PHANTOM MENACE Star Jake Lloyd’s Mother Explains His Mental Health Struggles And Whether He Hates STAR WARS

2024 is the 25th anniversary of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, but one actor who won’t be helping to celebrate the occasion is Jake Lloyd. He played Anakin Skywalker in the 1999 movie and turned 35 on March 5; however, the mental health and legal issues he’s faced over the past couple of decades are well-known.

As we first reported on SFFGazette.com, Scripps News recently spoke with Jake’s mother, Lisa Lloyd, and learned that the child actor’s issues began in high school. He started suffering from delusions and ultimately dropped out of college after he began hearing voices. 

Jake has since been officially diagnosed with schizophrenia, though his issues have persisted (and were exacerbated when his sister, Madison, died of natural causes in 2018, aged only 26). 

The Anakin actor unfortunately suffered a full-blown psychotic break last year while driving home from McDonald’s with his mom. “He said he wanted to turn the car off,” Lisa recalls. “And he turned the car off in the middle of the three lanes, and we were in the middle lane. There was a lot of yelling and screaming.”

“The police got there, and they asked Jake some questions,” she continued. “He was talking to them, but none of it made sense. It was all word salad.”

Jake was admitted to the hospital and is now 10 months into an 18-month stay in a mental health rehabilitation facility. “He’s doing much better than I expected,” his mother explains. “He is relating to people better and becoming a little bit more social, which is really nice. It’s kind of like having more of the old Jake back, because he has always been incredibly social until he became schizophrenic.”

Lisa revealed that Jake enjoyed the new Ahsoka series and that she gifted him an action figure of the character for his birthday. “He loves all the new ‘Star Wars’ stuff,” she says. “People think Jake hates ‘Star Wars.’ He loves it.”

As for the widespread belief his role in The Phantom Menace caused these mental health struggles, she adds, “It would have happened anyway. I believe that it was genetic. And his psychiatrist also agrees that Jake was going to become schizophrenic.”

“I protected him from the backlash. He was just riding his bike outside, playing with his friends. He didn’t know. He didn’t care. Everybody makes such a big deal about that. And it’s rather annoying to me because Jake was a little kid when that came out, and he didn’t really feel all that stuff because I didn’t let him online.”

“People say he quit [acting] because of ‘Star Wars.’ Well, that’s not true. It didn’t have anything to do with ‘Star Wars.’ It had more to do with our family. And we were going through a divorce,” Lisa concluded. “Things were unsettled and kind of rough. And Jake didn’t seem to be having a lot of fun auditioning anymore.”

Needless to say, we wish Jake a speedy recovery and hope that, like Hayden Christensen, he might get to see the love he often receives from those who enjoyed The Phantom Menace and his work as the boy who eventually becomes Darth Vader.