If you’ve ever seen Shark Tank (or Dragon’s Den in his native Canada), you probably have noticed that Robert Herjavec is usually a pretty upbeat and positive guy – especially in comparison with the other “sharks” on the panel. He often talks about his family which is probably why he struggled so much after getting divorced.
Recently, Herjavec explained to Good Morning America that 2014 was an extremely challenging year in his life. The 51-year-old split from his wife of 24 years, Diane, and, in the months that followed, found it hard to cope with life. He said that he got to a point where he felt like there was no tomorrow to look forward to and contemplated suicide.
Last July, Herjavec admits that, while standing on the balcony of his Toronto hotel room, he considered jumping. He told People magazine: “I just wanted to end it… we were great parents and a great time but, over time, we drifted apart.”
It seems that the strain the break-up put on his relationship with his three high school and college-age kids was the worst part. Immediately following the split, they refused to speak to their father and, of the situation, he explained: “everyone has their kryptonite. For me, it was my kids. It took me to a place where I never thought I’d go.”
In an effort to regain some perspective and cope with his depression, Herjavec reached out to his pastor, John McAuley. For the next two weeks, the millionaire worked at the Seattle Union Gospel Mission where he helped out at a shelter.
The other people at the soup kitchen where he worked assumed he was a recovering addict and treated him the same as everyone else. As a result, he was able to see the “suffering and hopelessness” of the men and women who came seeking shelter and support.
Ultimately, Herjavec was so moved that he bought all of the socks at a local Walmart, around 100,000 pairs, to hand out to the homeless people in the area. He explained that he realized that there is “this whole world of people living beneath underpasses and under trees who aren’t well enough to make it into [a] shelter.”
The experience taught him that being compassionate is not a sign of weakness. He went on to say: “I saw so much pain, so much loss and grief, but, yet, joy. It just stripped away everything for me and brought me back to a place of happiness. You have to have hope. I mean, somebody loves you. It’s never the end and you’ve just got to believe that tomorrow’s going to be a better day.”
He definitely makes a valid point. So often, people who are struggling with depression or considering suicide struggle with having hope that things will get better. In the moment, it can be hard to believe that unexpected happiness could be waiting just around the corner. This has been very true for Herjavec who is now competing on Dancing with the Stars and is rumored to be dating his partner, Kym Johnson.
During his Good Morning America interview he explained that this new, fun adventure could not “have come at a better time” in his life and that even he is surprised by his own dancing abilities. Of his relationship with Johnson, Herjavec said: “She’s a great dancer and she’s become a great friend,” he said, though he would not comment on their relationship status. “It’s more than just the dancing. I think we just get along great!”
It’s incredible to think about how much his life has changed in just one short year and how fortunate it is that he found a way to push through such an overwhelming feeling of depression. This could be the start of a whole new relationship for the Shark Tank star but, if not, he’s made new friends and tried new things which is a great way to live life to the fullest!