Pete Davidson reveals heartbreaking way he learned his dad was killed on 9/11

Saturday Night Live alum Pete Davidson is one of today’s biggest comedy stars, but his life has been far from just laughs: he suffered a devastating loss as a child when his firefighter father died on 9/11.

Recently, the comedian opened up and revealed the heartbreaking way he learned about his father’s death, and the lasting impact it has had on him.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MARCH 05: Pete Davidson attends the premiere of “Big Time Adolescence” at Metrograph on March 05, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/WireImage)

Tragedy on 9/11

Davidson’s father, Scott Matthew Davidson, was a New York City firefighter for Ladder 118. He and his entire unit were killed during the September 11 terrorist attacks; he was last seen running up the stairs of the Marriott World Trade Center Hotel.

Pete Davidson has long been open about his father’s death and the effect it had on him in his youth. But he recently revealed the heartbreaking way he first learned the news from his mother.

During an interview on Jon Bernthal’s podcast Real Ones, Davidson said that on 9/11 he was supposed to be picked up by his dad. But instead his mother, Amy Waters Davidson, picked him up but did not tell him what was going on. Davidson was 7 years old at the time.

“She didn’t tell me what was going on for like three days,” Davidson revealed. “She kept telling me dad’s at work, coming home, whatever ― I had no idea.”

To keep him from learning the news, his mother “grounded” him and forbid him to watch TV. “And I was like ‘What? I didn’t do anything,’” Davidson recalled.

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Davidson revealed the heartbreaking way he learned what had happened:

“I turned on the TV, and I just saw my dad on TV,” he recalls. “And they’re like, ‘These are all the firemen that are dead,’ and all that.”

PTSD and trauma

The comedian says he doesn’t hold anything against his mom, who was only 30 at the time and was no doubt struggling to deal with the shocking death of her husband. Davidson says they were still pulling out bodies at Ground Zero and it took three weeks to know that his father was dead.

“Nobody knew how to deal with it,” Davidson told Bernthal. “Whether or not it’s right or wrong, it still f***s a kid up.”

Pete Davidson and his mother, Amy in 2015 (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

Davidson said that he has suffered PTSD from the trauma of that time, and was later diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. He also said it left him with a fear of abandonment. “Dad said he’s coming to pick you up, he doesn’t. For life, I’m like, ‘I don’t believe anyone.’ And I’m trying to learn how to believe people.”

In 2015, his mother told the New York Times that Pete would act out in school and would rip out his hair until he was bald. She said he became a “lab rat” for doctors studying the children of 9/11 victims.

Davidson has also said that he has struggled with suicidal thoughts. But he has since gone to rehab and is working through his mental health issues.

“Until I met the right treatments and met the right doctors and did all the work that you need to do to not feel that way, it got pretty dark and scary,” he told CBS Sunday Morning.

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Despite his struggles, Davidson found his place doing comedy. He was a successful stand-up comedian as a teenager and was cast on Saturday Night Live at age 20. After departing the show last year, he’s still going strong as an in-demand film and TV star.

That is a heartbreaking way to learn about your father’s death, and it’s clear that the trauma of 9/11 has left a lasting impact on Pete Davidson. But we’re glad he has been working on his mental health and is doing well.

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