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Wil Wheaton | Source: Getty Images
Wil Wheaton | Source: Getty Images

Richard William Wheaton Jr. and Debbie Wheaton Are Wil Wheaton’s Parents with Whom He Had Complicated Relationships

Junie Sihlangu
Dec 24, 2023
12:30 P.M.

Wil Wheaton's parents, mother Debbie Wheaton and father Richard William Wheaton, Jr., were not the best parents to the famous actor. He claimed they forced him to become an actor.

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Wil Wheaton might be a famous actor and writer, but becoming the man he is today was a long and challenging journey. In a piece he wrote for Medium, he revealed that his father, Richard William Wheaton Jr., never tried to get to know him.

Wil said it was a conscious choice on his father's part because Richard Jr. put a lot of effort into loving the boy's brother and sister. Meanwhile, instead of getting support from his mother, Debbie Wheaton, she gaslit him his whole life.

Wil Wheaton, his father Rick Wheaton, mother Debbie, brother Jeremy, and sister Amy Wheaton at Ninth Annual Youth In Film Awards on December 5, 1987, in Hollywood, California | Source: Getty Images

Wil Wheaton, his father Rick Wheaton, mother Debbie, brother Jeremy, and sister Amy Wheaton at Ninth Annual Youth In Film Awards on December 5, 1987, in Hollywood, California | Source: Getty Images

According to Wil, his "manipulative, selfish, drunk" mother gaslighted him about the bullying and abuse he experienced from Richard Jr. and even forced him to apologize when his father hurt him. Wil believed his mother's lies for a while and hated himself as much as he felt Richard Jr. did.

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He did that, hoping pointlessly that he would convince his father to care about him and love him. Wil still had a gaping black hole where Richard Jr.'s love was supposed to be. The actor knew his memories and feelings about his past were real because his father never accepted and loved him.

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However, fellow actor Jonathan Frakes plays a good substitute. He is there for Wil and loves and accepts him. Unlike Wil's parents, Jonathan ensured the younger actor knew he was part of a family. He clearly isn't a fan of his parents but has more to say about his mother.

Wil Wheaton and his mother Debbie Wheaton photographed on August 25, 1988, at Universal Studios in Universal City, California | Source: Getty Images

Wil Wheaton and his mother Debbie Wheaton photographed on August 25, 1988, at Universal Studios in Universal City, California | Source: Getty Images

More about Wil Wheaton's Mom, Debbie Wheaton

In a 2021 interview, Wil brutally revealed that he never wanted to be an actor, but his parents forced him to be one as a child. His mother even coached him to go to tell a children's agent:

"I want to do what mommy does."

Wil Wheaton and his mother Debbie Wheaton at the Virgin Records Party on February 23, 1990, in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

Wil Wheaton and his mother Debbie Wheaton at the Virgin Records Party on February 23, 1990, in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

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The emotional abuse and manipulation he got from Richard Jr. made him the best candidate to play Gordie in 1986's "Stand by Me." Wil said his character's life experience was the same as his own as they were both "invisible" in their homes.

The other similarity they shared was that they had brothers who were the golden children while they were the family's scapegoats. When he watches the movie now, he can't ignore the sadness in his childhood eyes that made Gordie come alive.

Wil Wheaton posing for a photo in 1989 | Source: Getty Images

Wil Wheaton posing for a photo in 1989 | Source: Getty Images

In a 2018 Medium article, Wil revealed he didn't blame Debbie for the person she was and urged readers to do the same. He felt she was doing the best she could. Addressing her, he said he knew she'd be upset to read his piece, but assured her:

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"I want you to know that I love you, and I know that you did the very best you could."

Wil Wheaton during a photo session in  Burbank, California, in 1987 | Source: Getty Images

Wil Wheaton during a photo session in Burbank, California, in 1987 | Source: Getty Images

The actor explained to his readers that by telling his truth and story he hoped other mothers would pick up on things Debbie failed to do. Although Wil appeared to be forgiving of his parents, he still spoke about their behavior openly.

Now, Wil doesn't "really enjoy" acting on-camera as it can be triggering and traumatic...

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What Else Has Wil Wheaton Said about His Parents, Richard William Wheaton Jr. And Debbie Wheaton?

In his 2018 article, Wil confessed to never thinking the treatment he got from his parents was normal or even healthy. He also never blamed himself for their actions. However, the man who now suffers from chronic depression and generalized anxiety worried a lot and was always nervous about things.

Wil said that throughout his childhood, Debbie called him a "worry wart," while his father described him as "overly dramatic." "The Big Bang Theory" star shared that his mother's desire to be a famous actor's momager cost him the relationship he could've built with his parents.

Now, Wil doesn't "really enjoy" acting on-camera as it can be triggering and traumatic, but he has no regrets about his career. Wil described acting as something good that he excels in. He is proud and grateful for all he can do and loves his current life.

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