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Taye Diggs Details His Sister’s Schizophrenia Diagnosis at 28: ‘She Is Such an Inspiration’ (Exclusive)

Taye Diggs is opening up about his family’s experience with schizophrenia after his younger sister, Christian Diggs, was diagnosed with the mental illness.

“She is such an inspiration to me,” Taye, 53, exclusively shared with Us Weekly on Tuesday, May 21, when launching the “Live Your PosSCZible” campaign. “She’s always been my little sis, but the way that she has handled her situation with being diagnosed with schizophrenia when she was 28 is really something else. She’s kind of become the hero of the family and it’s inspiring to me.”

When Taye first learned of his sibling’s diagnosis, he was overcome with a variety of emotions. The actor said he “had a couple of seconds of relief” knowing that Christian, now 48, finally had answers to her symptoms.

At the same time, Taye admitted he wasn’t the most knowledgeable about the illness except for a few negative portrayals on the big and small screen.

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“My first reaction was kind of like, I froze,” he said. “I was used to being the big brother and having control and having pride in being able to give good advice. It was a feeling that I had never felt before so I didn’t know how to react, so I didn’t do anything. I used the excuse that she probably doesn’t wanna talk about it. Everybody’s talking about it, I’ll just pretend it doesn’t exist, and that was the worst thing I could’ve done.”

With the support of family, Christian continued going to the doctor and settled in with a helpful psychiatrist and medications.

Taye Diggs Details His Sister's Schizophrenia Diagnosis at 28: ‘She Is Such an Inspiration’
Taye Diggs Michael Simon/

“It was a pathway to calm,” Taye explained. “Before I knew it, she was fine. People need to know that they don’t have to assume that this person’s life is over. It’s a big deal, but it can be handled and the way my sister is handling it is really great.”

As part of the “Live Your PosSCZible” campaign — launched with Bristol Myers Squibb for Mental Health Awareness Month and before World Schizophrenia Day on Friday, May 24 — Taye wants to shift perceptions about those living with schizophrenia.

“I was imagining everybody whispering about her and me feeling shame and wondering if I was always gonna have to be on guard and it was none of that,” the Private Practice actor said. “She figured out how she needed to adjust. I’m not saying it’s all rainbows and birthday cakes. She lost a couple of jobs because it was too much, but she learned from those experiences and now she’s at a point where she knows what her triggers are. It’s just very impressive.”

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Taye assures fans that Christian is supportive of him sharing her story to bring awareness. He also wants people to learn from his experience and never hesitate to be a support system through the unknowns.

“It’s so easy to make assumptions,” Taye said. “It’s so easy to assume someone else is gonna take care of it. But checking in with her helped us realize that that was one of the more important things that got her through. … People need support. People need to be able to look across from them and feel pride or at least not feel judged.”

With reporting by Christina Garibaldi

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