Rich said: “Being taller is something I wanted since childhood.”
The actor underwent surgery – known as bilateral femur lengthening – which broke both his femurs, and had metal rods placed inside with magnets in them which moved the bones 1mm apart each day.
He paid for the £85,000 ($100,0000) procedure and after three months of agony, he reached his target height of 5ft8in.
The actor then underwent three more months of painful physiotherapy before he could finally walk again.
Rich, who is single, considers the extra height an “investment” in his future and has been on 30-40 percent more dates since.
“I never made the basketball team as a kid because of my height, even though I was a good player – and as an adult I was always the shortest in the audition room,” he said.
“Sometimes I knew I was the better actor but didn’t get the role because of my height and it started to make me frustrated. It was painful and expensive but I knew if I didn’t change the game I would be looking at another 12 years of the same. I never asked to be tall – just average height so it wouldn’t come up in conversation any more. The first time I stood up I literally cried as I looked at myself in the mirror. to go through it again but I don’t regret doing it.”
In October 2020, when Hollywood was ‘shut down’ due to the pandemic, Rich began researching limb lengthening procedures online. He spotted a YouTube account run by Victor Egonu, called cyborg4life, who had had a similar surgery himself. They spoke on the phone and discussed doing a documentary about Rich’s limb lengthening surgery.
He contacted Paley Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida – one of the top destinations in the world for the procedure – and had the surgery on April 19.
“The pain waking up after the surgery was one of the worst things I’ve ever experienced – even with morphine and Valium,” Rich said. He describes it as “80 days of hell” as he was in a wheelchair throughout, unable to do anything except sit at home for three months.
The actor initially got back on his feet in a swimming pool, then using a walker and crutches. Rich is now able to walk unaided but still has to do exercise and physio to build up strength.
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