It’s hard to grapple with the fact that Chadwick Boseman is gone yet will always be with us as an ancestor – precisely the type of actions his Black Panther role showed him doing. Now that his presence is so openly missed, thoughts have started to wonder towards who knew what Chadwick was going through and if he had the help and love that he needed, since he decided to keep his diagnosis private.
The Hollywood Reporter has detailed some of the discussions that had been happening around Chadwick’s health. According to the magazine’s sources, “only a handful of non-family members knew that Boseman was sick, including producing partner Logan Coles, longtime agent Michael Greene, trainer Addison Henderson and 42 director Brian Helgeland — with varying degrees of knowledge about the severity of the actor’s condition.”
Many are shocked by the fact that apparently only a select few even knew that Chadwick had been ill. He kept the information private and was surrounded by his family during his last moments. We’ve now learned from Chadwick’s longtime agent that one of Chadwick’s main reasons for keeping his illness close to the vest, outside of being a private person anyway, was his mother.
“[She] always taught him not to have people fuss over him,” Greene told The Hollywood Reporter about Boseman’s mother, Carolyn. “He also felt in this business that people trip out about things, and he was a very, very private person.”
His trainer Addison Henderson was one of the few who’d seen Boseman struggle through role after role, training him for rigorous movies despite his cancer, and he shared that Boseman wasn’t going to let the disease stop him now that he had finally made it.
It was Boseman’s silent struggle that actor and co-star Clarke Peters regrets not understanding in retrospect, now that Boseman’s gone. The two starred on Spike Lee’s Netflix original movie Da 5 Bloods, in which Boseman played a character that had perished in war and whose remains they were going back to find.
Sitting down with an interview for Good Morning Britain, the British actor shared his story and his regrets.
“I have to say with a little bit of regret that I probably wasn’t the most altruistic in that environment, but hindsight teaches us a lot of things,” Peters said. “What I’m addressing is, basically, my wife asked what Chadwick was like. I was really excited to work with him. I said, ‘I think he’s a little bit precious.’ And she said, ‘Why?’ And I said, ‘Because he’s surrounded by people who are fawning over him.’ He has a Chinese practitioner, who is massaging his back when he walks off set. He has a makeup lady massaging his feet. His girlfriend is there holding his hand,” Peters recalled. “And I’m thinking maybe the Black Panther thing went to his head.”
Ultimately, Peters realizes now that the extra attention wasn’t because of some perceived celebrity – it came from people that were helping him to get through filming, despite his cancer diagnosis.
“I regret even having those thoughts because they were really looking after him,” Peters said while holding back tears.
See the video below.