Sources close to the troubled actor said that before his death on Tuesday, which came a month away from facing sentencing after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography, the Glee alum “distanced himself very much from the friends he was closest to.”
One insider claimed that most of Salling’s friends thought he was “troubled and tormented” but weren’t aware of how bad his demons were, telling ET:
“He had a very mysterious side. I felt like I didn’t completely know who he was. He enjoyed visiting family in Texas and saw his trips back home as an escape from L.A. and the Hollywood scene.”
In addition to visiting his family, the source added that “he would often have friends over to his home in Sunland, [California]” before he was arrested in December 29, 2015.
But after federal investigators found more than 25,000 images and 600 videos depicting child pornography on computers and thumb drives belonging to him, Salling allegedly turned away from his loved ones and only grew more distant.
A Salling family source told People:
“In the last few years, we had very little contact. When you’re living against your own morals or what you know to be right, you tend to avoid people who will hold up mirrors.”
Though Salling’s “actual” loved ones were “absolutely shocked” by the discovery of his perversions, the family source said his fatal mistake was keeping those demons to himself, continuing:
“The problem doesn’t live in the existence of demons or pain or sexual appetites that began to skew as time went on. The inherent problem is that he did not seek help or have someone close enough to him willing to call it out.”
While he may have stayed withdrawn, Salling did spend time in recent years at a wildlife rehab center writing music, which, the source said, gave some “comfort” after losing his career:
“As he continued to fight his demons — ultimately alone — there was some comfort there… I don’t believe he ever intended harm … but I do believe he was really sick and it severely clouded his judgement, which kept him living in an alternate reality.”
It devastates us that refusing help from others was the actor’s ultimate demise.
A sliver of good news in this tragedy, however, has developed for the victims in Salling’s child porn case who have to sue to get the money he agreed to pay them.
According to TMZ, Salling set up a corporation in 2009 to collect his income from the entertainment business. As of December 2017, the value of this business was reported to be $1.971. His father is listed as the manager.
That’s a huge sigh of relief for the victims who Salling agreed to pay $50k each in restitution. They still have to file suit against the late actor’s estate, but at least there’s enough money to go around.
[Image via Cousart/JFXimages/WENN.]