08/29/2007 at 10:20 AM EDT
When she heard about her longtime friend Owen Wilson
's suicide attempt, producer Polly Platt said, "It's impossible. He's far too full of life and is at the prime of his career," PEOPLE reports in its new issue, on newsstands Friday.
But another pal confirmed the worst about the crisis that landed Wilson, 38, at L.A.'s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
: "Owen was very despondent. He slit his wrists. He almost did not make it."
For now, Wilson's immediate well-being is the primary concern of friends such as Woody Harrelson, Wes Anderson, Samuel L. Jackson and Brad Garrett, who visited Wilson at the hospital, as well as the actor's close-knit family.
Brothers Luke, 35, who initially found Owen after the suicide attempt, and Andrew, 43, were by his side in the hours and days after the incident; his parents, Robert, 66, and Laura, 67, fought past anguish and exhaustion as they kept a revolving vigil.
What drove Wilson to an act of self-destruction that one friend calls "the most out-of-character thing"? Even Wilson's closest friends admit that he has a dark side and his share of demons, which have included drug addiction. One friend notes that his drug use in the past has ventured into "the hard stuff," and he landed in rehab twice in the 1990s. Still, when asked what brought him to the point of suicide, a good friend says, "It would be irresponsible to say it was any single thing. People are complicated. Owen is no different."
One source tells PEOPLE that Wilson's pals became concerned over the summer when he "pulled away....He went MIA for awhile." But now Wilson's loved ones are standing with him. "He has a very tight-knit circle of friends," says one. "And we're all rooting for him."
For more on this story, including Wilson's stints in rehab, his sense of being an outsider when he was young and his battles with his dark side, pick up this week's PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday