Jared Padalecki opened up about his three-week break from work at the ATX Television Festival’s Gilmore Girls reunion panel, saying he just needed to “unplug.”

Jared Padalecki Attends Gilmore Girls Reunion After Taking Break

In mid-May, Padalecki abruptly canceled his appearances at fan conventions JIBCON and AHBL6, writing on Twitter, “I am in desperate and urgent need of my family. I am sorry to tell you this but I must head home.”

Padalecki, who has a legion of fans from Gilmore Girls and his show Supernatural, gave little reason for his cancelations, but in March, the actor revealed that he had struggled with depression in the past. In fact, Padalecki was first diagnosed with depression during the third season of Supernatural. At the same time, Padalecki launched a t-shirt campaign to benefit To Write Love on Her Arms, an organization that helps those struggling with mental illness, depression, addiction and/or suicidal thoughts. His design featured a photo of the actor with the words “Always Keep Fighting.” He tweeted using that same slogan just before announcing his need to return home, asking his fans for support. “I need all of the love I can get right now. Please please give me a few seconds of your time and write me. #AlwaysKeepFighting,” he wrote on May 16.

Padalecki’s manager released a statement saying that the actor was “suffering from exhaustion” and thanking fans for their understanding and support. “Jared has pushed himself to his limits and is suffering from exhaustion. His SPN family is so important to him, and he asks that they Always Keep Fighting. At this time he needs to be home with his family. He’s doing better already and is excited about shooting Supernatural season 11 this July. For now he’s taking a break, but is so appreciative of his fans, and sees and feels their love and support,” read the statement. After taking almost a month off from appearances and social media, Padalecki returned last week just in time for the highly anticipated Gilmore Girls panel on Saturday, June 6, at the ATX Television Festival. Padalecki got his start on the show, playing Rory’s first boyfriend, Dean.

At the Festival, the actor opened up a bit about his time off, telling reporters he disconnected from technology to spend quality time with his family, which includes wife Genevieve Padalecki and their two sons, Shepherd and Thomas.

“This summer, I just got off a couple-week stint where I literally turned my phone off and spent time with my family. Like no e-mail, no text, no phone. It’s amazing and I’ve never done it. Everybody needs to do it,” he told E! News.

Padalecki expanded on his decision to take a break from work in another interview, saying, “I was 17 years old when I moved to Los Angeles, and I just kind of got into a habit…. Everything was like, work, work, work, work, do, do, do, do.”

Padalecki added that he needed to have some time to “unplug,” adding that the experience was “the best thing I’ve ever done.”

“You find out you’re finite. And for a guy like me who’s really Type A, put me to work, give me more, do more! It’s difficult to admit that you’re a finite individual, right? But it was humbling, and I’m very proud I got to do it,” he added.

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