'This Is Us' Star Milo Ventimiglia Says He Was Unemployed for a Year Following 'Heroes'

Even the greatest actors go through times of trouble. Milo Ventimiglia revealed in an interview promoting his movie new Second Act that he was unemployed for an "entire calendar year" in his early 30s immediately following his years on Heroes.

“I’ve had moments where I’ve had to pick myself up. In my early 30s, I couldn’t get hired. I really couldn’t,” he told Access this week. “I did not work for one calendar year, one entire year, I couldn’t get a job."

"I was really having to re-evaluate what I was going to be doing because, you know, it’s a profession. You need to feed yourself and clothe yourself and have a roof over your head," the 41-year-old This Is Us and Gilmore Girls star continued. "I was starting to see those things minimize.”

When asked if he ever thought about quitting in the face of frustration, he said, "Absolutely," and that he was even "pretty close" to moving on to plan B, which included a European passport and one heck of a haircut.

"I was going to cash in and move to Italy on my European passport and find a farm to work on and buzz my head and grow a beard and ride a motorcycle and live a quiet life," he admitted. But before that could happen, he got a job, and then another, and then another. His film Static came out in 2012, followed by Kiss of the Damned and That's My Boy.

Once he got the ball rolling again, he made it a point to stay busy. "At that point, I look at it like I'm a shark that just has to keep swimming or I will die," he said. "If I stop for a moment to understand where I am or how I'm here or what I've done to get here — No, just be here. Just be here in this exact moment that you're in right now because nothing else matters."

In Second Act, Ventimiglia stars opposite Jennifer Lopez, who plays Maya, a street-smart New Yorker who gets passed over for a promotion at a big-box retail store after 15 years of service in favor of a candidate with a college degree.

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Ventimiglia plays Maya's boyfriend, Trey, something Lopez told PEOPLE she wouldn't have any other way. "I'm a huge fan of This Is Us. [Ventimiglia] brings such depth to everything he does, and he was our first and only choice for Trey. I loved every second working with him. Besides being an incredible actor, he's a great person," she said.

Second Act will hit theaters on Dec. 21.