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'Jerry Maguire's' Jonathan Lipnicki Was 'Relentlessly' Bullied as a Kid - Inside His Life Now

Busayo Ogunjimi
Jan 23, 2022
08:20 A.M.
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American actor Jonathan Lipnicki, who melted hearts as a 5-year-old alongside actor Tom Cruise in the 1996 hit romantic comedy film "Jerry Maguire," revealed he was relentlessly bullied as a kid. 

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When Jonathan Lipnicki showed up on the screen as a 5-year-old in the movie "Jerry Maguire," where he played Ray Boyd, the cherubic son of actress Renee Zellweger, the cute young actor quickly became a fan favorite.

"Jerry Maguire," the young actor's acting debut movie, became one of the highest-grossing romantic comedy movies of all time as it grossed $274 million globally.

Picture of actor Jonathan Lipnicki in the 1996 movie, "Jerry Maguire" [left]. Tom Cruise and Jonathan Lipnicki during "Jerry Maguire " New York City Premiere at Pier 88 in New York City, New York [right] | Photo: Getty Images

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Sadly the young actor's early fame also came with its negatives because Lipnicki was bullied and called a has-been as a kid. The constant bullying resulted in the young actor developing panic attacks and anxiety as he grew.

This bad experience did not deter him, and he continued acting as a child actor. After "Jerry Maguire," he appeared in "The Single Guy," "Dawson's Creek," and the sitcom, "Meego." In 1999, he starred in "Stuart Little," He played the lead role in the 2000 film "The Little Vampire."

Jonathan Lipnicki at the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee on June 26, 2001 in Washington, DC. | Photo: Getty Images

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TRANSITIONING FROM A CHILD STAR

Lipnicki explained that working on "Jerry Maguire" felt good because his co-stars, Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger, were a pleasure to work with.

The actor revealed as a teen, he partly took a break from acting but was still going for auditions sparingly. It was an awkward phase for him because he lost his confidence as an actor. 

An actor is only as good as his confidence, which affects performance when it is missing. Lipnicki started attending night-acting lessons while in high school. The acting class and a little bit of theatre gave the actor confidence again, and the process was quite humbling for him. 

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MOVIES AND MARTIAL ART 

Lipnicki has appeared in more movies as an adult than as a child star, but it has been a difficult task getting movie directors and producers to see him as anyone but the cute kid from "Jerry Maguire."

He was cast less and less in movies and only appeared scarcely on television throughout his teenage years. When he was auditioning for a pilot, the actor recalled that a producer told him he used to be cute but not anymore. 

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He admitted it is tough being an actor, but this has not discouraged him, and he has scored appearances in a couple of indy films and still has dreams of becoming a mainstream actor. 

Lipnicki also has a brown belt in jiu-jitsu and has trained diligently over the last years in martial arts. Staying in top physical shape has kept him grounded and mentally strong to deal with the hectic features of show business.

Having a six-pack has helped him book a few gigs as well, and the actor is also a jiu-jitsu instructor to a class of children aged 7-12 in his hometown of Westlake Village, California. 

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LOOKING UP TO TOM CRUISE 

Lipnicki admitted he is fortunate to have someone like his former co-star Tom Cruise as a mentor, and they still keep in contact. He also keeps in contact with his other co-stars but not as frequently as he does with Cruise, who he emails from time to time. 

The actor holds Tom Cruise in the highest regard and admires how Cruise does his stunts in movies; Lipnicki revealed he would love to do more of himself. He has not scored a lot of roles where he could show off his skills except for a fight scene he did in the movie "Bad Ass 2."

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Cruise is also very open and would offer advice whenever Lipnicki needed it. He also admitted that working as hard as Cruise would take him to the next level in his career. 

The "Mission Impossible" star is also very respectful of Lipnicki's Jewish religion and has never talked about his religion of Scientology with him. 

When Lipnicki had his bar mitzvah, Cruise also sent him a congratulatory letter, and the young actor was very grateful for the gesture. 

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RECENT MOVIE PROJECTS 

Lipnicki revealed he filmed a movie alongside Jonathan Silverman about a genetics professor who clones his dead wife in an attempt to get her back exactly as she was titled "Andover." 

He also filmed a high school movie, "Loserville," alongside famous "The Sopranos" actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler and "Scandal" star Darby Stanchfield.

The actor also starred in and has an executive producer credit alongside Denise Richards and Swedish actor and martial artist Dolph Lundgren in the movie "Altitude." 

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FINANCES AND PARENTAL SUPPORT 

Lipnicki revealed he is lucky enough to support himself while focusing solely on his movie career. The actor explained he is not a multi-millionaire but has a beautiful life he is grateful for. 

The youngster was not paid a crazy amount for his performance in the movie, but the amount was significant for a 5-year-old. His mother Rhonda, a cosmetician, and his father Joseph, an accountant, divorced when Lipnicki was just ten years old, but the actor is still close with both of them.

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He praised them for keeping track of his desires and supporting his dreams of being an actor, a passion that he developed while very young. 

This strong parental bond also helped the youngster navigate the entertainment industry and not end up on the lousy patch other famous young actors did. 

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The actor revealed he has never done drugs, and having good role models has helped him work hard and focus on his career. His acting exploits take a significant chunk of his time, and going on a cruise to Alaska was the first he had been on vacation in the previous seven years.

Lipnicki enjoys going out for drinks with friends and loves burgers and fries away from acting. The actor tries to keep his diet clean to keep his shape and book more jobs. Jiu-jitsu is also an excellent workout and helps him stay in shape.  

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