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GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Réal Andrews Opens up About His Bipolar Diagnosis (EXCLUSIVE)

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Over the years, Réal Andrews has appeared on numerous daytime dramas, including DAYS OF OUR LIVES, ALL MY CHILDREN, AS THE WORLD TURNS, SANTA BARBARA, and of course, GENERAL HOSPITAL, where he played Detective Marcus Taggert. In the years since his stint on ATWT, the actor pressed pause on his career. “My dad got ill with Parkinson’s, and after he passed away, my mom got sick,” he explained to Soaps In Depth, “so my mind just wasn’t in it.” In addition to supporting them, Andrews also developed entrepreneurial enterprises and became a fitness/nutrition coach as well as a motivational speaker. But in his own life, “I had three hip surgeries, one of which wasn’t good,” he said. Consequently, “I was in chronic pain for four years and became addicted to opioids and alcohol.”

Today, the soap vet is sober and reprioritizing both his health and his passion for performing. However, he’s also had a revelation that was two decades in the making. “I was having crazy, dark thoughts. Then it hit me one day that for the first time in my life, I’m not masking it with drugs, alcohol or anything like that. It was right there in my face!” he admitted. That’s when he decided to see a physician and “got officially diagnosed with bipolar disorder.”

Maurice Benard Real Andrews

Like GH’s Maurice Benard (Sonny), Andrews is bipolar. “My ultimate [goal], and kind of what I’ve already started working towards,” he said, “is being on the big stage, talking to hundreds of thousands of people about depression.” (Photo Credit: Jim Warren)

Now receiving treatment, Andrews feels like a new man and wants to encourage others in the same boat to seek help. “I want to be able to tell you that you’re not alone,” he said. “There’s a big difference between being depressed, sad or having a bad day and suffering from this sickness. When you don’t know where [those feelings] come from, you don’t know how to stop them.”

The actor currently plays Dr. Keith Campbell on Amazon’s THE BAY THE SERIES, but as he looks to the future, there’s another kind of character he’s eyeing. “I like to play heavies: bad guys and psychos. I’ve always been drawn to that,” he admitted. “I became an actor because I saw Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.” While he says that he would “absolutely do daytime again,” Andrews remains open to whatever the next leg of his journey brings. “I put a lot of faith in my representation, but my No. 1 representation is God,” he insisted. “So whatever He puts on my plate… my job is to show up with excellence.”

For more on your favorite GH stars — past and present — keep reading the ABC edition of Soaps In Depth magazine.

This story originally appeared in our print magazine

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