Friday, December 8, 2023

A Supernatural Crisis: How Are You Today… Jared Padalecki & Jensen Ackles

In our story series ‘How Are You Today?’, we have a meandering, mental-health focused chat with some of our most well-known New Zealanders. Check out previous chats with people like Hayley HoltRoseanne Liang and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Today, we chat to Jared Padalecki & Jensen Ackles from Supernatural.

Supernatural fans: it’s been a heck of a week. There’s been fantastic news, great news, bad news, even worse news and then kind-of good news. Phew.

Let me break it down.

If you were mourning the show coming to and end, there was fantastic news – a new spin-off show is on the way! It’s a prequel called The Winchesters which would follow the story of Dean and Sam Winchester’s parents. Hurrah! Then there was more good news – it is being made by none other than Jensen Ackles and his wife (who had a recurring role on the show). Great news!

Now for the not-so-good news – neither Jared Padalecki or Jensen Ackles will actually be in the show, although, Jensen will be the narrator.

Okay, now for the terrible part. When Jensen posted a link on Twitter, announcing the news, there was one person who was truly floored by the news: his former co-star and bestie, Jared Padalecki.

Now, when fans saw Jared’s surprised (and bummed) reaction on Twitter, many assumed this was some kind of joke. After all, it’s what this duo do – they often playfully rib each other online. But… no, this time it seemed quite different, which was confirmed when a Jared addressed a tweet from a fan outright.

Yikes. Yikes. Yikes.

To add to the drama, Supernatural series creator Eric Kripke jumped on Twitter unaware of what was unfolding, to congratulate Jensen and express his excitement. When the fandom let him know what was going on, he later tweeted an apology – but then mysteriously, deleted both tweets. Here’s what they said:

Hanging out for the good news now?? Well, it does seem that the pair have spoken and “things are good” between them. But we still have A LOT of questions. How is it was not shared between these best friends – who speak often – that one of them was working on a TV show. And not just any TV show – one related to the very same one the pair of them had spent a good portion of their lives on, working side by side???? What has gone on? And what does Jared mean by “the show is early in the process with miles to go”? Does this mean there’s a chance he could end up having some involvement in it???

Ok, while the Supernatural fans out there, no doubt obsess over every detail in these tweets, we’re casting our memories back to speaking to Jared and Jensen last July. Back then, they were lamenting the fact that they were so close to each other, but so far away due to quarantine restrictions which had separated them for months. They were gearing up to hopefully be allowed to start filming again to finish up the very last season of the series – something they knew was going to be incredibly emotional.

Let’s take a look back…

August 1, 2020

They’ve been hunting demons and monsters for 15 years, but it’s almost time to farewell dark twisty drama Supernatural (available here on Neon) and its stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles.

The two actors share a famously close bromance – they were even groomsmen for each other, and lived together during the early days of the show.

bro hug GIF
The cuteness

Says Jared (who you’ll also remember from Gilmore Girls), “I would be doing it a disservice to try to put into words what I’ve been through with Jensen. We’ve more than grown up together. We went from single 20-somethings to fathers, husbands, and it’s hard to quantify in a few short sentences exactly what all that encompasses.”

Chatting to the lads in their homes in Austin, Texas – 2020, you know – we check in with the boys to see how they’re doing mid-lockdown, and to get the tea on the last season of their hit show.

We also took the opportunity to ask ‘How are you today?’ – especially as these guys have now been hunkering down with their families, their schedules up in the air, surrounded by much uncertainty for quite some time.

Jared and Jensen are both passionate about speaking out about mental health – particularly after Jared opened up about his own struggles with depression in 2015. Jared revealed he’d been diagnosed with clinical depression after breaking down during filming of season three.

In a Variety interview he says the diagnosis hit him like a sack of bricks.

“I mean, I was 25 years old,” he shared. “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 in society that struggle with depression sometimes.”

He credited his two close friends – Jensen and Kelly – for helping him through that time, which eventually led to him wanting to use his experiences to inform and support others. He spoke of his constant ‘fight’ during the tough days, which spurred him to launch ‘Always Keep Fighting’ – a T-shirt campaign that is now in its fourth year.

“I say constantly that there’s no shame in dealing with these things. There’s no shame in having to fight every day, but fighting every day, and presumably, if you’re still alive to hear these words or read this interview, then you are winning your war. You’re here. You might not win every battle. There are going to be some really tough days. There might be several tough times in any given single day, but hopefully, this will help somebody to think, ‘This isn’t easy; it is a fight, but I’m going to keep fighting,’ and that’s why we did this shirt.”

So, how are the boys today? We’ll let them do the talking!

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