"I get a phone call over speaker and it was my mom bawling her eyes out," the 39-year-old Vanderpump Rules star recalled, adding that he was driving with now-fiancée Brittany Cartwright. "She's, like, 'Your father is dead.' I pulled the car over. I collapsed."
He continued, "I didn't know how to deal. I was on the way to see him the next day. I fell on the ground in the middle of the highway. I threw my phone on the highway. I was convulsing and everything. I was freaking out. I didn't know what to do. My life flashed. My best friend died."
Taylor said he "was in a deep rut" during the days and weeks that followed, admitting that "I was literally going to lock myself in a room and do enough drugs to hurt myself."
The reality star said that Cartwright, who is 10 years his junior, convinced him to deal with his pain in a safer way, including getting a medical marijuana card in hopes the drug would help him calm down.
"Brittany was, like, 'I understand where you're coming from. I can't imagine what you're going through, but can you try something?'" he said. "I tried it and it changed my life. I said, 'You know what? I'm not going to hurt myself. I'm not going to drink. I'm going to flip this around and make my dad proud. I'm going to go to the gym. We're going to start some businesses. We're going to move up.'"
Taylor said he's maintained his lifestyle of self improvement, which includes attending monthly premarital counseling meetings with Cartwright. The couple made headlines prior to their engagement in June when Taylor cheated on Cartwright with Vanderpump alum Faith Stowers during season 6.
Cartwright has spoken about how she was able to forgive him, telling Us Weekly that she sees the efforts he's made into improving their relationship as an encouraging sign.0comments
"I see him every single day making efforts and he's completely changed the way he treats me, the way he talks to me, the way he listens to me. Every single thing about our relationship is better," she told Us Weekly in November. "I know how much he's wanting the wedding and how much he's wanting to marry me, how much effort he's putting into the wedding, just as much as me. I don't know, whenever you know somebody as well as I know Jax, you can just tell."
Vanderpump Rules airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.