Remember Jonathan Lipnicki, the adorable little guy from the 1996 film Jerry Maguire?
Well, it's been 20 years since the then six-year-old earnestly informed Tom Cruise that the "human head weighs eight pounds", stealing millions of hearts in the process.
Finding fame at such a tender age, however, wasn't easy for the child star. In a raw Instagram post last week, Lipnicki, 26, shared that in the years after he appeared alongside Cruise and Renee Zellweger, followed by Stuart Little, he was bullied relentlessly.
Im sharing a little of my experience. It gives me anxiety being this open, but being bullied is a universal problem. I am not a victim, but rather empowered because I was able to turn to my art. I am grateful for the amazing life I have and I hope I can pass on that it DOES get better. As much as it is easier said than done, overcoming being bullied is a reality and I hope this resonates with all of you ❤️❤️❤️❤️
"I was told I was a has-been," he wrote, "and would never book a job again. I was made to feel like garbage every day of middle school to the point where I had a panic attack every night before school ..."
While admitting that being so open about his experience "gives me anxiety," Lipnicki added, "but being bullied is a universal problem.
"I am not a victim, but rather empowered because I was able to turn to my art," he said.
Expressing gratitude for the "amazing life" he has now, the young man shared his hope that others would hear his message: "it DOES get better."
"As much as it is easier said than done," he wrote, "overcoming being bullied is a reality and I hope this resonates with all of you."
After sharing his story, Lipnicki received an outpouring of support from fans, who praised the actor for his candour.
In an updated post, Lipnicki reiterated that he is not a "victim" but a survivor and that he hopes being so open will help other kids, who are also being bullied, to be survivors, too. "My confidence is built on the many failures I've had," he said. "My confidence is built on the fact that I won't quit."
In a subsequent interview with too fab Lipnicki spoke of the lasting impact of the bullying he was subjected to, revealing that he battled anxiety and depression.
"I've been in treatment for a very long time because I had a very serious problem with anxiety and depression," he said. "I felt like I didn't know how my life was going to end up. It was the lowest point of my life."
Lipnicki - all grown up in 2017.
Along with seeking treatment, Lipnicki also turned to basketball as a method of coping.
"You have to turn it into something," he said. "Whether it's arts, sports or helping others. I think a lot of kids out there don't have a direction to go with that pain and they go inside of themselves and they suffer. It's horrible."
And yet, the despite the obstacles he's faced, Lipnicki has managed to successfully transition from child star to adult actor. The talented young man is back on screen, appearing in the independent film Pitching Tents.
@pitchingtentsmovie coming soon! If you're able, please support me and independent films by attending an LA screening. Buy tickets early! We need to sell out LA to show that independent films can be successful both in their storytelling and at the box office. LA Theater Info/Dates: LAEMMLE MONICA FILM CENTER 1332 2nd St, Santa Monica, CA 90401 MARCH 31 TO APRIL 6, 2017
He also produced and stars in a film called Altitude, which hits US cinemas in April.