13 Celebrities Who Have Spoken Out About Their Mental Health Struggles
Millions of Americans deal with mental illnesses. From anxiety to bipolar disorder to obsessive compulsive disorder and eating disorders, so many people are coping with major challenges to a sense of wellbeing and overall quality of life. Most of those suffering are just everyday people we may be friends with, work with, or related to, but celebrities also struggle with mental illnesses. Here are 13 celebrities who have spoken about their mental health problems, how their struggles impacted their everyday lives, and how they’ve gotten help.
Gina Rodriguez: Gina Rodriguez, who many of us know and love as the adorable and relatable star of CW’s Jane the Virgin, has been vocal in the past about her struggles with anxiety. In May, Rodriguez posted a video to her Instagram account where she addressed her anxiety. The short video shows Rodriguez smiling and not wearing any makeup. “I suffer from anxiety. And watching this clip I could see how anxious I was but I empathize with myself. I wanted to protect her and tell her it's ok to be anxious, there is nothing different or strange about having anxiety and I will prevail,” she wrote in her post. (Photo via Frazer Harrison/Getty)
Amanda Seyfried: Amanda Seyfried has been pretty open and frank about her life with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). The Twin Peaks actress told Allure last year that her OCD played a role in how she designed her home. “I put in a bathroom and a little kitchenette [in the guest house], but no stove; I want people to eat meals in the house. Also, I always worry about people and how they use stoves. Which is just a controlling thing.” She added that she was worried that someone could accidentally leave a stove or oven on, and cause a fire. To treat her OCD, Seyfried says she takes the common antidepressant Lexapro, and “will never get off of it.” She explained further that even if the medication is working for her because of the placebo effect, she thinks it’s important for her to continue taking it: “I don’t see the point of getting off of it. Whether it’s placebo or not, I don’t want to risk it. And what are you fighting against? Just the stigma of using a tool? A mental illness is a thing that people cast in a different category [from other illnesses], but I don’t think it is. It should be taken as seriously as anything else.” (Photo via Mark Millan/Getty)
Chrissy Teigen: Model and social media superstar Chrissy Teigen wrote about facing anxiety and postpartum depression following the birth of her daughter. In an essay she wrote for Glamour in March of this year, Teigen described what life was like when the post-partum depression hit: “Getting out of bed to get to set on time was painful. My lower back throbbed; my shoulders — even my wrists — hurt. I didn’t have an appetite. I would go two days without a bite of food, and you know how big of a deal food is for me. One thing that really got me was just how short I was with people.” She describes that it was very challenging to figure out why she was “so unhappy,” but once she went to see a doctor for a physical, she got diagnosed with postpartum depression and anxiety. Teigen started taking an antidepressant and going to therapy, and opening up to those close to her about her struggles. She writes that some days are still hard, but she’s “dealing.” (Photo via Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty)
Emma Stone: Just last month, Academy Award-winning actress Emma Stone talked with Stephen Colbert about living with anxiety. Stone told the late-night host that she experienced a lot of anxiety attacks as a kid, and struggled with anxiety since a young age. She also noted that she started therapy at age seven, saying, “I benefited in a big way from therapy.” Stone also explained that acting and improv were helpful in coping with her anxiety, and said that she still struggles with anxiety, but no longer has panic attacks. (Photo via Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Getty Images for BFI)
Gillian Anderson: X-Files star Gillian Anderson also recently wrote a book, where she touches on her mental health struggles. Speaking with The Guardian about her book, Anderson said, “There were times when it was really bad. There have been times in my life where I haven’t wanted to leave the house,” but didn’t provide any further details. However, Anderson opened up in her book about going to therapy for many years. The Guardian reports that the 49-year-old actress has been in therapy for 24 years, since she was 14 years old. (Photo via Dia Dipasupil/Getty)
Halsey: Electropop singer and songwriter Halsey has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The singer first spoke about her diagnosis in a 2015 interview with Elle, “I was diagnosed when I was 16 or 17. My mom has it too." Her descriptions of what the illness can look like are very frank: “Sometimes it's throwing things and, like, getting hurt and having to pick someone up from the police station at two o'clock in the morning. My biggest fear has always been being that woman.” (Photo via David Becker/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
Michael Phelps: Olympic swimming superstar Michael Phelps has been dealing with anxiety and depression for a long time. In a new documentary, Angst, the athlete spoke openly about how anxiety has impacted him. “I just didn’t like who I was,” Phelps said, according to People. “If something was bothering me that would start to come up — and I would start feeling angry or depressed or upset — I would almost ignore it.” Phelps also once said that his mental health struggles got so bad that he “didn’t want to be alive anymore,” USA Today reported in May. Eventually, Phelps received professional help for his mental illnesses, and has been a vocal advocate for mental health awareness in recent years. (Photo via Dia Dipasupil/Getty)
