Michael Phelps Says He Contemplated Suicide, Struggled with Depression

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2018

In this Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016, photo, former Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps poses for a portrait while attending the Quickbooks Connect conference as a featured speaker in San Jose, Calif. Phelps is looking for his next golden opportunity in business after retiring from his sport as the most decorated athlete in Olympic history. He thinks he might find it in Silicon Valley, joining a growing list of athletes and entertainers trying to build upon their fortunes in a technology-driven area teeming with geeky millionaires. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Former United States Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps revealed Tuesday that he has suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts. 

Per Susan Scutti of CNN.com, Phelps shared his struggle with mental health at a Kennedy Forum conference in Chicago. 

"Really, after every Olympics I think I fell into a major state of depression," he said. "I would say '04 was probably the first depression spell I went through."

Phelps noted he could also feel some patterns of emotion that weren't "right" at "a certain time during every year." 

The 32-year-old also cited the 2012 Olympics as his most difficult time: "I didn't want to be in the sport anymore ... I didn't want to be alive anymore."

Discussing the photos of him smoking from a marijuana pipe published in 2009, Phelps said drugs were his way of running from "whatever it was I wanted to run from."

After leading the U.S. men's swimming team in each of the previous four Olympics, Phelps retired following the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. 

He's the most decorated Olympic athlete in history, with 28 total medals and 23 gold medals.