John Kasich didn't speak to younger brother with mental illness for 19 years

John Kasich Didn't Speak To Younger Brother With Mental Illness For 19 Years

Mental illness is a subject that Ohio Gov. John Kasich frequently mentions on the GOP presidential campaign trail.

He knows it well. Out of the limelight is his brother, Richard, who has struggled for decades with bipolar disorder, and to whom John did not speak for 19 years.

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The two have reconciled, but they are not close, says Richard. "He doesn't have much to do with me, and I don't have much to say about him," he told The New York Times in his first extended interview with a reporter.

Image: Inside Edition

Richard, 59, lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and receives disability benefits. He has worked as a dishwasher at Wendy's and as a truck loader for the U.S. Postal Service.

The rift occurred in 1987 when their parents were killed by a drunken driver. Their will put John in charge of the sons' share of their estate, possibly because they were concerned about Richard's mental status.

John Kasich through his career:

John Kasich through his career
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John Kasich didn't speak to younger brother with mental illness for 19 years
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Former Ohio congressman John Kasich attends the Republican National Convention at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, Wednesday, September 3, 2008. (Photo by Harry E. Walker/MCT/MCT via Getty Images)
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John Kasich, governor of Ohio, speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony for the Cleveland Medical Mart and Convention Center in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on Friday, Jan. 14, 2011. The Cleveland Medical Mart and Convention Center will include a 100,000 square foot medical mart and an adjoining convention center with 230,000 square feet of exhibit hall space. The facility is expected to open in September 2013. Photographer: David Maxwell/Bloomberg via Getty Images
COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 30: Ohio Governor John Kasich works long hours with staff on his new budget proposal at his office, in the Ohio State House office, Columbus, Ohio, Wednesday, March 30, 2011. Newly elected republican Ohio Governor John Kasich is working toward to balancing an Ohio budget in deficit through a budget proposal with extensive budget cuts, spending reform, and changes in labor laws, including restrictions on collective bargaining. (Photo by Melina Mara/ The Washington Post via Getty Images)
US Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (2nd L) waves alongside Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman (L) and Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) during a campaign stop at Tom's Ice Cream Bowl in Zanesville, Ohio, on August 14, 2012. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)
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COLUMBUS, OHIO - JULY 21: Ohio Governor John Kasich gives his speech announcing his 2016 Presidential candidacy at the Ohio Student Union, at The Ohio State University on July 21, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio. Kasich became the 16th candidate to officially enter the race for the Republican presidential nomination. (Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images)
CONCORD, NH - FEBRUARY 09: Republican presidential candidate Ohio Governor John Kasich waves to the crowd after speaking at a campaign gathering with supporters upon placing second place in the New Hampshire republican primary on February 9, 2016 in Concord, New Hampshire. Kasich lost the Republican primary to Donald Trump, though he upset fellow Republican governors Chris Christie and former Governor Jeb Bush. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Richard challenged the will and gained his share, part of which he used to buy a house. John, he says, stopped speaking to him after he sued over the inheritance. John Kasich declined to be interviewed by The Times about his brother, the paper said.

"We love Rick deeply and have shared the struggles that his disease brings with it," the Kasich campaign said in a statement. "As families with a loved one living with mental illness know, you take it one day at a time and some days are better than others.

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"In the process, we have all become sensitive to and supportive of the needs of hose living with this disease. Among the ways we support him is by working hard to protect his privacy, and we hope others respect that also."

John Kasich on the campaign trail:

John Kasich on the campaign trail
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John Kasich didn't speak to younger brother with mental illness for 19 years
MILFORD, NH - SEPTEMBER 7: Republican presidential candidate John Kasich greets supporters at the Labor Day parade on September 7, 2015 in Milford, New Hampshire. Kasich, buoyed by what observers called a strong performance in the first GOP debate, has emerged as a first tier presidential candidate with voters in New Hampshire, the nation's first primary state. (Photo by Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images)

Richard had a breakdown in 1975, he said, while attending Penn State. He had planned to become an attorney, but after that incident "I knew I was not going to be a lawyer anymore."

He became a born-again Christian, which he credits with helping him to feel stabilized. He currently takes Abilify, an antipsychotic drug used to treat a variety of disorders including schizophrenia and Tourette syndrome.

"I got saved," he said. "It seemed to help."

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