Season 3 of ‘This Is Us’ highlighted Toby’s struggle with depression with searing honesty. Now, Emmy nominee Chris Sullivan explains why he thinks showing his character’s battle is necessary.
Fans of This Is Us were left heartbroken during Season 3 of the hit NBC show, while watching Kate Pearson’s husband Toby battle through a severe bout of depression. Chris Sullivan, 39, who has been nominated for a Supporting Actor Emmy for his portrayal of Chrissy Metz’s onscreen spouse exuded vulnerability as his character wept and fought to combat his anxiety after ditching his antidepressants to improve their chances of conceiving a child. It’s not the first time that This Is Us has shone a light on men and mental health. (Sterling K. Brown’s character Randall Pearson had a very realistic panic attack in Season 1.)
For Chris, showing this side of his character is very important. “Absolutely,” he told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY when we noted that such an intimate portrayal of a man having a breakdown is a brave move. “People dealing with depression or anxiety want nothing more than to know that they’re not alone. To just be able to have that conversation is a responsibility and, luckily, the writers handled that responsibility really well.” That said, the actor is keen for Toby to feel a little happier in Season 4. “I hope I don’t have to play depressed anymore,” he said. “I don’t know, I’m not sure if we will or not, but as far as I know Toby has figured out his meds.”
Chris is very good at not giving any clues away about the upcoming season and he sidestepped one of the concerns that many fans have – that Kate and Toby split in the future. (Eagled-eyed viewers spotted that Chris wasn’t wearing a wedding ring in one of the flashforward scenes.) When asked about this, however, the actor remained tightlipped. Admitting that it’s “a concern” he was a spoiler-free zone, saying only, “The biggest hints you could probably ask for are already in the show.”
What Chris was comfortable talking about was the end of the hit series, which has left millions of viewers misty-eyed for every episode since it premiered in 2016. “You know what? I feel like six seasons is a good number of seasons for a television show,” he said. “I think that gives everybody nice parameters to tell a concise and complete story without watering everything down.”
Season 4 of This Is Us premieres on NBC on Sept. 24. The Primetime Emmy Awards air on FOX on Sept. 22 at 8pm ET.