the podcast. ‘I still have side effects. I still get headaches; I’ve got the scars.’
He said in the March 2022 interview that he was abstaining from alcohol amid advice from his physician: ‘The doctor told me, “Compound the effect that you are also a recovering addict, if you decided to go back to that part of your life again, your brain can’t handle it.”‘
Tyler Christopher earned four Daytime Emmy nominations and in 2016 won the award for ‘Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series,’ after playing the role of Nikolas Cassadine for nearly two decades. Pictured in LA in 2016
Christopher in July spoke with Bloomberg about a family issue he was dealing with, after he had been placed in the guardianship of his sister Susan Asmo Baker in 2019 after he was injured in an alcohol-related incident.
Christopher told the outlet that he ‘never thought in a million years that I would be taken advantage of by a family member’ after he sued his sibling claiming she had spent $40,000 of his toward her own expenses.
She had denied any wrongdoing to the court and the outlet, telling Bloomberg in an email, ‘If I hadn’t been his Guardian he’d be DEAD!’
Christopher said that he had been working on a book that would help other people who live with addiction and bipolar disorder, though it was not clear if he had finished it prior to his passing.
In an interview last month with Digital Journal, Christopher said that he was ‘honored’ Benard interviewed him.
‘For Maurice, it is very personal and he takes it very seriously,’ he said. ‘When you go on there, you have to be truthful or you are going to look foolish. I decided to be very honest, truthful, transparent, and very real. I would love to someday do a follow-up.’
Christopher’s death was announced by Benard on Instagram Tuesday.
‘It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Tyler Christopher. Tyler passed away this morning following a cardiac event in his San Diego apartment.
‘Tyler was a truly talented individual that lit up the screen in every scene he performed and relished bringing joy to his loyal fans through his acting,’ Benard said on the social media site. ‘Tyler was a sweet soul and wonderful friend to all of those who knew him.’
Christopher and ex-wife Eva Longoria were pictured at the 29th annual Daytime Emmy Awards in NYC in May of 2022
The former couple was pictured at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood, California in 2002
Christopher and Longoria were pictured at an event in 2003, a year before their split
Benard said that his late colleague ‘was an advocate for better mental health and substance use treatment who openly spoke about his struggles with bipolar depression and alcohol,’ adding, ‘We are beyond devastated by the loss of our dear friend and pray for his children and his father.’
Christopher’s representative Chi Muoi Lo also confirmed the actor’s death in a statement to CNN.
‘This news was incredibly shocking, and I am devastated by his loss,’ the actor’s rep said. ‘He was a very gifted actor, and more importantly, an amazing friend. My heart goes out to his friends and family who loved him so much.’
In his personal life, Christopher was twice married: to Desperate Housewives alum Eva Longoria from 2002 to 2004; and to one-time ESPN personality Brienne Pedigo from 2008 thru 2021.
He and Pedigo welcomed two children – a son Greysun James, 10, and a 4-year-old daughter, Boheme.
Some of Christopher’s other television and film roles included Days of Our Lives, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and the Paul Winfield dramedy Catfish in Black Bean Sauce, earlier in his career.
He also appeared in the crime drama No Turning Back, Face the Music, and The Twilight Zone, as well as the 2014 romantic drama Beyond the Lights.
In recent years, he had been seen in TV films such as 2023’s Ice Storm, and the 2022 films 20.0 Megaquake and Super Volcano.
Amid news of Christopher’s death, a number of his contemporaries and fans took to social media to pay memorial to the late actor on the post from Benard announcing his passing
Colleagues and fans of the late entertainer took to Twitter with memorials amid news of his death
Amid news of Christopher’s death, a number of his contemporaries and fans took to social media to pay memorial to the late actor.
Actor Bryan Craig said, ‘Wow so sad,’ while actor Doug Davidson said, ‘Oh my God. He was such a beautiful person and an amazing actor. I am in total shock. May God bless his soul.’
Actor Sean Kanan said, ‘Stunned to hear that Tyler Christopher passed away. I have no words. RIP my friend.’
General Hospital executive producer Frank Valentini said he was ‘heartbroken over the news’ and remembered Christopher as ‘an incredible actor and a dear friend,’ adding, ‘Our heartfelt sympathies go out to his loved ones during this difficult time.’
A fan of the actor said, ‘I’m stunned…so many people are just leaving this world too soon. RIP Tyler Christopher, wow!! We’ve lost another talented individual, thinking of his loved ones.’
Another fan said that ‘Christopher’s eternal talent and charm filled us all with joy,’ adding, ‘I, like many others, was always rooting for him. I hope he felt that.’
One fan noted a spate of recent untimely celebrity deaths , saying, ‘Billy Miller, Matthew Perry and now Tyler Christopher is gone too?!? My heart hurts.’
Another fan said they were ‘stunned and absolutely devastated’ about Christopher’s death, adding that ‘losing him and Billy Miller within a month of each other is a double gut punch,’ and ‘May their souls rest in peace.’