Revelations From Chrissy Metz’s Memoir ‘This Is Me’Published on March 28, 2018. Updated September 15, 2020
Ever since Chrissy Metz burst into the spotlight as Kate Pearson on the hit drama This Is Us, the actress has been very open and honest. She has shared much about her life before her This Is Us fame, and stayed completely grounded even as the show’s success has catapulted her to the top of the entertainment industry. Now, Metz is an open book, literally, as she has shared all in her new memoir, This Is Me: Loving the Person You are Today. Metz’s personality leaps off the page as she recalls some truly surprising facts about her past, and tries to help others through the difficult times in their lives by sharing her own very personal experiences. Here are the 12 most shocking revelations from Chrissy Metz’s book:
12. Lunch With Oprah
Chrissy Metz has a lot to share in her book and instead of starting at the beginning, she started with one of the most significant moments of her life: her lunch with Oprah. After initially not believing she had been invited to lunch with Oprah Winfrey, she showed up at Oprah’s Montecito estate where she learned life lessons from the superstar, they discussed their lives, and Chrissy lived a dream. “About ten years before, I took a day trip to Santa Barabara […] I knew Oprah’s Montecito estate was very close, and as I sat at that table, I thought, I’m going to meet Oprah one day and live next door to her. So, I said, just that, out loud, in a joking way. ‘I want to be in Montecito someday, hanging out with Oprah.’ My wish came true because I put it out there. I truly believe that the things you want can happen, but it starts with asking,” she wrote. As well as sharing her story, Metz spends time throughout the book sharing her advice, including one about putting out in the universe what you want to happen and making that dream a reality.
Unlike her This Is Us character, Chrissy Metz, did not have a positive relationship, or a relationship at all with her father who she refers to as Mark because she never considered him as a dad. Mark was in the Navy which meant when she was only six months old, Chrissy, Mark, her mother and her older siblings Monica and Philip moved to Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan. With no connection to her father, who only seemed interested in his son, and her mother always working, Chrissy became quite close with her grandmother. “As I understand it, my father was not faithful to my mother throughout their marriage. It was sometimes hard to deny,” she revealed. She added that one day her mom simply announced, “We’re moving back to Florida,” meaning herself and the kids, not Mark. After her parents split she saw her father a couple of times and met his new girlfriend, who would become his wife, but after that visit wouldn’t see him for the rest of her childhood. “I wouldn’t see my father again until I was twenty-one, at a shower for Phillip’s baby boy,” she shared. “It was at Phillip’s house, and Mark walked right by me in the family room. Even my high school graduation announcement came back Return to Sender.” At the end of the book, Metz reveals that once she became famous, her dad wanted that relationship with her. “It started with Facebook posts and shout-outs, and I thought, okay, maybe we can start to be cordial. But as soon as I extended the olive branch, it seemed he wanted the tree. ‘How much money are you making on that show?’ Those are the first words Mark said to me after twenty years of nothing.”
Although things seemed to be okay after Chrissy, her siblings and her mom moved back to Gainesville, Florida, things began to fall apart in no time. Eventually, her mom couldn’t afford the house she had found and they moved into “an apartment in what others told you, if you gave them your address, was ‘the ghetto.'” Her mom worked constantly and Chrissy was often alone because her siblings got home from school later than her, the electricity was continually shut off, and eventually while working at a grocery store, her mother met and began dating a guy much younger than her, Evan. Before long, her mother became pregnant, and Evan’s mother was enraged and demanded an abortion which Chrissy’s mother refused. Evan’s mother moved him far away, and so they welcomed Chrissy’s half-sister, Morgana, into the world and she never had any contact with her father or his side of the family. Shortly after, they lost their apartment and moved to Arredondo Farms trailer park. Chrissy’s mother would go hungry in order to ensure her children ate enough, and between working and dating, she wasn’t around very much, and her older sister Monica dropped out of high school at 16 to help raise Morgana.
One night, Chrissy’s mother went out dancing and there she met a man named Trigger (a nickname from The Roy Rogers Show). “Trigger had a good job with Coca-Cola and seemed stable, which is what mom needed. He lived with his daughter, Rebecca, in a small, single-story, cinder-block house on a dead-end road in Gainesville,” Metz shares in the book. At the time Monica had moved out with a boyfriend, and Phillip had become a problem and sent to live with Mark in Miami, leaving Chrissy, her mother, and Morgana to move in with Trigger and Rebecca. Unfortunately, Trigger soon became abusive to Chrissy, and what started out as verbal turned to physical abuse as well. “My mom married Trigger at the courthouse,” Metz writes in her book. “Soon she was pregnant again, with another girl, Abigail. Trigger loved his two biological children and was even welcoming to Morgana. Me, not so much. My mother was always at work, so she didn’t see how he treated me.” She added, “I don’t remember why Trigger hit me the first time. He never punched my face. Just my body, the thing that offended him so much. He shoved me, slapped me, punched my arm. He would hit me if he thought I looked at him wrong. I remember being on the kitchen floor after he knocked me over, and I was begging to know what I did. He just shoved me hard with his foot.” When she was 14, Trigger would force her to weigh herself in front of him. “He sat in a chair next to the scale as I got on. ‘Good God almighty!’ he yelled every single time. The number then was about 140 or 130. Most of my friends weighed about ninety pounds. ‘Why are you getting fatter?’ he demanded. I look at pictures of me from that time, and I would be so fine with being that size now. But I thought I was gigantic. By then the beating had escalated. One time he hit me, and I looked right in his face. If I had a gun, I thought, I would shoot you.” Despite what she was subjected to, Metz added that she has a relationship with Trigger and still loves him. “We have a relationship now. I do love him and I do care about him,” she says.
