Tyler Christopher became an instant fan favorite when he debuted as Nikolas Cassadine on General Hospital in 1996. The Daytime Emmy-winner has been absent from the soap scene, though, since health issues caused him to leave Days of our Lives and his role as Stefan O. DiMera in 2018. Now, the actor opens up about his life, clearing up some misconceptions, and talking about the future.
Tyler Christopher Talks About His Journey To Recovery
Soap Hub spoke to Christopher, who’s living in San Diego. The actor elaborates on issues he shared with Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos, GH) on a recent episode of Benard’s video podcast State Of Mind. Soap Hub had an insightful and candid discussion with Tyler.
Soap Hub: Hi, Tyler. How are you doing?
Tyler Christopher: Today is a good day. I’m living in San Diego temporarily. I needed a change of space and speed. I don’t know anyone here [except] for one person. It does get a little lonely, [but] I’m doing what I need to do to say healthy.
Soap Hub: What does that entail?
Tyler Christopher: I said this in State Of Mind, but I found a physician who can deal with everything instead of having [several doctors] who compartmentalize. I found one person who can treat everything. The big thing is my traumatic brain injury. Not a lot of people knew I went through that until I did Maurice’s show. I’m finally getting some help with that. It helped dramatically and has put me on the path to success. Almost none of it [involves] medication. That’s a victory for me.
Soap Hub: What are you doing to take care of yourself?
Tyler Christopher: I’m active in the AA [Alcoholics Anonymous] program…believe it or not, there’s a medication that takes away from [having] the craving of any sort of substance. I go once a month and get an injection. It takes away the mental urge to want to numb yourself. That’s part of treating bipolar, too. The two are related to each other…I wanted people to know [what was going on in my life]. I didn’t want to do an hour on State Of Mind saying, ‘Oh, poor me. I’m such a victim.’ I want to educate people.
Soap Hub: What response have you gotten since doing State Of Mind?
Tyler Christopher: I’m reading all of the comments. There may be some people out there who don’t believe what I’m saying. However, after reading the comments, I’m confident when I say to myself, ‘I did my job.’ I answered all the questions Maurice asked me. He said, ‘Ty, I’m your friend. You tell me what’s off-limits.’ I said, ‘Ask me whatever you want and I’ll answer. Go for it. Nothing’s off the table.’
Soap Hub: What do you think of Maurice as an interviewer?
Tyler Christopher: Maurice is good at lowering guards on people. Had I not known him, I might have shut down a bit. Because I know the nature of our relationship, I didn’t get nervous and wonder, ‘Can I tell the truth?’ He’s very good at getting people to let down their defenses. You feel safe talking to him.
Soap Hub: Does it help you knowing you’re helping people?
Tyler Christopher: Yes. I’m writing a book with the same author Maurice used [for his memoir Nothing General About It]. She asked me to write a mission statement — why was I writing this book? I want readers to say, ‘Holy…I’m just like Tyler.’ There’s someone who speaks my language. I don’t want to dispel rumors about me or soften my image. I just want to help people.
Soap Hub: You talked about arriving at Union Station in Los Angeles a while back and were told by someone you were going to stay with that they couldn’t put you up, and, as a result, you were homeless for a few weeks. Was there no one else you could have reached out to?
Tyler Christopher: (Beat). The short answer is no. And a lot of that is on me. It was my pride. I didn’t want to call someone and say, ‘Hey, man. I’m homeless. Can you help me.’ In my book, I’ll go into more details about the two weeks I spent on the street. I didn’t reach out, and I should have. That’s my responsibility.
I didn’t have a phone, but I could have communicated with some people. If you make 10 calls to 10 people, who might be able to help you, and if all 10 turn you down, well, you can at least walk the streets knowing that you tried — and things will get better. I was in contact with one person — my best friend. She said, ‘We’ve got to get you off the street.’ [But] even my best friend allowed me to walk the streets for those two weeks.
Soap Hub: Do you know why?
Tyler Christopher: Again, a short answer is: tough love. I think she wanted me to have a taste of reality — what life could be like if I make fallible, critical decisions about my life.
Soap Hub: What was the first thing you did when you got off the streets?
Tyler Christopher: I went to an Urgent Care because I’d gotten an infection from living on the street. From there, I was going to go to an assisted living place. Pride took over. I left the Urgent Care, and instead of waiting for the next step, I just started walking again. I didn’t have my luggage anymore, so I wasn’t dragging around a bunch of bags with me. Rather than wait for the next call from someone who was going to help me, I thought, ‘Now, I can do it myself.’
I made my way to Hollywood and Vine. That’s not a great place to be. That’s a place where tourists get off a bus to go to the [Hollywood] Wax Museum. (Wryly) I thought, ‘Well, I can’t die here.’ I thought that Toluca Lake isn’t that far. [I found out] it’s far. I started walking north on Highland, past the Hollywood Bowl, across the bridge that goes over the 101 Freeway, and then, down Barham to Pass Avenue [in Toluca Lake].
Soap Hub: There’s been a shift in how sexual harassment is talked about and perceived. Do you think someday there will be a shift in terms of homelessness?
Tyler Christopher: It’s an epidemic right now. I spent two weeks on the streets. Some people spend 20 years. Don’t feel sorry for me. I made it out. I found a way to eat and get some water. I found a place to lay my head. It was concrete, but whatever. After two weeks, I got out of it.
Soap Hub: Were you recognized when you were living on the street?
Tyler Christopher: No. Not by one person. I looked terrible. I was dirty. I couldn’t bathe. My clothes were dirty, ripped, torn. My legs were bleeding.
Soap Hub: You’re sharing your journey by writing your book, talking to Maurice, talking to Soap Hub….what are you hoping to do for yourself and others?
Tyler Christopher: That’s easy. I want people to read it and say, ‘Okay, that happened. You’re healthy. You have a place to live. A bed. You have the critical parts of living. What are you going to do next?’ I want people to challenge me.
Check back for more of Soap Hub’s candid discussion with Christopher. Also, the actor is now available on Cameo if you’d like him to record a special message for you or the Tyler Christopher fan in your life. Click here for more info.