‘Star Wars’ child actor Jake Lloyd has schizophrenia, his mom reveals

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Child star Jake Lloyd had already appeared in multiple episodes of “ER” and shared the screen  with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie “Jingle All the Way” before he was cast as a young Anakin Skywalker in “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace” nearly 25 years ago. For the next few years, he lent his voice to more Star Wars projects before disappearing from the public eye following a schizophrenia diagnosis, his mother shared in a recent interview. 

The former actor’s mother, Lisa Lloyd, opened up about her son’s mental health struggles while speaking to Scripps News, revealing that he is currently 10 months into an 18-month stay at a mental health rehabilitation facility. According to the outlet, Jake Lloyd is “aware” that his mother is discussing his health issues. 

Lisa Lloyd said she first noticed her son was “having some troubles” when he was in high school. 

“He started talking about ‘realities.’ He didn’t know if he was in this reality, or a different reality. I didn’t really know exactly what to say to that,” she recalled. 

She took him to a doctor who thought her son could have bipolar disorder and Jake Lloyd was prescribed different medications. When he left home to attend Columbia College Chicago, he struggled. 

Lisa Lloyd remembered her son saying he saw “black eyes” looking at him on the street and had conversations with Jon Stewart while watching “The Daily Show.” 

“He didn’t tell us he was hearing voices at the time. But he was,” Lisa Lloyd said.

In 2008, he left school and moved in with his mom in Indiana. There, he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, which is now called schizophrenia. He has a history of schizophrenia on his father’s side, Lisa Lloyd later revealed in the interview.  

The mental illness can change how a person thinks, feels and behaves, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Some diagnosed with schizophrenia “may seem like they have lost touch with reality,” the institute said. 

Jake Lloyd also battles anosognosia, a condition where a person cannot recognize their illness and the need for medication, according to Cleveland Clinic.  

“He didn’t think he needed to take medication because he wasn’t sick,” Lisa Lloyd explained. “He didn’t think he needed to go to the therapist because there’s nothing wrong with him.”

Seven years later, he was arrested after leading police on a chase and crashing his car. He spent 10 months in jail. 

In March 2023, the two were driving when Jake Lloyd told her he wanted to stop the car. 

“And he turned the car off in the middle of the three lanes, and we were in the middle lane,” she said. “The police got there, and they asked Jake some questions. He was talking to them, but none of it made sense. It was all word salad.”

He was initially taken to the hospital before entering an inpatient program at a mental health rehabilitation facility. His mom said he is still receiving treatment and has completed 10 months of his 18-month stay. 

She said he has made improvements. 

She shared, “He’s doing much better than I expected.”

Jake Lloyd’s mom added, “He is relating to people better and becoming a little bit more social, which is really nice. It’s kind of like having more of the old Jake back, because he has always been incredibly social until he became schizophrenic.”

She said they recently went to the movie theater to see “Wonka.” 

Lisa Lloyd also shared that her son is still a “Star Wars” fan and watched the “Ahsoka” series, which was released in August 2023. 

Jake Lloyd’s mom said she “would love” for her son to possibly participate in a “Star Wars” project in the future. 

“Jake loved filming ‘Star Wars.’ He had so much fun,” she said.

She continued, “I would love for him to get well enough to be able to do a little bit of something, and I’m sure he would maybe like to do that. He couldn’t at this point, but you never know how much he’s going to improve. So we’ll see.”

According to IMDb, Jake Lloyd’s last acting credit was voicing Young Anakin Skywalker in the “Star Wars: Racer Revenge” video game in 2002. 

This story first appeared on TODAY.com. More from TODAY:

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