Our favourite dog trainer Cesar Millan has been speaking to his fans about a dark time in his life, where he attempted suicide by taking an overdose that left him unconscious, hospitalised and very nearly ended his life. Most of Cesar’s fans know the gentle Mexican as an inspirational animal lover who has dedicated his life to helping the worlds un-trainable dogs. So it must come as a huge shock to learn that this caring man has been battling a deep depression. In a programme which will air on Nat Geo Wild on November 25 called: Cesar Millan: The Real Story, he talks about the circumstances that led up to the suicide attempt. Millan says: “I have always been honest with my fans, which means being open about any struggles I have had along the way. It was important for me to explain all the aspects that have led to my new chapter. Although it was a dark moment for me, it showed me that I still needed to be here and I have a lot more to do.”
43-year-old Mexican-born Millan began his career working for Will Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett before she had married Will. When Jada learned that her new dog walker wanted to be on TV she provided him with English lessons and his career took off as he became the Dog Whisperer and his popularity grew. He married his childhood sweetheart Illusion and she gave birth to their two sons. However, in 2010 his beloved pit bull Daddy, who had appeared on his shows with him died, and shortly afterwards he found out that his wife was planning to divorce him after 16 years of marriage. In May 2010 it all became too much and he attempted suicide. “Daddy was my Tibet, my Himalaya, my Gouda, my Buddha, my source of calmness,” Millan said. Without mentioning his suicide attempt, Millan said on his website: “I felt defeated, a big sense of guilt and failure. … I was at the lowest level I had ever been emotionally and psychologically.”
Executive vice president and general manager of Nat Geo Wild – Geoff Daniels said: “It’s rare when someone with his level of celebrity is willing to completely open up and share the struggle and hardship it took to find success and happiness,” he added, “Cesar doesn’t hold anything back, and I’m certain our audience will feel even closer to him for it.” Thankfully Millan is now over his dark depression and a new love in his life may have contributed to this. Calling her ‘The One’. Jahira Dar now lives with Milan and his youngest son in Los Angeles, and Millan said he planned to propose soon. “It’s a surprise,” he joked. “I am a traditional guy, so I like to do the whole parent thing. I know they are going to say yes, but I like the whole Cinderella story.”
Despite the TV series The Dog Whisperer coming to an end, Millan still runs his Dog Psychology Center, at a ranch in Santa Clarita, and sells his own line of dog products and instructional CDs and DVDs. He has written his seventh book called A Short Guide to a Happy Dog, which is due out on January 1, and his new TV show called Leader of the Pack will premiere on Nat Geo Wild on January 5. This new series filmed in Spain will concentrate on highlighting pet rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming around the world.
Millan always says he rehabilitates dogs and he trains humans and that people should not look at the breed of the dog, rather the person who owns it. “It’s not the breed, it’s the human behind the dog. Rehabbing dogs is easy, but training people is not. A dog would never see me as a Mexican or immigrant or think things people say about me. Dogs don’t rationalise. They don’t hold anything against a person. They don’t see the outside of a human but the inside of a human.”