“I was unwanted”— ‘Seinfeld’ actor Michael Richards reveals the truth about his birth, addresses reasons behind anger issues

Los Angeles Premiere Of Netflix
Michael Richards at the Los Angeles Premiere Of Netflix's "UNFROSTED" (Image via Amy Sussman/Getty Image)

Michael Richards, who played Cosmo Kramer on the hit sitcom Seinfeld, opened up about his birth and how that eventually led to his anger issues. The 74-year-old actor got candid about his traumas in an exclusive with PEOPLE published on Saturday, May 25, 2024.

Disclaimer: The article has mentions of s*xual assault. Reader discretion is advised.

The actor, currently awaiting his autobiography, Entrances and Exits, told the publication he was lied to about who his father was his entire childhood. He revealed he was a product of his mother's s*xual assault, and that left a profound mark on him:

"I had to come to terms with knowing I was unwanted or that my mother wanted to get rid of me," he told the publication.

Richards added that he had been angry for a long time. He continued:

"It is definitely something that I have had to look into over the years to discover how my anger arises out of a feeling of inferiority. I have a temper, and it stems from that unwantedness, not being acceptable, not being understood, not being good enough to be liked or even loved."

Michael Richards' insecurities prevented him from accepting an offer of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Michael Richards revealed that his mother initially told him his father was killed in the war. But as he grew up and began questioning, she told him he died in a car crash. Richards even tried to track down a man who he thought was his father after he got his mother to reveal he was alive.

Per Entertainment Weekly, Michael Richards hired a private investigator to locate the man, but it was obvious he wasn't his father. After pressuring his mother for the truth, she confessed that he was a product of her s*xual assault.

She also admitted she wanted to get an abortion but couldn't as it was illegal at the time (1948), adding that she initially put him up for adoption. Richards told the publication that she later changed her mind and raised him as a single mother.

The actor revealed his last name, Richards, is actually made up, and that left him devastated.

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Elaborating on his feelings of "inferiority" and "unwantedness," Michael Richards explained, led him to turn down several opportunities, including an offer of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and two opportunities to host Saturday Night Live. He stated it was because "(He) didn’t feel good enough."

The insecurity carried over to the sets of Seinfeld as well. Richards admitted that he was never "satisfied" with his performance, adding that he felt he could "always do better." He confessed:

"To accept myself even when my audiences were loving me and the awards, accolades and all the offers were coming in — it felt almost impossible sometimes, way too overwhelming."

He continued:

"I'd think, 'I don’t like myself as much as they like me. They wouldn’t like me if they knew the real me, the person behind the character that they’re laughing at."

Michael Richards' memoir, Entrances and Exits, is scheduled to hit the shelves on June 4, 2024, and is available for pre-order online.

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