Kendrick Lamar: In an interview with MTV in 2015, multiple Grammy award-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar talked about his struggles dealing with depression. Discussing the lyrics to “u,” a track on To Pimp a Butterfly, Lamar told journalist and fellow music artist Rob Markman, “Nothing was as vulnerable as that record. So it's even pulling from those experiences of coming up in Compton. It's pulling from the experience of going through change and accepting change — that's the hardest thing for man, accepting change.” He added that he deals with survivor’s guilt, noting that three people very close to him were murdered while he was on tour. “Psychologically, it messes your brain up. You’re living this [celebrity] life, but you still have to face reality… I still have to get back off that tour bus and go to these funerals,” Lamar said in the interview. (Photo via Paul Marotta/Getty)
Demi Lovato: When Demi Lovato was 19, she says she hit her “main rock bottom,” and soon after was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. At 18, Lovato had a very public breakdown , and she then left the tour she was performing in with the Jonas Brothers. She went to rehab and got her bipolar diagnosis, which she says helped her clarify why she’d been acting the way she had. Lovato had also been struggling with self-harm, bulimia, and addiction issues before entering rehab. Now, the pop star says that mental health advocacy is a “passion” for her. She joined forces with a mental health awareness campaign called Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health, because “it’s something that’s really powerful when it comes to not only informing people about what mental illness is, but also what you can do to get help,” Lovato told Women’s Health . (Photo via Tim P. Whitby/Getty)
Kim Kardashian: Following a traumatic robbery in Paris last year, Kim Kardashian said she began to experience anxiety. In a 2016 episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Kardashian told her friend and regular on the show, Jonathan Cheban, "I've been having anxiety lately. I'm not this person." In the same episode of KUWTK, she further told her mom, Kris, "My mind goes crazy." Later, both Kim and her little sister Kendall, who said she suffers from sleep paralysis, met with a therapist on the show. On the most recent episode of the show, Kardashian said she feared she and her family were vulnerable to a possible robbery while on a trip in Mexico, and said that being body-shamed by the press is "giving me body dysmorphia," according to Bravo . (Photo via Gotham/GC)
Gabourey Sidibe: Academy Award-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe got very frank about her struggles with mental illness in her memoir, This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare, released in May. In her book, Sidibe writes that she has struggled with suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety, and bulimia nervosa. The actress opened up about how difficult it was to speak with her mom about her mental health issues (she wrote that her mom laughed when Sidibe told her she was depressed, according to HuffPo). She describes that she sometimes didn’t eat for days, and was very depressed by the time she saw a doctor to discuss everything she’d been dealing with. For Sidibe, therapy was very helpful for coping with her mental illnesses, and she also started taking an antidepressant. In an interview with People, Sidibe said that “When [depression is] too big for me to just turn around on my own, I see a therapist. I see a therapist anyway. We all should see a therapist. If only for the hour a week that you can talk about yourself and not worry about monopolizing the conversation? F*ing do it, it’s worth it!” Wise words from someone who is been there and still going through these very real challenges. (Photo via Paul Zimmerman/Getty)
Selena Gomez: Pop icon Selena Gomez recently opened up about having Lupus, but the singer has been talking about her anxiety and depression for at least a year. Gomez ended her Revival tour early in 2016, saying she needed to take a break to address her mental health issues, and has since spoken about her struggles with these illnesses several times. Earlier this year, Gomez told Vogue how challenging touring can be with depression and anxiety, saying, “My self-esteem was shot [during Revival]. I was depressed, anxious. I started to have panic attacks right before getting onstage, or right after leaving the stage. Basically I felt I wasn't good enough, wasn't capable. I felt I wasn't giving my fans anything, and they could see it— which, I think, was a complete distortion.” After leaving her tour early, Gomez went to get in-patient treatment in Tennessee, pursuing multiple forms of therapy, according to Vogue. She also took a break from using social media because it was “putting things in my head that I didn't want to care about,” and still regularly goes to therapy. (Photo via James Devaney/GC Images)
Kristen Bell: Talking about her depression and anxiety, actress Kristen Bell has said she's struggled since she was a child. Bell has explained that even though she was popular and had a lot of friends in high school, she was still anxious, and that even today, she "shatter[s] a little bit when I think people don’t like me. That’s part of why I lead with kindness and I compensate by being very bubbly all the time because it really hurts my feelings when I know I’m not liked. And I know that’s not very healthy and I fight it all the time," according to People. Bell also wrote an essay for Motto last year, detailing her experience with depression. "For me, depression is not sadness. It’s not having a bad day and needing a hug," Bell described. "It gave me a complete and utter sense of isolation and loneliness. Its debilitation was all-consuming, and it shut down my mental circuit board. I felt worthless, like I had nothing to offer, like I was a failure." Bell says that she got help for her depression, and encourages others to seek help if they're struggling. (Photo via Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty)
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Tell us whose open conversation has inspired you @BritandCo.
(Featured photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty)
Elizabeth King is a politics, history, and culture writer based in the Twin Cities. She is generally pretty cranky but still enjoys traveling, music from the early 2000's, and plotting the resistance. Feel free to say hi on Twitter at @ekingc or check out some of her work at www.elizabethcking.com.