Jason Castro, who gained fame after placing fourth on season seven of American Idol, opens up publicly for the first time about a deep, dark secret that nearly destroyed his marriage in a new White Chair series film released today on iamsecond.com.
This is Castro's second film with I Am Second, having been one of the first individuals featured on the website when it launched in December 2008. In this new film, Castro speaks transparently about his addiction with pornography and the wreckage it created in his life.
"Having a secret just eats at you like so much. You feel like a liar the whole time," said Castro.
While taping American Idol kept him busy, a sense of loneliness set in after, and Castro ran toward porn to fill the void. What began as a small, every-now-and-then practice quickly grew into a daily dependency.
"By the time I was on tour, I was looking at stuff every day, multiple times a day," Castro said. "This addiction was really bothering me. It was bringing me down. It was keeping me depressed. I wasn't sleeping at night. I would stay up all night out of shame and then go back to my thing. The addictive cycle ... I couldn't stop."
Though Castro had a serious girlfriend at the time, his addiction manifested itself beyond the computer screen into real life when he slept with someone else on tour. "I found myself doing something I'd never come close to with my girlfriend, my future wife. We had barely kissed and here I had slept with somebody I barely knew," he said.
Castro hid the secret from his then-fiancé for four months before he finally confessed. The couple called off their engagement, but four months later reconciled. They married Jan. 2, 2010.
His wife told him if he ever looked at porn again, they would divorce, but Castro eventually discovered the pull of his vice was too powerful.
"I would wake up every morning and my heart would start racing, and I would want to go look at porn. Look at porn and then go start the day. Then be the happy, good husband," Castro said.
For reasons unbeknown to his wife, the couple began to grow apart. Eight months into marriage, they were invited to a 12-step support group at church.
Hearing the raw stories of others' struggles filled Castro with an overwhelming sense of hope that he wasn't alone. After a couple of months of attending, he finally confessed in front of the group and his wife about his addiction. But it wasn't until one night when Castro finally disclosed everything to his wife and revealed his true self, that he found healing.
"That is when everything started to change, because I started feeling freer," Castro said. "I always believed in God but didn't really trust Him with everything. I thought this thing was too dirty, too dark to share with anybody, but once I trusted Him, we started the road of living a godly life, living in community and being known. It feels good to be known."
Castro eventually removed every outlet and potential hazard that might aid his temptation. Through accountability with friends and openness with his wife, he has found freedom from his addiction. Today, he and his wife have two children.
"This struggle might never go away. It's part of my flesh, but I've been able to overcome it really," said Castro. "This is the real miracle. That I'm able to have a family right now, married to my wife and a better relationship than either of us ever imagined."