"I think that when it happened, I had a flash of me running from bullies. I had a flash of my whole life, of my childhood, my youth, getting beaten," he told Vulture.
He said he was "too busy putting out fires" to keep up with coverage on the case, and had to stop communicating with the actor.
"I had to detach myself and stop calling him, because it was taking away the time I have for my kids, the time I have for my partner. It was affecting my spirit and other shows, everything," he said.
The drama starring Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard will end after the sixth season.
Controversy after charges are dropped
Smollett was charged with multiple felony counts after allegedly duping the Chicago police is believed to have been the target of a hate crime in January
Prosecutors later dropped the charges against him, a decision that outraged the city's mayor and police chief. The city demanded that it pay back the more than $ 130,000 to cover the cost of the investigation.
Smollett denied the allegations and his attorneys have said the actor will not be intimidated into paying the city.