Admitting he went overboard with trainers, weights and controlling his diet, the actor recalled when he was 24 being hit with brutal stomach pain. On top of that, he couldn't keep any food down.
This was while the "Everybody Hates Chris" and "Walking Dead" alum was appearing on both "Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders" and filming the movie "Detroit," so he was already stretched pretty thin.
"I was really pushing my body to the limit," Williams recalled, saying that by December, "everything shut down." He wasn't even able to keep down the colonoscopy prep given to him by his doctor.
At the hospital, he was immediately diagnosed with Crohn's disease, and amid a massive flare-up with scar tissue clogging up his bowels. He had to undergo emergency surgery to remove six inches of lower intestine.
But even that didn't resolve the issue, as his intestines weren't strong enough to heal properly. Instead, he suffered a perforation, which resulted in him going septic and nearly dying as he was rushed back into surgery.
"The last thought I had was, 'Holy s---, this could be it,'" he remembered thinking. "'If this is it, I'm not happy. I worked a lot. I did a lot of things. I didn't enjoy any of this. This can't be it.'"
From a starting weight of 130 pounds, the months of recovery and intravenous feeding left him at only 105 pounds and unable to stand on his own.
As a result, though, he's made a positive change in his life and learned how to find a better balance. "I had to learn how to stop making a dramatic change happen really quickly and learn how to have a better relationship with my body," he said.
He's not making this change alone, either, as the actor revealed that his brother Tyrel has also been diagnosed with the incurable disease. He now focuses with both of his brothers on healthy eating and living.
"The important thing for me, and those like me, to remember is that longevity is a big part of the game," he shared. "If you can't [stay strong] and be healthy, there really is no point."
It's also pushed him into seeking more "purpose-driven" work as an actor, which is what led him to his critically-acclaimed role on "Abbott Elementary."
He feels a connection to his character Gregory Eddie, who Williams describes as someone who "wants to be in this position of power 'cause he feels like that's what he needs to be successful."
Gregory's journey is finding out that this blind ambition is not his path, which parallels the journey Williams feels his life has taken him on.
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