The Real Story Behind The Suicide Of Jeremy Delle, The Teen Who Inspired Pearl Jam's 'Jeremy'

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Who Is Jermey Delle? Details Teen Committed Suicide Pearl Jam's Jeremy Real Story

Jeremy Delle took his own life in a classroom in 1991; a boy whose story Pearl Jam told in the song "Jeremy." But his mother, who stayed quiet about her son's death for 27 years, has spoken out, saying the band's portrayal of Jeremy's suicide is "inaccurate."

The 15-year-old North Texas boy committed suicide in front of his classmates at Richardson High School on Jan. 8, 1991. His story lived on through Pearl Jam's "Jeremy" — or so we thought. 

WFAA spoke with Jeremy's mother, Wanda, about her son's death, which she has not spoken publicly about for 27 years.

She said her son was much more than his suicide, the event that made him famous over two decades ago.


"That day that he died did not define his life," she said. "He was a son, a brother, a nephew, a cousin, a grandson. He was a friend. He was talented."

Jeremy walked into his English class and shot himself. A newspaper reported the teen's death and boom, Pearl Jam made a hit song about it. The band's singer, Eddie Vedder, confirmed to Billboard that the song was, indeed, about the Texas teen's suicide.

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Vedder read the article that circulated about Jeremy but decided against getting in touch with his family as he felt he would be "intruding."

Family and friends of the young boy were upset, even "angry," that the band, which was up-and-coming at the time, had depicted Jeremy's death incorrectly. 


The recreation of Jeremy's suicide in the song's music video shows an angry, bullied, and hopeless boy as Jeremy whose "Daddy didn't give attention" and "mommy didn't care." But Brittany King, a friend of Jeremy's at the time, told WFAA he was not like that.

"I was angry at them for writing that song," she said. "I thought, you don't know. You weren't there. That story isn't accurate."

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King was in the classroom when Jeremy pointed a gun at himself and pulled the trigger.

"Shock and fear went into my mind," she said. "All the students kinda ran into the back of the room and huddled."

Then, King made a decision that she will never forget.

"Should I look?" she said as she began to tear up while she recalled the aftermath. "I remember thinking that. 'Should I look?' And I did, I looked. I don't know why. I don't know why I looked. And I'll never forget. I will never forget it."

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Jeremy left a suicide note, but its contents have never been revealed. 

Now, Jeremy's mother watches school shootings on the news and wishes she could reach out to those involved.

"I think of the mothers, I think of the sisters, I think what it'll be said or what opinions will be thought about the student," Wanda said. "It's the mothers and the sisters that I want to wrap my arms around and tell them that some day it'll be better."

She has since created a grief support group at her church in an effort to move on and help others do so as well.

This video shares more details about the real story of Jeremy Delle's life and what led up to his suicide: 

If you or someone you know feels helpless or has the urge to hurt yourself or others, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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Sarah Gangraw writes about all things news, entertainment and crime. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.