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It’s been nearly 25 years since “Star Wars” child actor Jake Lloyd appeared on the big screen in “The Phantom Menace” and since then he’s mostly stayed out of the public eye.

In an interview with Scripps News, Jake’s mother, Lisa Lloyd, explained that her now 35-year-old son has had a long battle with mental health and is currently at a mental health rehabilitation facility.

Lisa told the outlet that she began noticing her son struggling with mental health while he was still in school.

"Star Wars" child actor Jake Lloyds mother

“Star Wars” child actor Jake Lloyd’s mother shared an update on her son’s mental health. (Getty Images)

“Jake started having some trouble in high school,” she said. “He started talking about ‘realities.’ He didn’t know if he was in this reality, or a different reality. I didn’t really know exactly what to say to that.”


Lisa recalled asking Jake if he was going to finish his homework one afternoon after a day of school.

“And he was like, ‘Well, I don’t even know if I need to do it. I don’t know which reality I’m in,’” Lisa shared. “And I’m like, ‘Well, you’re in my reality today, so you have to do your homework.’”

Lloyd’s mother explained that she took him to a doctor who suggested he had bipolar disorder. Lisa said he was prescribed several medications, but nothing worked.

Jake Lloyd Star Wars

Jake Lloyd starred as young Anakin Skywalker in “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.” (Sam Levi/WireImage)

Jake went on to graduate from high school in 2007 and enrolled in the private arts school, Columbia College Chicago.

Lisa told the outlet that her son’s short enrollment at the college did not go well for him.


“He missed a lot of classes, and he was telling me that people were following him,” she said. Her motherly instincts kicked in, and she knew something was not right with her son. 

She recalled Jake telling her that people with “black eyes” were staring at him on the street, and he would have conversations with “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart late at night, through the television.

“He didn’t tell us he was hearing voices at the time. But he was,” Lisa told the outlet.

Jake Lloyd in 1999

Jake was just 10 years old when he appeared in the “Star Wars” prequel film. (Getty Images)

Before completing his first year, Jake left Columbia College Chicago and moved in with his mother in Indiana. Once he was back with Lisa, he was given a new mental health diagnosis, paranoid schizophrenia.

“When they finally told him, it totally threw him off into an even worse depression,” Lisa explained. “It was really hard.”

Lisa said Jake also has a neurological condition known as anosognosia, which according to the National Institute of Health, “is a neurological condition in which the patient is unaware of their neurological deficit or psychiatric condition.”

Lisa said Jake’s condition stopped him from wanting to take medication because he didn’t believe he was sick.

Jake Lloyd in 2007

Jake Lloyd at the “Star Wars Celebration IV” convention in 2007. (Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)

She explained, “He didn’t think he needed to go to the therapist because there’s nothing wrong with him.”

Fast-forward to 2015, Lisa received a phone call from Colleton County Sheriff’s Department in South Carolina. Jake was driving from Florida to Canada alone when he was arrested after leading deputies on a multi-country car chase before crashing his vehicle.

Lisa explained that she hired a lawyer to get her son out of jail, but he refused to talk to her.

“I tried to call him and he wouldn’t talk to me. Just flat-out refused,” Lisa shared. “I was talking to the people at the jail and trying to explain to them that he’s off his medication. But they wouldn’t give him his medication.”

Young Jake Lloyd

Jake Lloyd sat beneath one of the lions in Trafalgar Square, London, at a photo call to promote the “Star Wars” video games and film. (Getty Images)

Lisa demanded her son be transferred to a hospital, but he ended up serving 10 months in jail.

This process was very hard on Lisa.

“As a mom, you’re just pulling your hair out because your child needs help,” she explained. “You know that he’s sick. You know that he’s not going to get any better unless he gets some medication.”

After Lisa continuously sent letters to Jake in jail, he finally reached out to her. She was able to get her son to a hospital before moving with him to California.

In 2018, things took a horrible turn for the Lloyd family.

Jake Lloyd smiling

Lisa first began noticing signs of Jake’s mental health crisis when he was in high school. (Albert L. Ortega/WireImage)

Jake’s younger sister, Madison – who appeared as an extra in “The Phantom Menace” – died unexpectedly in her sleep from natural causes. She was 26.

“He just couldn’t handle it,” Lisa said. “He didn’t know how to process it. Sometimes he would just start saying that he really missed Madison. That’s about as much of a conversation as we’d have about it. “

She added, “At least he was acknowledging it.”

