Apparently, not many child actors have successfully grown to be very efficient on-screen long after they become adults. Some have stopped acting entirely while a few others have found solace in other ventures. But one of the few who have continued to make waves since childhood is Wil Wheaton.
The former child actor has established himself as a bankable movie star. He found huge success with his role in Star Trek: The Next Generation before going ahead to star in various other projects.
‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ Gave Wil Wheaton His First Big Taste of Stardom
Born on July 29, 1972, Wil Wheaton kickstarted his acting career when he was about eleven years of age. The actor scored his first role in the 1981 TV movie, A Long Way Home. Some years later in 1986, he gained lots of applause when he was cast to play the role of Gordie Lachance in Stand by Me, an American coming-of-age film. The film was a huge success and projected Wheaton as an insanely talented child star.
However, the praise Wheaton got for his role in Stand By Me pales into insignificance when compared to his work on Star Trek: The Next Generation. He was cast to play the main role of Wesley Crusher in the American science fiction television series in 1987 and this role helped solidify his grip on Hollywood stardom.
The Star Trek show was a massive success, garnering an average of 20 million viewers which often exceeded other existing syndication successes at the time. The show also won so many awards, including 18 Emmy Awards and becoming the first and only syndicated television show to be nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Dramatic Series.
The success of the show helped to project the relevance and acting talent of Wil Wheaton to millions of TV viewers who came to adore his character especially because he was only a teenager who was making big strides in the industry. Wheaton starred in the series from 1987 to 1994, appearing in about 85 episodes.
Wheaton’s Career Attained New Heights After Star Trek
As earlier stated, Wil Wheaton’s time on Star Trek: The Next Generation made him a very popular face on TV and it was certain he was bound to be on a lot more TV series and feature films after completing the project.
Leveraging on his growing fan base and wide acceptance, Wheaton portrayed Abraham Lincoln’s eldest son Robert Lincoln in the 1998 movie, The Day Lincoln Was Shot. He went on to star in the award-winning short film, The Good Things, in 2001, playing the part of Zach Means, a frustrated Kansas tollbooth worker. The next year, he won the Best Actor award at the Melbourne Underground Film Festival after portraying Dick Smith in the comedy film, Jane White Is Sick & Twisted.
Wil Wheaton then appeared in seasons 3, 4, and 5 of the web series The Guild from 2009 to 2011, portraying the character of Fawkes, the leader for a rival guild known as Axis of Anarchy. The series helped to reignite his career again, putting him in front of a new type of audience. From 2012 to 2013, he played Dr. Peter Meechum in Generator Rex and then played The High Wizard across 10 episodes of Fantasy Hospital in 2016. At this point, his fan base had expanded considerably with his versatility receiving praise from fans.
In 2019, Wheaton played Doomsday Protestor in the Supergirl series before landing the lead role of Andy in the 2020 thriller film, Rent-A-Pal. Wheaton’s performance was hailed by critics, with some describing it as what made the film worth watching.
Wil Wheaton Has Family Members Who Are Also Actors and He Has Battled Mental Illness
Wil was born Richard William Wheaton III in Burbank, California. His mother Debra Nordean was an actress while his father William Wheaton Jr. worked as a medical specialist. His two siblings; a brother named Jeremy and a sister named Amy, have also done some work in front of the camera. They both appeared in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Amy and Wil then appeared in the 1987 movie, The Curse.
Growing up, Wil did not have the best of childhoods. This is because his father was abusive to him. To make matters worse, his mother enabled that abuse. This made him become drowned in depression and lived with a mental illness.
As the story goes, Wil Wheaton’s speech at NAMI Ohio’s statewide conference titled Fulfilling the Promise revealed the part of him we don’t get to see on screen. The actor stated that he had anxiety issues as a child. At about age seven or eight, he developed panic attacks from his numerous nightmares and eventually began to share a room with his sister. By the time he turned thirteen, his appearance in an internationally well-accepted film, Stand By Me, pushed him to fame but also worsened his case. He felt weird and wanted to live in perfection before developing low self-esteem and living in fear as a result of how poorly his parents may have received the news.
Wil expressed that he loved acting but felt he could have managed it well away from fame. As an adult, he has learned to embrace and suppress his pain and has seen a couple of psychiatrists about the problem. He boldly tells the world that he suffers from chronic depression and is not ashamed about it.
Wil Wheaton Met His Wife Anne Prince at a Party
It is noteworthy that Wil Wheaton’s life is not just all about making movies and being onscreen. He is also a family man who is married with kids. He is married to a woman called Anne Prince and they have been together for more than two decades.
Wil and Anne Prince first met in December 1995 when they both attended the same New Year’s Eve party. A mutual friend introduced them to each other and they clicked. At first, Wil was afraid to talk to Anne but they eventually got things going. When they started dating, the duo found it quite difficult to balance things because Wheaton was a celebrity and Anne loved her privacy. Eventually, they figured out a way to keep things rolling.
The couple finally tied the knot as husband and wife on November 7, 1999, and has remained together ever since. Wil and Anne have no children of their own. They, however, share Anne’s two kids whom she had from a previous relationship.
Wil has often times expressed his love for his wife openly and tattooed her heart on his right forearm. He has even gone as far as adopting one of his wife’s children after the nineteen-year-old asked him to do so.