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Jonathan Frakes Was Unaware Of Wil Wheaton's Torture On Star Trek: TNG's Set

It's easy to believe that when it comes to being part of a hit TV series, just about everyone involved must be having the time of their lives. This assumption is often accurate, especially for the actors, as being on a successful show is what many of them have been working so hard to achieve in their careers. Unfortunately, this was far from the truth for Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher) who has recently claimed his parents forced him to work as a child star, despite his longing to just be a normal kid.

When actor Jonathan Frakes, who played Commander Will Riker on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" spoke to the "Inside of You" podcast, he explained that he had no idea what Wheaton was going through when he worked with him on the series. "We thought everything was hunky-dory, that they [Wheaton's family] were just quiet," admitted Frakes. "We had no idea." Frakes, like fans and colleagues who weren't personally connected to Wheaton, found out about his struggles when the former child star recently decided to go public with his story.

During an Access Hollywood interview, Wheaton detailed how his parents forced him to be an actor, resulting in damaging mental abuse. "I have these very clear memories of saying over and over I don't wanna do this, I just want to be a kid, let me be a kid," he revealed. Wheaton continued explaining that his mother, who was unsuccessful at her own attempt to become a successful actor, forced her dream onto him, with his father remaining uninvolved in helping with his emotional struggles. Co-star Frakes, along with the rest of Wheaton's peers, were blind to the young actor's hidden turmoil.

On set, Wheaton was treated as an adult

Although not nearly enough distraction from the pain Wil Wheaton was experiencing by being forced into an acting career by his parents, one thing co-star Jonathan Frakes explains was a positive thing for Wheaton was his love of "Star Trek." In fact, Wheaton has expressed that he used to go in early on shoot days just to explore the "TNG" sets. But despite this, Frakes recalls that even this child-like excitement was not apparent. "He didn't feel like a kid to us," he said.

The mental and forceful abuse that Wheaton's parents subjected him to surprisingly helped the young actor tap into true feelings when giving his breakout performance as Gordie Lachance in 1986's "Stand By Me." "The fundamental motivating force in Gordie Lachance's life is his line, 'My dad hates me, I'm no good,'" Wheaton explained. "That was how I felt and I didn't know it." Wheaton admitted that when looking back at the popular film, what he notices most is how sad he looks.

Frakes recalls how he and the rest of the cast embraced Wheaton, and that most likely helped him get through his run on "TNG." "We treated him as an equal, I think, in a way that he wasn't treated maybe at home," Freaks said. "None of us knew. And I always think of myself as a pretty good observer of human behavior, but we were all in the dark about it." Despite not locking into what Wheaton was experiencing, Frakes says that they are now very open and vocal about how important their relationship is today.