Rebecca Gayheart Opens Up About Accidentally Killing Boy, 9
Rebecca Gayheart has opened up about the 2001 car accident which resulted in the death of Jorge Cruz Jr.
Nearly two decades after the tragic car accident which killed the young boy, Gayheart has opened up about the traumatic event on The Only One in the Room podcast.
“I had a very terrible accident happen. A 9-year-old child died. And, you know, everything changed from that, and, I still have trouble talking about it, so if I get emotional, I apologise,” the 47-year-old began.
The accident happened in June 2001, when a car in front of her hit the brakes. To avoid hitting the car, she drove around it.
"If a car in front of you hits their brakes and they stop, you don't go around them to avoid hitting them. You hit them because there's a reason they're stopping," she explained, reflecting on her mistake. "I couldn't see that reason, but that is something that everyone should know."
The 'Once Upon A Time In Hollywood' actress added that the boy had been chasing after his soccer ball when he was hit by Gayheart. He died one day after the accident from his injuries, with Gayheart paying for the boy’s funeral and settling a wrongful death suit filed by his parents in 2002.
“I just didn’t want to live after that accident. That’s what it came down to. I couldn’t handle it at all. So I spent about a year just trying to kill myself, basically, by doing every self-destructive thing a person can do,” she said.
“I just didn’t understand; I didn’t understand any of it, like, I had led, you know, sort of a charmed life up until then, even though I grew up dirt poor,” she added.
“It just turned my world upside down and I lost faith in everything, like, I questioned God, like, ‘Why me? Why Jorge?’”
After pleading no contest to vehicular manslaughter in November 2001, the Gayheart was sentenced to probation, along with a one-year suspension of her license, a $2,800 fine, and 750 hours of community service.
And while she continues to struggle with the trauma following the incident, she said that she's now in a better place than she was previously.
“Today, I am able to ponder those questions and still realize that I deserve to be happy,” she concluded. “That I am meant to be on this planet and that I have a purpose and I’m making, living amends for that, even though it was an accident.”