Giancarlo Esposito Said He Was So Broke Before "Breaking Bad," He Considered Being Murdered To Help His Kids Financially

    "The light at the end of the tunnel was 'Breaking Bad.'"

    Content Warning: Discussion of suicidal ideation.

    Giancarlo Esposito revealed he was so broke before landing Breaking Bad that he considered arranging his murder so his life insurance money would financially protect his kids.

    Giancarlo on the red carpet wearing a pinstripe suit and fedora on the red carpet

    Today, you might know him as one of the most familiar faces on television, but his acting career started long before his iconic TV villain roles.

    Jesse Pinkman, Walter White, and Gustavo Fring in a lab in a scene from Breaking Bad

    Giancarlo's been acting for 45 years and has starred in classics from the late '80s and early '90s, such as Spike Lee's School Daze, Do the Right Thing, Mo' Better Blues, and Malcolm X. Yet, it wasn't these movie roles that skyrocketed him to the consistent career we see today on every other network.

    Everybody knows Giancarlo from his role as Gus Fring in AMC's Breaking Bad and its prequel series Better Call Saul.

    Giancarlo Esposito in a dark suit in Better Call Saul

    Following Gus, it seemed like Giancarlo started popping up everywhere in iconic TV roles like Amazon Prime's The Boys, Disney+'s The Mandalorian, and most recently, Netflix's The Gentlemen.

    But while promoting his new AMC drama series Parish, Giancarlo revealed that he once considered the worst because of financial trouble right before his breakout role in Breaking Bad.

    Giancarlo Esposito sitting engaged in a discussion at an event

    On an episode of SiriusXM's Jim & Sam, Giancarlo explained the drastic scenarios he considered to get out of near bankruptcy around 2008. "My way out in my brain was: 'Hey, do you get life insurance if someone commits suicide? Do they get the bread?'" he said.

    Giancarlo Esposito on a SiriusXM show

    He was married to Joy McManigal, and they have four daughters together. After they divorced in 2005, he filed for bankruptcy, and this is when he "thought of self-annihilation."

    Giancarlo Esposito in a studio wearing a hat and sitting in front of a microphone

    "My wife had no idea why I was asking this stuff. I started scheming. If I got somebody to knock me off, death by misadventure, [my children] would get the insurance."

    Giancarlo Esposito in a dark suit sitting at a desk, with a blurred cityscape background

    "I had four kids. I wanted them to have a life. It was a hard moment in time. I literally thought of self-annihilation so they could survive. That's how low I was," he added.

    Closeup of Giancarlo Esposito

    While Giancarlo admitted to pondering these options, he realized they were not viable if he wasn't physically around for his children. "That was the first inkling that there was a way out, but I wouldn't be here to be available to my kids," he said.

    Closeup of Giancarlo Esposito

    "Then I started to think that's not viable because the pain I would cause them would be lifelong, and there'd be lifelong trauma that would just extend the generational trauma I'm trying to move away from. The light at the end of the tunnel was Breaking Bad."

    Giancarlo Esposito posing at a media event with his arms open

    Twenty-six episodes of Breaking Bad and 38 episodes of Better Call Saul featured Giancarlo as Gus Fring. The original series received 92 awards, including Emmys, Golden Globes, SAG Awards, and Critics' Choice.

    Two actors portraying detectives in suits standing in a parking garage for a film scene

    Watch Giancarlo's full interview on Jim & Sam.

    Parish is streaming on AMC+.

    The Gentlemen is streaming on Netflix.

    The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at The Trevor Project, which provides help and suicide-prevention resources for LGBTQ youth, is 1-866-488-7386.