Last year, Jake was still struggling with his mental health. In March, Lisa recalled the moment her son had what she called a “full-blown psychotic break” while driving with her after getting food at McDonald’s.

Jake Lloyd with his parents

Jake Lloyd photographed with his mother, Lisa, and father, William. (Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)

“He said he wanted to turn the car off. And he turned the car off in the middle of the three lanes, and we were in the middle lane,” she explained. “There was a lot of yelling and screaming.”

Drivers witnessing the incident called 911.

“The police got there, and they asked Jake some questions,” she said. “He was talking to them, but none of it made sense. It was all word salad.”

Jake was not taken to jail, but was admitted to a mental health rehabilitation facility the following day.

Jake, William and Lisa Lloyd

Jake Lloyd and his parents, Lisa and William Lloyd, in November 1999. (Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Jake is currently 10 months into his 18-month stay. Lisa has seen improvements in her son and hopes this experience is a pivotal turning point in his mental health journey.

“He’s doing much better than I expected,” she said. “He is relating to people better and becoming a little bit more social, which is really nice. It’s kind of like having more of the old Jake back, because he has always been incredibly social until he became schizophrenic.”


Lisa said Jake is now understanding the importance of taking his medication and has enthusiasm for life again, including seeing his friends and attending family barbecues.

She even took Jake to see “Wonka” for his 35th birthday last week and the mother-son duo “filled up on popcorn.”

Jake Lloyd in 1997

Lisa explained that Jake is still a big fan of the “Star Wars” franchise. (Getty Images)

“He really loved it,” she said. “That was one of the things that we couldn’t do when he was off his medication was watch movies. He just didn’t have the attention span for it.”

As for “Star Wars,” Jake still keeps up with the new shows. Lisa said he is a fan of the new Disney+ series, “Ahsoka.”

She explained, “He loves all the new ‘Star Wars’ stuff. People think Jake hates ‘Star Wars.’ He loves it.”

Lisa also wanted to make it clear that Jake starring in “The Phantom Menance” as a child did not prompt him to walk away from acting or contribute to his mental health issues. Prior to appearing in “Star Wars,” Jake made his acting debut alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1996 film, “Jingle All the Way.”

Lisa and Jake at Star Wars premiere

Lisa said Jake’s role in “The Phantom Menance” did not contribute to his mental health issues or quitting his acting career. (Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

“It would have happened anyway,” Lisa said, noting that there is a history of schizophrenia on Jake’s father’s side of the family.

She added, “I believe that it was genetic. And his psychiatrist also agrees that Jake was going to become schizophrenic.”


Lisa also noted that when the “Star Wars” film received backlash after it’s release in 1999, she shielded any negativity from her son.

“I protected him from the backlash. He was just riding his bike outside, playing with his friends. He didn’t know. He didn’t care,” she said. “Everybody makes such a big deal about that. And it’s rather annoying to me because Jake was a little kid when that came out, and he didn’t really feel all that stuff because I didn’t let him online.”

Lisa explained that in high school, Jake was bullied by kids for starring in the sci-fi film. She maintains that the franchise did not contribute to Jake’s decision to leave acting.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jake Lloyd

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jake Lloyd on the set of the film “Jingle All the Way.” (Murray Close/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)

“People say he quit because of ‘Star Wars.’ Well, that’s not true. It didn’t have anything to do with ‘Star Wars.’ It had more to do with our family. And we were going through a divorce,” she explained. “Things were unsettled and kind of rough. And Jake didn’t seem to be having a lot of fun auditioning anymore.”


As far as Jake appearing in another “Star Wars” production, Lisa is not sure if that will be possible.

Jake Lloyd in 2005

Jake, pictured in 2005, is in his 10th month of an 18-month stay at a mental rehabilitation facility. (David Paul Morris/Getty Images)

“Jake loved filming ‘Star Wars.’ He had so much fun,” Lisa said. “I would love for him to get well enough to be able to do a little bit of something, and I’m sure he would maybe like to do that. He couldn’t at this point, but you never know how much he’s going to improve. So we’ll see.”


While Jake’s future is unknown, Lisa is hopeful that her son is on the right track for happier days.

“We’re in a lot better place. And we do have a lot of things to look forward to,” she said. “We all love Jake, and we want to be around him. I just want him to be happy.”