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Tyler James Williams's Illness Has Drastically Changed His Life Since His Days As A Child Actor

TheThings 3/18/2023 Cailyn Cox

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  • Did Tyler James Williams Enjoy Being A Child Actor?
  • What Illness Did Tyler James Williams Have That Changed His Life?
  • How Did Tyler James Williams Make A Comeback?

Tyler James Williams started his acting career at a young age with appearances on Saturday Night Live, Sesame Street, as a voice actor for Little Bill, and most notably, his role in Everybody Hates Chris.

Williams successfully transitioned from child actor to adult star, but his health also took a dramatic turn in his early twenties. These days, he has made significant changes not only to how he eats but also to how he approaches his roles…

Did Tyler James Williams Enjoy Being A Child Actor?

Tyler James Williams wanted to become a child actor when he was four. Bustle notes that he first realized this when he watched a video of Will Smith in Men in Black. He would then begin auditioning for roles and, within six months, would land one. Impressive is an understatement.

RELATED: 15 Strict Rules These Child Actors Had To Follow On Movie Sets

Child actors often get a bad reputation because of the pressure that comes with growing up in the limelight from such a young age. Despite this, Williams did not fall off the wagon, as so many have. When asked by Bustle how he is so "well-adjusted," he answered with honesty about his personal experience and that of his brothers.

Tyler James Williams on red carpet © Provided by TheThings Tyler James Williams on red carpet

"We're not as chaotic as I think most child actors get the [reputation for] being, but that doesn't necessarily mean we adjusted well," he said. "We had a lot to work through, and a lot of therapists got a lot of money from me. That was the uphill fight and what feels like the fight of my career and life. Because [acting] is the only thing that I love like this. I lost 6 inches of my intestines to that."

The comment on his intestines will be explained later but is directly related to his health concerns.

Transitioning from a child actor to an adult one comes with difficulties, and not all actors can do it successfully. Reflecting on this time, Williams told Bustle: "As a child, it's really weird when your audience tells you that you did such a good job at something that they don't want you to do anything else. I knew I could fall into this trap of child actors and [be] known for one thing and never work again and just be a nostalgia artist, and I was hyperaware of that. I think I overcompensated. I was really calculated in everything I did."

What Illness Did Tyler James Williams Have That Changed His Life?

What many people may not realize about Tyler James Williams is that he has Crohn's disease. He was first diagnosed when he was in his early twenties. Mayo Clinic describes it as "an inflammatory bowel disease that causes chronic inflammation of the GI tract."

RELATED: These Actors Played Parent And Child On Screen, But Didn't Get Along In Real Life

At the time of the diagnosis, he admits that he had been pushing his body physically in an attempt to gain muscle. "I was really pushing my body to the limit," he told Men's Health in 2023.

"By the time December hit, it just crashed. Everything shut down." The flare-up was so bad that he had to undergo surgery, removing six inches of his lower intestine. This was an incredibly challenging time in his life, as the publication notes he spent months "living on intravenous foods with an ostomy bag." There was even a point where he was even too weak to stand.

Tyler James Williams © Provided by TheThings Tyler James Williams

When he started to get better, his lifestyle had to change. This included giving up alcohol, red meat, and coffee and changing his diet to include smaller meals. He also needed to control stress, which could lead to a flare-up. In addition to breathing work, his outlook toward his career also changed.

"When I woke up and eventually got back to [being] myself, it was like, what would make it not suck?" he reflected in his interview. The answer was "purpose-driven" roles like that of Gregory Eddie in Abbott Elementary.

How Did Tyler James Williams Make A Comeback?

A comeback would suggest he disappeared from the limelight entirely, but this is not necessarily true of Tyler James Williams. However, he has landed a fantastic recurring role, leading to him becoming more widely recognized than in previous years.

This is with the series Abbott Elementary, which premiered in 2021. He had been avoiding his return to Hollywood for some time, but the right role brought him back.

RELATED: These 10 Child Actors Are Still Thriving In Hollywood

In it, he plays the role of schoolteacher Gregory Eddie, a character that has endeared him to many people and cemented him as not just a child actor but also a successful adult star. In fact, he has been nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.

Williams reflected on his time as a child star during an interview with People in 2022. He caught up with the publication on the 2022 Emmy Awards red carpet, but this was not his first time being there. The publication notes that he first attended the ceremony when he was 13. For Williams, it was memorable but not because he necessarily enjoyed it, but rather because he felt out of control.

Tyler James Williams greeting photographers © Provided by TheThings Tyler James Williams greeting photographers

"I felt very out of control at that time. I was a kid, there were a lot of people I didn't know, [people] who were grown, big room, and I didn't know If I'd ever feel like I'd have a grasp on it…" Later in the interview, he explained that he was "a very serious kid."

"At 4 years old, I was like 'this is what I'm here to do, y'all, let's get started,'" Williams joked to the publication. "I was a very serious kid. I was like, great grades, teacher's pet essentially. I look at the kids now, and I'm like, 'That looks like fun. I could've done this,' because the stakes weren't as high as I thought they were. I could have just had a good time."


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