Mark Salling feared the aftermath of his jail sentence. The 35-year-old actor, who took his own life nearly one month before his sentencing date for child pornography possession, was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to bounce back after serving time behind bars.
“Mark knew he would have nothing to come back to after he went to prison,” a source close to the Glee alum exclusively told Us Weekly. “His acting career was beyond over.”
The late Texas native, whose body was found near a Los Angeles riverbed on Tuesday, January 30, was arrested in October 2015 and agreed to a guilty plea deal with prosecutors in October 2017. Salling consented to four to seven years in jail, registering as a sex offender after his release and staying at least 100 feet away from schools, parks, public swimming pools, playgrounds and video arcade venues. He was set to appear in court for sentencing on March 7.
One of Salling’s former friends exclusively told Us that the Fox star was not in a healthy state of mind before his apparent suicide. “He was in a dark place. He was very lonely,” the insider revealed. “He was going to prison soon. Whoever was in his life pretty much cut him off … There were certain people he would talk to here and there but he lost all his true friendships.”
Meanwhile, Salling’s neighbors in Los Angeles’ Sunland-Tujunga community exclusively told Us on Tuesday that he kept a low profile, never hosted parties or played loud music, and many residents didn’t even know that he still lived on the street after his arrest.
One woman told Us that Salling’s child pornography possession charges “made for not the most pleasant living experience considering there are kids who live nearby.”
Salling’s Glee costars and crew members have also reacted to the news of his death. “Sad and very tragic,” Jane Lynch, who played gym coach Sue Sylvester on the Fox hit, told TMZ on Tuesday, noting that she will remember Salling “as the guy who made that really sweet video in the beginning of Glee when he was so happy to be a part of this group. It’s tragic and I’m brokenhearted over it.”
“Today we lost another #Glee cast member,” producer Tim Davis tweeted. “Yes he committed crimes against children. But #MarkSalling was a broken man, no doubt an abuse victim himself. I loved Mark, and am sad when I consider the devastation of his parents. PLEASE withhold your cruel comments.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing emotional distress or contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.