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How Mark Ruffalo Triumphed Over His Rough Start in Life

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Mark Ruffalo

Can you imagine the Marvel Universe without Mark Ruffalo? As Hollywood’s leading man, Ruffalo has had an extremely successful career in Hollywood. But you may not have known that the Marvel star has had a particularly painful past. Find out how Mark Ruffalo triumphed over his tragedies.

Shades Of The Past

Mark Ruffalo had an unbelievably rough start in life. During an interview with Men’s Journal, Mark described his humble beginnings. Born in Kenosha, Wisconsin to an entrepreneurial father and a hairdresser mother, he grew up with two sisters and a brother. When Mark was 13, his dad’s construction painting company went out of business and his family relocated to Virginia Beach, Virginia. When his father’s new business, Soda Butler, failed, the family moved to a poor neighborhood in San Diego.

Yet, his family troubles never stopped young Ruffalo from graduating from high school. Even though the actor struggled with undiagnosed ADHD and dyslexia, he persevered and completed his early education. Things changed for the better when Ruffalo received his mental health diagnosis, and now he’s joined other celebrities in speaking out about learning disabilities with the Child Mind Institute. Way to go, Mark!

The Show Must Go On

You might be surprised to know that Mark Ruffalo has lost several loved ones and struggled with depression. When Mark was starting his acting career in Los Angeles, he met his best friend Michael at the Stella Adler Conservatory. Ruffalo told Parade that Michael “was the only one I knew as sad as me who I could talk to.” Sadly, his confidant committed suicide in 1994, leaving Ruffalo to reconsider his own dark thoughts. Mark shared with Parade that “When he died, it rocked me out of a dark depression. The moment he left, I realized that death wasn’t an escape, that suicide wasn’t an answer.” Amen!

However, tragedy continued to follow Mark. The Los Angeles Times reported that the actor’s younger brother Scott Ruffalo passed away from a gunshot wound on December 8, 2008. Although the police allegedly thought Scott died due to a bad game of Russian roulette, they decided to pursue it as a homicide case. After booking and releasing suspect Shaha Mishaal Adham, Scott’s death remains a mystery to this day. Miraculously, Mark stayed strong despite this catastrophe, telling the Telegraph that “It reminded me that life is short and you’d better do what you want while you have a chance.” After a brief retirement, Ruffalo dedicated the film The Kids Are All Right to his brother’s memory.

Keep Holding On

Apparently, the Avengers star once dreamt that he was growing a brain tumor, and immediately scheduled a doctor’s appointment. Evidently, he was diagnosed with Acoustic Neuroma following a CAT scan. Afraid of his brain cancer discovery, he hid his illness from his wife until she gave birth to their son Keen. After Keen was born, Ruffalo had surgery to get rid of the tumor. While the surgery was effective, the actor lost hearing in his left ear and experienced paralysis in half of his face. In 2013, he told the Acoustic Neuroma Association that he overcame his facial paralysis with physical therapy and exercise.

Nowadays, Ruffalo finds peace in meditation. During an interview with Rolling Stone, the actor shared that “It’s pretty much a daily practice that quiets your brain and oddly enough, actually slows down time, so you’re not so much trapped in your immediate reactions to things.” Mark also told the Rolling Stone, “My work started to change, my luck started to change. The way the world looked to me changed.” We’re excited to see what Ruffalo does next!

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