‘American Idol’: Former Host Brian Dunkleman Says He Was ‘Crippled With Depression’ After Leaving the Show

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

American Idol” has featured the iconic TV personality Ryan Seacrest as its sole host for nearly 20 years. However, at one time, the hit singing show featured a second host, and that was Brian Dunkleman. Seacrest serves as a mainstay collaborator on the show to this day. Dunkleman, on the other hand, left ahead of “Idol’s” second season, and now, he’s sharing why he was “crippled with depression” following his exit.

According to TMZ, the former “American Idol” host was “suicide adjacent” after quitting the hit singing competition. After departing the TV show, which now airs on ABC after more than a decade on FOX, the outlet states the former “American Idol” host was left “twisting in the wind” following his exit.

In departing after the show’s first season, Dunkleman lacked further career opportunities. As such, Dunkleman began using drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with his depression.

As per the outlet, the former host left “American Idol” with intentions to pursue a career in acting. However, that apparently life-altering decision continued to haunt him long after leaving the show.

Dunkleman Makes a Brief Pivotal Return to ‘American Idol’

Eventually, Dunkleman would return to the set of “American Idol.” During the show’s final season on FOX, the former host reunited with current host, Ryan Seacrest. While there, the outlet states the former host ran into one of his old bosses.

To Dunkleman’s relief, he learned the network planned to let him go from “American Idol” ahead of season two anyway. So, ultimately, whether his departure was his choice or the network’s, he nevertheless faced a future away from “American Idol.”

Since then, Dunkleman’s seen quite a recovery and has managed to leave his past trauma behind him. Currently, the former “American Idol” host has found work doing stand-up comedy and improv. He even has his own documentary on Amazon Prime simply entitled “Dunkleman.”

Ryan Seacrest Poses with ‘Idol’s Original Judges in New Pic

While Brian Dunkleman has pursued a career as a comic, Ryan Seacrest seems right at home after 20 seasons of hosting “American Idol.” And while he has clearly established close personal friendships with the show’s current judges, Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie,” the singing show star recently reunited with “American Idol’s” original panel of judges in a new photo.

The photo shows former judges Randy Jackson, who’s drawn a lot of attention from the singing show’s fans regarding potential health issues, and Paula Abdul. Ryan Seacrest, who we see sandwiched between Abdul and Season 1 runner-up Justin Guarini, shared the photo on Twitter. There the “American Idol” host wrote, “Just like old times. Feels good to have the [‘American Idol’] family back together.”

The only individual missing from Seacrest’s original “family” pic is “American Idol” former judge, Simon Cowell, who didn’t make it to the series’ reunion event.