8. Secret Summer
Going through puberty is not easy for anyone, including Chrissy Metz, who explains in her book that she spent a lot of her childhood essentially hiding from her stepfather by hanging out at friends’ houses. As puberty hit, she became more self-conscious ever about her body, but also became much more interested in boys. While spending a lot of time with her best friend Mya, she got closer to Mya’s brother Derek, who was younger but as Metz says, “All that could be forgiven because he was so. Incredibly. Hot.” After some flirting, the two began having secret make-out sessions after everyone else had fallen asleep, and as Chrissy fell head over heels, it soon became clear Derek would never acknowledge her in public, and it was crushing. “I made it acceptable for Derek to keep me secret, because what alternative is there? I didn’t think I was worthy of being claimed,” she wrote of what the experience made her feel. Fortunately, her feelings for Derek were greatly changed when she ran into him at the mall near Gainesville about five years ago. “I saw a man with four kids. He was covered with tattoos on his arms and neck […] Now he had gold teeth and overplucked eyebrows, and he looked older and worn not. He was going to be in the minor leagues. He was going to the this cool, hot athletic guy. The one that was too good for me […] As I turned, I thought how much I had loved this man-boy. How I had pinned all of my dreams on him. Maybe he’s not the one who got away, I thought. Maybe I am.”
Growing up, Metz explains that she always loved singing and to this day constantly has lyrics running through her head, and although she worked up the courage to join choir it wasn’t until her senior year that she joined Chamber Choir. “You had to audition and you had to be the best of the best of the best. I just wanted to hang out with these people, so I embraced my fear and auditioned for my senior year. I got in, and it changed my life.” From that moment on she thought of singing as her future. Previously, in her junior year, her high school’s choir director worked with her after school to help her and ended up sending her to a one-week choir camp at the University of Florida. Unfortunately, she wasn’t good enough to go for a scholarship and couldn’t afford to go herself, but it turned out life had a different path for her anyway, but Metz hinted that fans shouldn’t rule out singing for her. In a recent interview, the interviewer told the star she should record an album and while she at first shot the idea down, she quickly realized she was still afraid of believing in herself and what she can do. “You know what, wait,” I said. “Yes, I will. I will record an album. I really, really want to. Thank you for thinking I can do that.”
6. Actress to Agent
Chrissy Metz’s path to Hollywood can’t be considered anything other than destiny. One weekend when she was 20, Metz was babysitting her two little sisters Morgana and Abigail and their friends Jenny and Annie. They heard of an open-call model and talent search happening at the local Holiday Inn and the girls convinced Chrissy to take them. While filling out her sister’s paperwork, a strange lady told her, “You are here for a reason. You should audition.” As she was “mustering up the courage” to fill out a form for herself, a woman came out from Morgana’s audition and demanded Chrissy sing for her; she later called and said she wanted to be her manager. Under the woman’s tutelage, Chrissy and a few others moved out to L.A., where instead of becoming an actress, Metz became an agent. She ended up working as an agent for nine years as auditions for women of her size only came about twice a year. “Pretty soon, my agent and I were the highest-grossing department at the firm. And I enjoyed the work […] I eventually became an agent myself, and then I learned that it quickly becomes your life. It’s basically a twenty-four-hour on-call job, because there is always an issue you must resolve or a breakdown to calm before the morning rush. The funny thing is, I learned so much about acting by being an agent,” she shared.
5. Marrying Marty
One of the most shocking revelations from Metz’s book is the fact that she has been married before. In 2006, her friend “strong-armed” her into making an online dating profile and before long she met a British man named Marty. For seven months they dated through email, phone calls, and letters, and eventually, he came to visit her in L.A. After just over a year of Marty visiting L.A., from England he proposed on Butterfly Beach, where they also decided to wed in January 2008. Unfortunately, a massive storm hit, and the wedding had to be moved to the Santa Barbara courthouse and because they didn’t have any money, they couldn’t fly home and their families couldn’t afford to fly out. The pair’s biggest connection was food and things shifted once Metz became obsessed with attending food addiction support groups and both of their relationship’s with food began to change. Eventually, they decided to separate and were divorced in 2015 after seven years of marriage, but there are no hard feelings. “I am still working on my goal of being a better ex-wife than I was a wife. When I share my story, people sometimes wait for the, ‘Ugh. Him.’ It will never come. Marty is such a great guy and I am grateful that we had our time together.”
