The Tragedy of Stephen Colbert Just Gets Sadder and Sadder | 22 Words

We all know Stephen Colbert as a beloved TV host - but behind the scenes, his life has been far from rosy. Scroll on for all the hardships this talented man has faced over the years ...

Comedian and talk show host Stephen Colbert is a familiar face on our screens - chatting to many of our favorite stars.

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The star was a correspondent on The Daily Show before hosting his own spin-off, The Colbert Report.

And, of course...

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In 2015, Colbert replaced David Letterman as host of The Late Show.

There's no doubt the star has had a successful career...

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But it seems behind closed doors, his life has been marred with tragedy - stemming back as far as childhood.

It's safe to say Stephen Colbert had a difficult childhood.

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Including a huge tragedy that struck when he was just 10 years old.

Colbert lost a father and 2 brothers in 1974.

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They were 3 of the seventy-two victims of the Eastern Airlines flight 212 that crashed in Charlotte, N.C.

"For years, I sort of thought that was my secret name. That that loss was my name," he said.

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"I like the idea that you have a secret name. You have your name but then you have a secret name, and that's a name that no one can ever really pronounce because that's who you are. And there's a magic to your secret name. And that was my secret name, the loss of my father and my brothers."

The family tragedy impacted Colbert's whole childhood.

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"I was left alone a lot after Dad and the boys died. And it was just me and Mom for a long time."

"By her example am I not bitter. By her example. She was not. Broken, yes. Bitter, no."

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"You gotta learn to love the bomb. Boy, did I have a bomb when I was 10. That was quite an explosion. And I learned to love it."

​And Colbert found solace.

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"I read a book a day. Spent all of my allowance on books. Every birthday, confirmation, Christmas — books, please, stacks of books."

​The reason Colbert decided to go into comedy is so cute!

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"I think there's no doubt that I do what I do because I wanted to make her happy."

So sweet.

Colbert didn't properly deal with his own grief until college.

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"I didn't really feel the loss until I was in college. Then, ugh, then I was in bad shape. I went into college at about 185 pounds. By the end of my freshman year, I was 135. I was just green. I was just green, just so sad about it."

"I finally had time to sort of, I suppose, be alone with the idea that they were gone."

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"It seemed like a long time at the time, but now at age 48 ... it seems like the blink of an eye. So, yeah, I got very sad about it."

But the star eventually found something that helped with his grief...

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Performing arts, of course!

"I was doing Stanislavski and Meisner, and I was sharing my pain with everyone around me."

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"It was therapy as much as it was anything."

"Obviously there's something defensive about it."

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"What you're doing is sipping little bits of arsenic so that you can't be poisoned by the rest of your discomfort. You're Rasputin-ing your way through the rest of your life."

He's gradually learned to deal with his grief over time.

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"Grief is its own thing. It's not like it's in me and I'm going to deal with it."

"It's a thing, and you have to be OK with its presence."

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"If you try to ignore it, it will be like a wolf at your door."

"I'm not bitter about what happened to me as a child, and my mother was instrumental in keeping me from being so."

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"She taught me to be grateful for my life regardless of what that entailed."

"What she taught me is that the deliverance God offers you from pain is not no pain — it's that the pain is actually a gift."

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"What's the option? God doesn't really give you another choice."

Colbert has also struggled with his faith over the years.

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"I had lost my faith in God, and to my own great grief that I was sort of convinced that I had been wrong all this time, that I'd been taught something that wasn't true," he explained.

But he then got a sign from God.

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"I was walking down the street and someone handed me ... a little green New Testament Proverbs and Psalms."

"I was absolutely immediately lightened."

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"And for the first time, I understood the real meaning of the phrase, 'It spoke to me.' It read off the page ... and I stood on that street corner in the cold and read the sermon. And my life has never been the same."

And his faith helped him when tragedy struck again.

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In 2013, Colbert lost his beloved mother.

He dedicated an emotional show to her.

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"When you watch this show, if you also like me, that's because of my mom."

"She had trained to be an actress when she was younger, and she would teach us how to do stage falls by pretending to faint on the kitchen floor. She was fun."

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"We were the light of her life, and she let us know it 'til the end."

But Colbert believes his past traumas have given him a gift.

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He knows how to help others cope during difficult times - which is why he's such a calming voice in the wake of political turmoil.

"Now there's no denying that we're still in the constant cycle of anger, and we're at an emotional 10 at all times."

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We're sure glad he's used his past to help out the public. We need him!