Actor Paul Johansson Opens Up About His Battles With Depression On Set of “One Tree Hill”

Paul Johansson on his depression during filming

Paul Johansson is speaking out about how his role on One Tree Hill affected his mental health.

“It was awful,” Paul Johansson, 59, admitted on the “Trying to Figure It Out With Ally Petitti” podcast on Tuesday, December 19. “I was deeply depressed and I was drinking.”

Paul Johansson had to fight his depression on set.

Johansson played the famed villain Dan Scott in the adolescent drama series, which premiered on The WB in 2003. In the program, his character is the biological father of Lucas Scott (Chad Michael Murray) and Nathan Scott (James Lafferty), as well as the master manipulator of their little community.

The actor admitted to “drinking a couple bottles of wine a night” alone himself, adding that “it was really tough” for “about six or seven years.” Johansson reportedly said that people would swap seats on aircraft “to get away” from him.

“It was just a time when I think I was absorbing the energy of the people that were looking at me and seeing me and seeing me as something that’s bad,” he said, adding that he is “sensitive” rather than “vulnerable to criticism.”

He mentioned that the program “had to end” in order for him to “get out of it.” When OTH ended in 2012, Johansson admitted he was “actually grateful.”

“I needed to get out and get other characters and feel other things, but then I was getting bad guy roles again because of that show,” remarked the actor. “It put me in a box.”

When podcast presenter Ally Petitti inquired if he received any help from the show, he said, “It’s a really, really simple question.” “Never, never, never.”

This isn’t the first time Johansson has spoken up about his time with the OTH. After co-star Bethany Joy Lenz described the set as “divided” at times, Johansson tells Us Weekly exclusively that he never experienced it.

“I think I was more isolated from that,” he told Us in August 2019. “I believe people were more cautious around me because I was of a different generation.” “I’m a large dog, you know what I mean? So I don’t believe that would have happened if I had seen any of it. I didn’t see anything on the set, although sets may become rather acquainted with one another. Boundaries might become hazy. You have to check yourselves and support each other.”

Johansson stated that “it was a super close set,” and that they “really all loved each other.”

“I didn’t know about that — if there were any separations in that regard,” he added. “I don’t think as an older character, I was involved in all that stuff.”

“What I do believe is that we have a tremendously powerful female contingent that really drove our show,” he added. That program, in my opinion, is a female powerhouse-driven show, and we followed the girls far more than they followed us. For example, our leaders were Joy, Sophia [Bush], and Hilarie [Burton Morgan]. They were our leaders in many ways, setting numerous examples.”

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