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Paris Jackson gets candid to Willow Smith about suicide attempts, coming out and self-love

·3 min read

Paris Jackson, the daughter of late music legend Michael Jackson, is opening up on "Red Table Talk" about past suicide attempts and coming out to her religious family.

In a departure from the Facebook Watch show’s typical format of a round-table discussion featuring hosts Jada Pinkett Smith, Adrienne Banfield-Norris and Willow Smith, Wednesday’s episode saw Jackson join 20-year-old Smith for a candid one-on-one convo.

During their discussion, Jackson reflected on her past attempts to end her own life and what brought her out of that mentality.

"A lot of people do feel regret when they try and attempt suicide," she said. "There have been times where I did and times where I didn’t, where I was upset that it didn’t work. But I can say, several years later, that I’m really grateful that it didn’t. Things have gotten better."

She added: "It was really hard, and people would tell me to kill myself everyday. And I was depressed."

Jackson shared that with each unsuccessful suicide attempt, she came to a "morbid" realization that it "just wasn't meant to be."

"Just like, ‘OK, I’ve tried and tried and tried, and it’s just not working. Maybe it’s just not my time, and that sucks,' " she said.

Jackson said her mental health has since improved and she's found more joy and ways to cope. Last autumn, during a harvest moon, the 23-year-old musician had an especially powerful personal experience, she said.

According to Jackson, she was having a "really rough night, because some old memories came up." She decided to pray and later felt the need to give herself affirmations in front of a mirror. The practice led her to "recognize myself for the first time in 10 years," she said.

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"I experienced self-love for the first time in my entire life," she said. "It was this really corny moment between me, myself and the mirror… It was so intense. Just a lot of gratitude. It took a really long time to get to that point."

Jackson added that she's recommended practicing affirmations to her friends, even though the act itself can feel awkward and uncomfortable at first.

Later in the episode, the musician also opened up about coming out to her "very religious" family, where "homosexuality is just very taboo" and "not really accepted." Jackson has been open in the past about dating "more than just men and women."

Paris Jackson shares struggles with body image and self-harm: 'I'm not even close to loving myself'

"I’m still kind of figuring it out," she said of her relationship with her family. "But I’ve gotten to a point where I respect them, and I have love for them. I respect their beliefs. I respect their religion."

She added that she doesn't expect her family to "put aside their culture and their religion."

"Expectations, to me, lead to resentments," she said. "What people think about me isn’t my business.”

Jackson has been open about her mental health in the past, discussing her struggles with self-harm and body image on the Facebook Watch series "Unfiltered: Paris Jackson and Gabriel Glenn" last year. Jackson said she "fell into self-harm" when she gained weight following her father's death in 2009.

"Even though the lows are unbearably low, I would still rather (feel) that than nothing," the model and musician said of her depression on "Unfiltered." "Pain is way better than numb because at least you’re feeling something."

If you or someone you know may be struggling with self-harm or suicidal thoughts, you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time day or night, or chat online.

Crisis Text Line also provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they text "HOME" to 741741.

Paris Jackson talks 'shadows' clouding music career, sexuality in new series: 'My dad caught on pretty quick'

Contributing: Jenna Ryu, Erin Jensen

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Paris Jackson recalls past suicide attempts to Willow Smith on 'RTT'

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