April 22, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Bret Easton Ellis Shares Heartfelt Statement About Partner’s Arrest and Mental Health Crisis

Statement Reveals Schultz Will Continue to Receive Treatment 

As we reported yesterday, Todd Michael Schultz, the partner of author and director Bret Easton Ellis, was arrested for trespassing in a disturbing incident last week in West Hollywood. Ellis has posted a statement to his website that talks about the situation, what has happened since, and what will happen in the future. 

It details the challenges of dealing with a partner who is able to seem functional and pleasant when deeper mental and addiction issues are present. 

The statement says, “What happened to my partner last week here in West Hollywood affected a lot of people, and I want to provide some clarification and perspective.

For a long time, I was simply blind, not grasping the severity of Todd’s situation and how ill he actually was. Mental health issues and drug addiction have seemingly affected every family I’ve known, including my own. I lost my youngest sister to a combination of both last August (she died at 53), and my father’s struggles with alcoholism led to his death at 50 in 1992. My partner of fourteen years has been in its increasing grip for the last decade, culminating in a full-blown drug-induced psychotic breakdown last week. He was arrested and is now in lockdown in a psych ward still, days later, unaware of where he is or why he’s there.

There is a thin line between loving someone and enabling them–you don’t realize it fully until it smacks you in the face. The tough love approach you dread as the partner of an out-of-control addict happened to us first in 2021 when I kicked Todd out of the condo we shared and demanded he place himself in a recovery facility for three and a half months, which he did–grudgingly, forced by me because he had no other financial options left. But recovering addicts have told me that THEY had to make the decision to get help, and being forced by others never worked. Maybe a little, but not fully.

Todd had always been someone who I thought was eccentric and erratic but functioning. Due to our age difference, we lived semi-separate lives even though we lived together–he had his life, and I had mine, and they would intersect for long conversations about books, watching movies, and having meals. I often wasn’t aware that there was another Todd. People would tell me about his social media rants, worried, and as the enabler, I would say, “Oh, that’s just Todd” or “That’s just performance art,”  and shrug it off, not knowing how unhinged he could get.

The feelings you have for this person who is so obviously in pain blind you to getting them the help they need, and if you’re a couple, YOU become the problem as well by not facing the reality of the situation and getting them that help. With Todd, sometimes it was apparent there was a mania present and then weeks when there wasn’t. Days where he would quietly sit at his desk or read Thomas Mann and drink tea and watch movies with me. Where he seemed not only sane and utterly normal but fun and engaging. That was the Todd I sometimes lived with. Until I realized, too late, I wasn’t anymore.

After he got out of rehab the first half of 2022 was OK–he had a job; he was taking his meds, he was seeing a therapist, and he was calm. But then “something” started creeping back in, and in 2023, it built and built until, like the summer of 2021, was impossible to enable anymore, leading to his meltdown and arrest. The mania–caused by both mental health issues and drugs–finally blew up in OUR faces. Yes, I had heard from people earlier, years earlier, that Todd was becoming a problem. But I was also a problem by deflecting and not taking action, lost in my own world.

He has a support team, and once he is released from the psych ward, he will automatically be placed into a long-term dual psychiatric rehab facility. It is a complicated dance when you’re living with an addict with mental health issues, and you love and care about: they CAN convince you that everything is fine, and YOU are blinded because you want to believe it too and avoid the pain and stress and heartbreak that comes with your ultimate understanding of the situation–that awful clarity you don’t want to face.

There are those of you who reached out and told me how much they loved and cared about Todd and saw the Todd that is loving and funny and intelligent and has so much potential and talent, and that’s the Todd I mostly knew–and not the “crazy” and “vindictive” and “insane” Todd lashing out at everyone on his videos and live streams – which I never and still haven’t watched. I don’t think it’s too late for him, and I hope to know that Todd I first met in 2010 again.”

in NEWS
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