Chris Rock said that he attends therapy seven hours each week and opened up about what he’s learned in those sessions when it comes to his childhood and who he is today.
In a wide-ranging interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the comedian said that a friend suggested he attend therapy, believing he might have Asperger’s syndrome. But after undergoing a series of tests earlier this year, Rock was diagnosed by doctors with nonverbal learning disorder, which means he has a hard time understanding non-verbal signals and often takes people too literally.
The Asperger / Autism Network defines NVLD as an “Imbalance in thinking skills — automatic processing, with [an] impaired appreciation of the big picture.”
In his interview, Rock said that 80 percent of communication is nonverbal, which poses incredible problems for him.
“All I understand are the words,” he stated. “By the way, all of those things are really great for writing jokes, they’re just not great for one-on-one relationships.”
Rock also explained that his condition makes it difficult for him to take criticism.
“I’d always just chalked it up to being famous,” said the “Fargo” actor about feedback he’d receive. “Anytime someone would respond to me in a negative way, I’d think, ‘Whatever, they’re responding to something that has to do with who they think I am.’ Now I’m realizing it was me. A lot of it was me.”
Rock sharing details about his personal life is nothing new. In fact, he’s made a successful career out of it, mixing self-deprecation, seemingly endless wit, and pop culture commentary in his stand-up routines.
He first talked about attending therapy in his 2018 comedy special “Chris Rock: Tamborine,” while also admitting to pornography addiction and cheating on his now-ex-wife.
Although Rock didn’t talk about having nonverbal learning disorder then, he said pornography made it difficult for him in social situations.
“When you watch too much porn, you know what happens? Here’s what happens: You become sexually autistic. You develop sexual autism. You have a hard time with eye contact and verbal cues,” he explained in his “Tamborine” special.
In his Hollywood Reporter Interview, Rock said he also began looking into his childhood during therapy, and despite making his youth a subject of his comedy and sitcom “Everybody Hates Chris,” he’s been running from trauma he experienced.
“I thought I was actually dealing with it, and the reality is I never dealt with it,” he admitted. “The reality was the pain and the fear that that brought me, I was experiencing it every day.”