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Matthew Morrison's Glee Role Left Him With A Painful Medical Condition

Will Schuester had some genuinely weird behavior on "Glee," whether he was planting illicit substances in a student's locker or grinding onstage with the teenage members of the glee club. Apparently, actor Matthew Morrison experienced a lot of stress just playing the character.

Chatting with his former co-stars Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz on their recap podcast "And That's What You Really Missed," Morrison revealed that he experienced actual health concerns while shooting "Glee" (via People). As he told the duo, "I was so stressed, I broke into the craziest psoriasis."

"Glee" infamously grew into an overnight success and made the cast into superstars ... and Morrison says all of this attention and pressure is exactly what caused his psoriasis. "You have all these news feeds coming out, like, bashing the way you're playing your character or people trying to tear you down," he recalled. "All of this had a huge impact on my life. "[I had] some super high highs, but also some really devastating lows. Our bodies are not designed to go through that kind of pressure."

Stress-related psoriasis made Matthew Morrison's time on Glee very difficult

Matthew Morrison went on to tell Jenna Ushkowitz and Kevin McHale that he's not quite sure why he developed psoriasis as a result of his "Glee"-related stress, but it sounds like it was incredibly painful and difficult. "I think it was just everything building up and, for me that was just the physical manifestation of what I was feeling inside," he said. "The psoriasis was everywhere on my body but my face was okay. But then it slowly started coming to my ears and eyelids. So painful, and gosh, it makes me feel — like, get emotional."

It wasn't just challenging for Morrison himself — it was also an issue for the person who did the actor's makeup. According to Morrison, the unnamed makeup artist was able to cover up the psoriasis well enough, but when she removed it at the end of the day, it frequently took some of Morrison's own skin off as well. This sounds pretty horrible, but even still, Morrison said that he still cherishes his time on "Glee," despite the fact that it caused him to develop actual health problems. "In a nutshell, I loved the experience and I appreciated it for what it was, but it was really challenging and it was hard to put our bodies through 16 hours a day and then all the other stuff we had to do on top of it," he clarified.

Matthew Morrison had a tough time on Glee, even though it was the opportunity of a lifetime

When "Glee" premiered in 2009, the pilot catapulted the young actors (and Matthew Morrison) to superstardom nearly overnight. It was also a series marked by tragedies. Cory Monteith died of an overdose while working on the show in 2013 (and an episode was ultimately made in his honor). After the show concluded, stars Mark Salling and Naya Rivera both passed away amidst upsetting circumstances — Salling in 2018 and Rivera in 2020. 

All of this is to say that "And That's What You Really Missed" is an unflinching look at a super-popular series, and Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz don't shy away from discussing the highest highs and lowest lows of "Glee." In fact, the podcast is a fascinating look into the entire process, because McHale and Ushkowitz know that they owe their livelihoods to the series. Morrison feels similarly. As he said to them in his episode, it was both the best and worst of times: "And not, like, 'woe is me, because it was an amazing opportunity, but we were all there, it was like a war."

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).