Mark Salling ‘knew he had nothing to come back to’ after prison

Mark Salling feared the aftermath of his jail sentence. The 35-year-old actor, who took his own life nearly one month before his sentencing date for child pornography possession, was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to bounce back after serving time behind bars.

“Mark knew he would have nothing to come back to after he went to prison,” a source close to the Glee alum exclusively told Us Weekly. “His acting career was beyond over.”

The late Texas native, whose body was found near a Los Angeles riverbed on Tuesday, January 30, was arrested in October 2015 and agreed to a guilty plea deal with prosecutors in October 2017. Salling consented to four to seven years in jail, registering as a sex offender after his release and staying at least 100 feet away from schools, parks, public swimming pools, playgrounds and video arcade venues. He was set to appear in court for sentencing on March 7.

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Mark Salling through his career
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Mark Salling through his career
GLEE: Puck (Mark Salling, L) tries to regain Finn's (Cory Monteith, R) friendship in 'Sectionals,' the fall finale episode of GLEE airing Wednesday, Dec. 9 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
GLEE: Will (Matthew Morrison, R) introduces Puck (Mark Salling, L) and Matt (Dijon Talton, C) as the new members of McKinley High's Glee Club in the 'Preggers' episode of GLEE airing Wednesday, Sept. 23 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
U.S. actor Mark Salling arrives at the Entertainment Tonight Emmy Party in Los Angeles, California, U.S. September 19, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Redmond/File Photo
GARDEN CITY, NY - NOVEMBER 02: (L-R) Actors Jenna Ushkowitz, Dianna Agron, Cory Monteith, Chris Colfer, Amber Riley, Lea Michele, Kevin McHale and Mark Salling promote 'Glee: The Musical Vol. 1' at the Roosevelt Field Mall on November 2, 2009 in Garden City, New York. (Photo by Steven A Henry/FilmMagic)
Actor Mark Salling from the television show 'Glee' arrives at the 2010 MTV Movie Awards in Los Angeles, June 6, 2010. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
GLEE: Quinn (Dianna Agron, L) and Puck (Mark Salling, R) work at the Glee Club's bake sale in the 'Wheels' episode of GLEE airing Wednesday, Nov. 11 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
GLEE: Mark Salling as Puck on the sixth and final season of GLEE premiering with a special two-hour event Friday, Jan. 9, 2015 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD - SEPTEMBER 07: Actor Mark Salling arrives at the premiere of 20th Century Fox's 'Glee' Season 2 held at Paramount Studios on September 7, 2010 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
GLEE: Dianna Agron (L) and Mark Salling in the 'New Directions' episode of GLEE airing Tuesday, March 25, 2014 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 13: Mark Salling attends The Paley Center for Media's 32nd annual PALEYFEST LA - 'Glee' at Dolby Theatre on March 13, 2015 in Hollywood, California.(Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)
LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 31: Actor Mark Salling arrives at the New Year's Eve celebration at The Act at The Palazzo on December 31, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 13: Actos Chris Colfer, Amber Riley and Mark Salling on stage at The Paley Center For Media's 32nd Annual PALEYFEST LA - 'Glee' at Dolby Theatre on March 13, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 17: Mark Salling arrives at the Viper Room Re-Launch Party With X Ambassadors And Zen Freeman at Viper Room on November 17, 2015 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 07: Actor Mark Salling attends the celebrity basketball game to kick off the 2015 Nike 3ON3 basketball tournament at L.A. LIVE on August 7, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)
Cast member Mark Salling attends the the 100th episode celebration of GLEE in West Hollywood, California March 18, 2014. REUTERS/Phil McCarten (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
GLEE: (L-R) Chord Overstreet, Lea Michele and Mark Salling. McKinley High alumnae's perform in the second part of the special two-hour 'Loser Like Me/Homecoming' Season Premiere episode of GLEE on Friday, Jan. 9, 2015 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 13: Actors Mark Salling and Heather Morris on stage at The Paley Center For Media's 32nd Annual PALEYFEST LA - 'Glee' at Dolby Theatre on March 13, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 07: Actor Mark Salling attends the celebrity basketball game to kick off the 2015 Nike 3ON3 basketball tournament at L.A. LIVE on August 7, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 03: Mark Salling arrives for a court appearance at United States Courthouse - Central District of California on June 3, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. Salling is turning himself in to federal authorities and is scheduled to be arraigned on two charges of child pornography. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 17: Mark Salling arrives at the Viper Room Re-Launch Party With X Ambassadors And Zen Freeman at Viper Room on November 17, 2015 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic)
GLEE: Puck (Mark Salling, L) tries to get Quinn's (Dianna Agron, R) attention in 'Audition,' the season premiere episode of GLEE airing Tuesday, Sept. 21 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. A(Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 03: Mark Salling arrives for a court appearance at United States Courthouse - Central District of California on June 3, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. Salling is turning himself in to federal authorities and is scheduled to be arraigned on two charges of child pornography. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA - JUNE 17: Actor Mark Salling attends the Tinder Plus Launch Party featuring Jason Derulo and ZEDD at Hangar 8 Santa Monica at Barker Hangar on June 17, 2015 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Tinder)
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One of Salling’s former friends exclusively told Us that the Fox star was not in a healthy state of mind before his apparent suicide. “He was in a dark place. He was very lonely,” the insider revealed. “He was going to prison soon. Whoever was in his life pretty much cut him off … There were certain people he would talk to here and there but he lost all his true friendships.”

Meanwhile, Salling’s neighbors in Los Angeles’ Sunland-Tujunga community exclusively told Us on Tuesday that he kept a low profile, never hosted parties or played loud music, and many residents didn’t even know that he still lived on the street after his arrest.

One woman told Us that Salling’s child pornography possession charges “made for not the most pleasant living experience considering there are kids who live nearby.”

Salling’s Glee costars and crew members have also reacted to the news of his death. “Sad and very tragic,” Jane Lynch, who played gym coach Sue Sylvester on the Fox hit, told TMZ on Tuesday, noting that she will remember Salling “as the guy who made that really sweet video in the beginning of Glee when he was so happy to be a part of this group. It’s tragic and I’m brokenhearted over it.”

Matthew Morrison, who played teacher Will Schuester, shared a photo of himself posing alongside Salling and the late Cory Monteith, who died in July 2013 of a drug overdose.

“Today we lost another #Glee cast member,” producer Tim Davis tweeted. “Yes he committed crimes against children. But #MarkSalling was a broken man, no doubt an abuse victim himself. I loved Mark, and am sad when I consider the devastation of his parents. PLEASE withhold your cruel comments.”

If you or someone you know is experiencing emotional distress or contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

 

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