David Harbour fears for mental health of Stranger Things child stars
David Harbour fears the ‘Stranger Things’ child actors will never grasp the reality of normal life.
The 47-year-old actor considers himself lucky to not have achieved mainstream success until he had reached middle age because he had the tools in place to cope with the recognition that came with the hit Netflix series, whereas his young co-stars, who include Millie Bobby Brown, 18, and 19-year-olds Finn Wolfhard and Gaten Matarazzo, will have only ever known what it's like to be famous due to the huge streaming numbers of the show.
Harbour said: "I see what these kids have to deal with and, look, whatever. I mean, there’s a lot of people that go through, I guess a lot worse stuff.
“But mentally and psychologically, I think getting extremely famous and being so doted on at 11 years old is really hard for the psyche to reconcile with.
“I’m lucky because it didn’t happen to me ’til I was 40. So I know what it’s like to go to the mall. I know what it’s like to be bullied and humiliated … I know what it’s like to have to find friends, not to have people come to me. I don’t know that they’ll ever have that feeling.”
Harbour, who started acting on Broadway and made his TV debut on ‘Law and Order’, has starred in ‘Stranger Things’ as police chief Jim Hopper since the Netflix fantasy-horror show started in 2016.
Now in its fourth season, the show features his character’s close relationship with Eleven, played by Millie Bobby Brown.
But Harbour – who is stepfather to his 37-year-old singer wife Lily Allen’s two daughters, Marnie and Ethel - said his real-life bond with the actress and model isn’t as close as their on-screen relationship.
Speaking on The Los Angeles Times’ ‘The Envelope’ podcast, he shared: “That relationship is very, very… and she’s dependent on him in a way that Millie has a lot more people around her that she’s dependent on.”
Brown - who is dating Jon Bon Jovi’s aspiring actor son Jake Bongiovi, 20 - has become a household name thanks to ‘Stranger Things’ and her role in Michael Dougherty’s ‘Godzilla’ franchise.
She has gone on to produce and star in the successful ‘Enola Holmes’, a 2020 movie about the iconic detective Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister, which has a sequel coming this year.
But in 2018, she opened up about feeling “scared and helpless” after being bullied online.
At the end of May 2022, a court heard she was allegedly stalked by a fan said to have lied to security to get access to her on the set of Netflix film ‘Damsel’.