Tyler James Williams says he almost died from working out and “pushing” his body during gym sessions after leaving Everybody Hates Chris.
Following his role in the sitcom that was inspired by Chris Rock‘s childhood, the actor was struggling to land roles that weren’t “high school”. He told Men’s Health that his whole body “shut down” because of the regime he was on to bulk up and shed his teen image.
“I was really pushing my body to the limit,” he told the magazine. “By the time December  hit, it just crashed. Everything shut down.”
Williams explained that he couldn’t keep any food down and developed a bad stomach pain around this time, prompting him to seek medical attention.
After an X-ray, it was determined that the actor had Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s is an inflammatory condition that can cause stomach pain, diarrhoea, and malnutrition. It can be deadly if left untreated.
The actor said that he had to have emergency surgery after the flare-up. This resulted in a surgeon removing six inches of his lower intestine. However, because his intestines had already been damaged so badly, he ended up going into septic shock.
He said that the moment that has stuck with him from the ordeal was feeling his whole body “vibrating” after he’d gone septic. Williams said: “The last thought I had was Holy shit, this could be it. If this is it, I’m not happy. I worked a lot. I did a lot of things. I didn’t enjoy any of this. This can’t be it.”
He added: “When I woke up and eventually got back to [being] myself, it was like, what would make it not suck?” An answer he has found to that question is playing more “purpose-driven” roles such as Gregory Eddie in Abbott Elementary.
That role on the Disne+ series has proved to be a critical success for the actor.
Williams was honoured by the Hollywood Foreign Reporters Association at the Golden Globes 2023 for his role in the academic comedy show. He took home the best supporting actor in a musical, comedy or drama award at the ceremony on Tuesday (January 10).