07/17/2014 08:21 pm ET Updated Jul 17, 2014

Zach Braff Says His Parents Divorce Caused 'Life-Long Pain'

Slaven Vlasic via Getty Images

Zach Braff is an accomplished actor, writer and director, but despite his professional success, when asked about a pivotal moment that changed his life forever his answer was far from Hollywood.

In fact, the A-lister says it was his parents' divorce.

During a Reddit: Ask Me Anything session on Thursday, a fan asked the following question:

"In Garden State, your character says: 'It's really amazing how much of my life has been determined by a quarter-inch piece of plastic.' What has been the quarter-inch piece of plastic in your life?"

(For reference, the "quarter-inch piece of plastic" refers to a broken dishwasher latch in the film. Braff's character confesses that he pushed his mother one time when he was a kid, and because of the broken latch, she tripped over the open dishwasher door and was paralyzed. The act haunted him and changed his life forever.)

Responding about a pivotal moment in his own life, Braff said, "My parents divorce at a young age. I was shocked by it and it truly caused life-long pain that I'll always deal with."

Braff's parents divorced around the time he was in junior high school. In March 2014, he wrote a powerful essay for the New York Times in which he described that era of his life and how it pushed him into acting.

"I was a melancholic child. Worried, anxious. I never felt as if I belonged anywhere, as if I were a foreign exchange student living among the other kids, who seemed predestined to love sports. Add to that alienation the fact that my parents were going through a divorce, and I was truly treading water. But in that junior high school auditorium, I felt like I’d discovered a secret I didn’t even know was being whispered. There was a place where I might belong: It was the Theater, and I was sold."

Keep in touch! Check out HuffPost Divorce on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for our newsletter here.


Zach Braff and Donald Faison Define Guy Love
Subscribe to the Lifestyle email.
Life hacks and juicy stories to get you through the week.