I’ve been wanting to write this article for a while, but it’s not always easy to put into words how truly amazing you think someone is- especially when you want to honor them properly. But alas, I’m going to give it a go to the best of my ability.
Jared Padalecki is a modern day hero in my book. I’m pretty sure he wears a cape under his clothes, and if he doesn’t, he should. I, among many other fans, have been watching him via movies, television, and social media throughout the past several years and I’ve loved everything he’s done and set out to accomplish.
In this article, I plan on reflecting back on his career, the characters he’s played, and who he is as a person that makes him stand out in the industry, not just as one of the Winchesters, but as a true icon that we can look up to.
One of Jared Padalecki’s earliest moments was as Rory Gilmore’s first boyfriend in The Gilmore Girls. Although he may have been Rory’s first boyfriend, he was the first crush for many millennials, and wasn’t he the perfect crush to be had? He played Dean Forester- handsome, sweet, kind, gentle and completely supportive of everything Rory set out to accomplish. While things heat up throughout the years with breakups, cheating, marriage and whatnot, he doesn’t always remain in his purest form, but even in the reunion (Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life) you can’t help but love him.
After his years with the Gilmore ladies, he began his journey into horror starting with the infamous 2005 remake House of Wax. He played Wade and co-starred alongside Chad Michael Murray, Paris Hilton, and Elisha Cuthbert as they ran for their lives after visiting an abandoned wax museum. Then came 2005’s Cry_Wolf where he played Tom and costarred along Julian Morris, Lindy Booth, Gary Cole and more. To me, this one is an underrated gem. I’ve always enjoyed it as it’s a mix of Urban Legend and Scream.
Next up was the 2009 remake of Friday the 13th. Jared plays Clay Miller alongside a cast that includes Amanda Righetti, Derek Mears, Danielle Panabaker, Travis Van Winkle and as always is one of the less douchey folks of the bunch. It seems to me that Jared rarely plays an asshole type of character. It just doesn’t suit him. Oh, and he doesn’t let Jason take him down easily, which is a plus in my book.
Around this time he broke into horror was not surprisingly the time he began his career-changing role as Sam Winchester in the hit television series Supernatural. This show has such a huge fanbase and it’s because of the wonderful characters like Sam who bring so much to the story. You love the good guys, the bad guys, the happy moments, the sad moments, and you never want it to end. This is one of the best brother duos in a long time and everyone enjoys seeing Jared and Jensen Ackles not only on screen but off screen goofing around. Their bromance is strong!
Speaking of off-screen moments, let’s dive into what truly makes Jared Padalecki stand out beyond just being a good-looking guy who stars on a hit show. As many of you may know, Jared, like thousands upon thousands of other people, suffers from depression. You’re probably thinking, how could a guy like that be suffering from depression? He’s handsome, has the perfect career and an overall good life. Well, the fact is that depression isn’t prejudiced against anyone. It doesn’t care who you are and anyone can be a victim to it. Although it’s a burden to behold, Jared has spoken out about his depression and has raised awareness.
Back in 2015, US Magazine talked with Jared about his depression and what he’s doing to fight it and how he is raising awareness for it. He was quoted saying:
“It kind of hit me like a sack of bricks. I mean, I was 25 years old. I had my own TV show. I had dogs that I loved and tons of friends and I was getting adoration from fans and I was happy with my work, but I couldn’t figure out what it was; it doesn’t always make sense is my point. It’s not just people who can’t find a job, or can’t fit in society, that struggle with depression sometimes.”
Jared Padalecki has done so many things to raise awareness, including a fundraising t-shirt that reads “Always Keeps Fighting,” with all the proceeds going to the To Write Love On Her Arms organization. This is an organization that helps those not only with depression, but with suicidal thoughts and addiction. He’s created other projects since then with the same logo as well as countless other things including live videos on Facebook where he talks about his depression, the projects he’s involved with, and the fight to keep going. If you would like to see some of the products, you can click HERE to support the cause.
Although his movies and television shows helped create a fanbase, it’s Jared Padalecki’s heart and soul that have left a lasting impression. People are not only buying the products, but they’re spreading the word, and even getting tattoos with his phrase. I hope Jared realizes how many lives he has saved by his campaign and how influential his words are- that through his painful struggle, he was able to help a vast majority of others with similar problems. I remember one night in particular, I was having a horrible time keeping the demons at bay and Jared was on Facebook live and his generous actions helped get me through one more day. I know I’m only one of the thousands who can say the same, and this is why Jared Padalecki is a true hero with an invisible cape made of hope, love, and strength.