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‘Breaking Bad’ star contemplated death to collect life insurance for his family before landing iconic TV role

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Giancarlo Esposito was struggling financially before he landed the role of a lifetime on “Breaking Bad.”

Esposito, who portrayed Gus Fring on the hit AMC drama, reached such a low point in life in 2008 he considered arranging his own murder so his family could benefit from a life insurance policy. 

“My way out in my brain was, ‘Hey, do you get life insurance if someone commits suicide? Do they get the bread?’” he said during an appearance on SiriusXM’s Jim & Sam show. “My wife said, ‘Well that’s kind of tricky’ … She had no idea why I was asking her this stuff.

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“Breaking Bad” star Giancarlo Esposito nearly took drastic measures to support his family before finding fame on TV. (Getty Images)

“I just started scheming. If I got somebody to knock me off, death through misadventure, they would get the insurance. 

“I had four kids. I wanted them to have a life. Like, it was a hard moment in time. I literally thought of self-annihilation so that they could survive. That’s how low I was.”

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Despite facing bankruptcy and enduring mental anguish, the idea of hurting his family was too much to bear.

Breaking Bad star Giancarlo Esposito sports blue suit at fast food counter

Giancarlo Esposito portrayed drug kingpin Gus Fring on the show. (Getty Images)

“That was the first inkling that there was a way out, but I wouldn’t be here to be available to it or to be a part of it or to be there for my kids,” Esposito said. 

“Then I started to think that’s not viable because the pain I would cause them would be lifelong, and lifelong trauma that would just extend the generational trauma with which I’m trying to move away from. The light at the end of the tunnel was ‘Breaking Bad.’”

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Esposito’s role as the corrupt drug kingpin earned him an Emmy nomination for outstanding supporting actor in 2012 and opened doors to new career opportunities.

Breaking Bad stars Bryan Cranston and Giancarlo Esposito smile at movie theater.

“Breaking Bad” debuted in 2008 with Bryan Cranston starring as a chemistry teacher turned drug dealer, Walter White. (Getty Images)

“Breaking Bad” premiered in 2008, starring Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn. The drug drama was regularly nominated for awards and earned 16 Emmys before it ended its run in 2013. 

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Esposito went on to star in “The Mandalorian,” “The Boys,” “Revolution” and “Once Upon A Time.” He earned two Emmy nominations for his performance in the “Breaking Bad” spinoff, “Better Call Saul.”


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