BJ “Tolits” Forbes Admits Depression In The Past Due To Financial Problems

The former child actor opens up about being scammed and losing their house in the past

TW: Suicide

BJ Forbes, more popularly known as Tolits, disclosed the real reason why he went on a showbiz hiatus during his peak as a child star.

BJ is making a showbiz comeback via the upcoming indie film “The Special Gift.”

In this movie, BJ is cast as the love interest of young actress Romina Cauilan. This advocacy film is about a young boy dealing with savant syndrome (played by Franchesco Maafi). “The Special Gift” will have a special screening this September before being shown in schools.

During the press conference of “The Special Gift” on July 30, 2023 at Fin and Claw restaurant, BJ reveals that his family got scammed and they were forced to move to a smaller house because they got a fake house title.

BJ narrated during the July 30, 2023 press conference of “The Special Gift,” held at the Fin and Claw restaurant, “Mga 12 years old po ako, naloko po kami sa bahay. Lahat po ng mga naipon ko sa pagiging child star ko, nawala. Nawala… naloko sa bahay. Peke yung titulo na napunta sa amin.

“I’m not blaming my mom for that, dahil may edad naman na tayo, pero siyempre, siya yung namamahala sa finances ko noong panahon na yun.

“So, noong nalipat kami sa mas maliit na bahay, nagkaroon ng problema. I’m trying to find my dad dahillumagapak ako sa buhay, tapos wala akong matakbuhan. I mean, hindi ko masisi yung nanay ko, but wala ring tumutulong sa akin. Wala yung tatay ko. So, I’m incomplete.”

Taking a hiatus from showbiz

BJ admits that he felt depressed and had suicidal thoughts because of these problems.

Yun rin po yung time na parang nawala, natamlayan ako sa showbiz, hindi na ako nag-au-audition. May mga binibigay na mga shows, hindi ko pinupuntahan because of family problems and personal problems.

Yun din yung mga panahon na depressed na ako, suicidal na yung stage ko. Hindi ko gustong makita ako ng public na ganon.

BJ, who gained fame for being a finalist in the “That’s My Boy” segment of “Eat Bulaga!” in 2003, then chose to take a hiatus from showbiz in order to focus on his mental health.

Ngayon na lang ako nagiging vocal kasi tanggap ko na siya, kasi kumbaga parang ngang sa film, kapag tanggap na natin yung isang bagay, kapag hindi na siya ganon kasakit sa atin, at saka lang natin siya naikukwento sa mga tao.

“So, yung pagkawala ko po sa showbiz, it was part of it, my choice, dahil ayun nga, lahat ng mga pinaghirapan ko, nawala ng isang iglap. Hindi ko makita ng mga panahon na yun yung purpose ko para magpatuloy.”

He eventually overcame his depression and afterwards, he then got into theater acting. It allowed him to still do the thing he is passionate about: acting.

“So, napunta ako sa pagte-teatro, na ihahayag ko yung passion ko sa pag-arte, nakaka-arte ako sa kung anong gusto kong role ng wala yung showbiz side na hindi nila uungkatin yung nangyayari sa pamilya ko, na hindi tinitignan kung naghihirap man ako ng mga panahon na yun. I bounced back.

Kumbaga, bumangon ako ng hindi ako humihingi ng tulong sa TVJ,” referring to the comedic trio composed of Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey de Leon.

Hindi ako humihingi ng tulong sa network. Hindi ako nagpaawa sa media, kinimkim ko yung personal problems ko.”

He does not regret going on hiatus because he was able to prevent himself from being led astray like other child stars.

BJ continues, “And I have no regrets with that, kung hindi man nagtuluy-tuloy yung pag-angat ko, the same para sa akin.

Kung kinailangan kong lunukin yung dignidad ko noong bata ako, ligaw yung landas ko, ang dami kong tanong sa personal ko na buhay na noon lang nasasagot, kung sasabayan ko siya ng pagiging showbiz, na ihahayag ko pa yung sarili ko, baka hindi ko po kinaya personally. Baka napunta ako sa mga napuntahan ng mga katulad kong child star.”

Does he get hurt when people call him laos or a faded star?

Pero sa akin, kahit sabihin ng ibang tao na laos na siya, laos na si Tolits, ang sabi ko, ‘No, hindi ninyo lang alam kung bakit mas pinili kong mas maging pribadong tao at bakit ko mas pinili yung mas simpleng buhay.’

Iniwan ko yung kasikatan, iniwan ko yung mga connections, just to relieve myself, ng mahanap ko ulit yung sarili ko.”

Finally, he wanted to inspire other people with his life story.

Ngayong buo na ulit ako, humaharap po ako sa inyo. Kinukwento ko kung ano yung mga pinagdaanan ko.

“And it’s part of my story na nagiging inspiration sa marami. So, kung hindi man po ako naging tuluy-tuloy sa pagiging superstar, it’s part of God’s plan for me and hindi po ako nanghihinayang doon at masaya po ako.

On his daughter Janella

BJ admits that the movie “The Special Gift” is close to his heart as a father because he is looking after a child who has special needs. His daughter Janella had a stroke after experiencing a seizure when she was just four years old.

“She’s four years old and she’s a PWD dahil noong one year old po siya ay nagka-seizure siya, then na-stroke siya because of lack of oxygen sa kanyang utak.

“So, it’s been three years na dealing and handling the situation of my child, my kid na hindi normal.

Hindi siya nakakapaglakad, hindi siya nakakapag-talk because of the damage of the stroke. But, for me, hindi ko siya masasabi as disadvantage or hindi ko siya masasabi as talagang literal na pagkalugmok sa buhay or dagok sa buhay.

“So, when it comes to special child, it’s very close to my heart. It’s very close to my own personal life experiences. So, ayun po, mahal na mahal ko yung anak ko in spite of everything that happened.”

Produced by Roy Gomez and directed by Lawrence Roxas, “The Special Gift” also stars Migui Moreno, Mike Lloren, Malou Canzana, Ella Sheen, Angelo Gomez, and Soliman Cruz.

If you or a loved one are experiencing mental health difficulties, you can reach out to the National Mental Health Crisis Hotline at 0917-899-8727/090-863-92672 or visit Mental Health PH for more resources.

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