4. Health Scare
Chrissy explains that her obsession with attending food addiction support groups started after a serious health scare she suffered in September of 2010. While out to the movies with her then-husband to see The Expendables, she suffered an intense anxiety attack, but had never had one before and thought she might be having a heart attack. “I had no idea anxiety could feeling like dying” she recalled thinking, and as well as being given Xanax, was told she should lose weight. Like her on-screen character, Metz not only attended support groups, but also attended a camp, but eventually stopped going to groups after she was insulted by a fellow attendee. “I stopped going and decided I had learned enough to go it alone. But deep down, I knew I was making an excuse so that I didn’t have to go back and face her. Slowly Marty and I fell back into old habits. I managed to keep the weight off for a while, but then the pounds started to come back.”
3. American Idol
There is a surprising list of talented stars who didn’t make it on American Idol, but it might be more surprising to know that Chrissy Metz was one of them! In the summer of 2007, Metz spent the whole day at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego to get her chance to audition. Before you see the live auditions on TV, thousands of people audition for producers and scouts, which was the first hurdle for Metz. “I decided to sing ‘Heavy’ from Dreamgirls, because I thought it was appropriate, but also fun and different,” she wrote. After she sang in her group of three, they were all told they wouldn’t be moving on which caused Metz to stand up for herself. “I just think you’re wrong,” I repeated. “I think you’re making a terrible choice.” Her bold move caused another judge to ask her to sing for her, and that judge gave her a ticket to the next round where she auditioned for American Idol‘s executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Simon Fuller. That audition did not go much better than the first, and while they insulted her talent, she wasn’t going to let them get a rise out of her for television. “I had learned a lesson. I advocated for myself at Qualcomm Stadium, because I really, really wanted that opportunity. But once I had a better sense of what the process was all about, I realized it wasn’t something I wanted to fight for. American Idol wasn’t the dream for me,” she shared.
2. AHS Acting Lessons
After years of small parts and failed auditions, Metz’s big break came in 2014 when she landed the role of Ima ‘Barbara’ Wiggles on American Horror Story. “The show was filmed in New Orleans, and the idea of living there for free all that time seemed pretty magical. Even better was being in the amazing creative bubble that is the Ryan Murphy camp, as I soon learned. I got the master class in acting. There I was with greats like Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, and Michael Chiklis, Evan Peters and Emma Roberts, and, oh, the lovely and amazing Sarah Paulson.” After her time on AHS, Metz was introduced to more and more stars and opened up about working with someone she would only name as X, someone who “made small, cutting comments whenever she was forced to be in my vicinity. She sighed, she huffed, and she turned her very essence into one giant figurative eye roll.” While her experiences with this particular actress seemed awful, Metz added, “Don’t try to figure out the identity of this person because it doesn’t matter. We all have that person in our life at one point or another. You and I know that it wasn’t anyone in the This Is Us cast because as far as I am concerned, they are all gold-dipped specimens of God’s grace.”
1. This Is Us
Metz’s memoir ends where fans’ stories with her begin: her role on This Is Us. Readers don’t need to be told the show was life-changing for everyone on it, but hearing her behind-the-scenes tale of getting the role of Kate Pearson is truly interesting. Metz auditioned with the casting director and thought it was one of her worst auditions ever, yet she got a call-back, this time to audition for series creator Dan Fogelman. “They had the characters of Kevin and Kate down to five guys and five girls, and we were all brought in for the test. This was the first time I met Justin Hartley, and I read with him once. It felt right. We were clicking. The best part is that he is obviously super gorgeous, but I am not into blonds.” After that reading, it came down to Metz and only one other actress, and they needed to come in for one last audition but she only had eighty-one cents in her account. “I was freaking out because I wasn’t sure if I had enough gas in my car to get to NBC Universal. And you needed to have at least twenty dollars in your bank account to swipe your card at the gas pump. Thank God I made it there.” That day, before she could leave the lot, Fogelman called Metz to say she got the part. Metz also revealed that for awhile Fogelman did not know of Chrissy’s ability to sing until one day she got the script and her character was singing. “Don’t worry if you can’t sing. We’ll just get someone to dub it,” Fogelman told her. They then gave her her chance to sing in the scene where she performs at a retirement home in season one. “I had to give a performance, and I didn’t have a choir to hide in, or a band to blend in with. They miked me, and Glenn and John recorded me for the show. What you heard on the show was me recording it live, so they could capture the most authentic sound,” she revealed.