“Reacher”'s Alan Ritchson on How His Bipolar Disorder Symptoms Make Him 'Almost Obsessive' About His Work

“When I’m manic and I feel like something isn’t living up to its best potential, it usually comes out... in a ‘this has to be better’ way,” the actor shared

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AB+DM for Men's Health

Alan Ritchson on the cover of Men's Health; Alan Ritchson

Alan Ritchson is getting candid about how his bipolar disorder affects him both on and off-set.

The Reacher star, 41, shared in the latest cover issue of Men’s Health that he is still learning to manage his bipolar disorder — which he was diagnosed with at the age of 36 — during his everyday life and even at work.

“It’s this thing like, ‘I gotta find a perfectly white pair of shoes that look like a tennis shoe but aren’t.’ Three days later, eight pairs of shoes show up that are all identical. And I’m like, ‘Oh, s---, I’m manic right now,’ ” he said.

The actor also noted that he gets more of the manic side than the depressive side of bipolar disorder, but both can manifest in problematic ways when he’s filming.

<p>AB+DM for Men's Health</p> Alan Ritchson for Men's Health

AB+DM for Men's Health

Alan Ritchson for Men's Health

Related: Hilary Swank and Alan Ritchson Star in Trailer for Emotional True Story 'Ordinary Angels' (Exclusive)

“When I’m feeling depressed, it doesn’t really matter, because I am so focused at work. I could go weeks without people even knowing I feel a certain way,” Ritchson said.

“When I’m manic and I feel like something isn’t living up to its best potential, it usually comes out in a very—not in a mean way—but in a ‘this has to be better’ way,” he continued. “Like a very, almost obsessive ‘this has to be better.’ ”

Ritchson shared an example of this saying that he would butt heads with the stunt coordinator on the first season of Reacher because of his manic episodes. He revealed that when his stunt coordinator didn’t want him to do a fight scene, the actor would stubbornly put his foot down and refuse to leave the set until he got to do it.

“I was like, ‘I’m doing the f------ stunt.’ It was manic behavior,” he said. This eventually resulted in the stunt coordinator’s resignation, though he eventually agreed to return to the show.

Related: Who Is Alan Ritchson's Wife? All About Catherine Ritchson

The Ordinary Angels actor admitted that he is still learning to monitor his behavior while managing the bipolar disorder, and sees a psychiatrist every week to help him distinguish between normal and manic behaviors.

He said that his wife of nearly 20 years, Catherine Ritchson, and assistant, who are also knowledgeable about bipolar disorder, also help him daily with monitoring and managing it.

Ritchson has been open about his mental health journey for years and has noted in the past that it can be difficult for loved ones to share this experience with him.

In May 2023, in honor of their 17th wedding anniversary, Alan shared a loving tribute to his wife on Instagram thanking her for being by his side through the good times and bad.

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“Dealing with a bipolar husband who can give a sane partner severe whiplash and a level of fame that nothing can prepare you for… I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Yet this is the straw she drew when she said ‘I do,' " he wrote.

He continued of his wife: “Thank GOD for someone with the unspeakable strength, persistence, resilience, patience, grace, love, compassion and forgiveness to suffer through the valleys with me… I am eternally grateful that God knew well enough to gift me a life with her.”

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