21 celebrities who have revealed their battles with mental health
These A-listers are changing the way we think about mental illness
marie claire marie claire & InStyle Senior Digital Beauty And Lifestyle Editor / June 17 2019
Thankfully, in today's world celebrities are choosing to speak out more and more about their experiences with mental health. We've rounded up 22 celebrities who have openly spoken about their mental health - from anxiety to depression.
Pink has opened up about her mental health journey, speaking to Carson Daly on Today. The US singer said she's struggled with anxiety and depression and is an advocate for therapy, sharing that she and husband Carey Hart "have been in couples counselling almost our entire 17 years that we've been together.”
"For my generation, I feel like it was depression and suicide and suicide is super prevalent still, but now it's like it comes from a place of anxiety," the singer said during a sneak peek of the interview that airs Friday.
She continued: "And I get that, I fully understand that and I've been depressed; I have anxiety. I overthink everything."
Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner has opened up about the impact fame has had on her mental health. In an interview with Dr. Phil on his podcast, Phil in the Blanks, the actress revealed that negative comments about her character on social media caused a decline in her mental health. "I would just believe it. I would say, ‘Yeah, I am spotty. I am fat. I am a bad actress.' I would just believe it. I would get [the costume department] to tighten my corset a lot. I just got very, very self-conscious," she explains.
Eventually, those feelings of insecurity led to the symptoms of depression. She explains, "I had no motivation to do anything or go out. Even with my best friends, I wouldn't want to see them, I wouldn't want to go out and eat with them."
She adds, "I just would cry and cry and cry over just getting changed and putting on clothes and be like, 'I can't do this. I can't go outside. I have nothing that I want to do.'"
While her struggles with mental health have been significant since she was about 17, the star says she doesn't think she is capable of hurting herself. "It's weird. I say I wasn't very depressed when I was younger, but I used to think about suicide a lot when I was younger. I don't know why though," Turner said. "Maybe it's just a weird fascination I used to have, but yeah, I used to think about it. I don't think I ever would have gone through with it. I don't know."
Pretty Little Liars star Troian Bellisario has opened up about her battle with mental illness in a moving first-person account for Lenny Letter. Although Bellisario doesn't name her particular condition, she has struggled with an eating disorder and feelings that she is never good enough.
"There is a part of my brain that defies logic," she writes. "Once, it completely convinced me I should live off 300 calories a day, and at some point, it told me even that was too much. That part of my brain is my disease, and there was a time when it had absolute authority over me...even though I have lived in recovery for ten years now, it still finds loads of fun, insidious ways to thwart me to this day."
But Bellisario has overcome her eating disorder thanks to "hard introspection, intense medical and mental care, a supportive family, friends and a patient and loving partner." Bellisario has recently starred in, written and produced an independent film, Feed, based on her experiences, which Sony Pictures has released today.
In a poignant blog post, Bachelor host Osher Gunsberg has revealed his ongoing struggle with mental illness. In the post, titled “When you picture someone with a mental illness, picture me in a nice tailored suit” and written for HuffPost Australia, Gunsberg details the day he ‘lost his mind.’ He was living in Venice Beach, California at the time, shortly after the finale of season one of The Bachelor.
“Here I was, living in a foreign country and paying rent out of my savings while I tried to figure out what I was going to do with my life,” he writes. “I was already feeling extra-edgy because I was in the ninth month of living life without the anti-depressants that had been reining in my anxiety disorder since 2007.”
After experiencing paranoid delusions and spiraling out of control, Gunsberg sought medical help to get his condition – anxiety disorder and OCD – under control.
“Thanks to the many doctors I’ve since worked with, my family, my friends and my wonderfully understanding wife I’m once again okay,” he says. “I still live with an anxiety disorder that is exacerbated by a new OCD diagnosis, and I have to take medication every day to keep healthy.”
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Sarah Michelle Gellar is the latest celebrity to open up about her battle with mental illness. The star took to Instagram to share the postpartum depression diagnosis she received after the birth of her first child, Charlotte, now seven years old. Charlotte now has a little brother, Rocky, aged four.
“Having kids is wonderful, and life-changing, and rarely what you’re prepared for,” she writes. “I love my children more than anything in the world. But like a lot of women, I too struggled with postpartum depression after my first baby was born.”
“I got help and made it through, and every day since has been the best gift I could ever have asked for. To those of you going through this, know that you’re not alone and that it really does get better.”
Gellar concluded with a call to action to fight Trump’s proposed health care reforms, which will make it even harder for American women to access proper care.
“If you believe that postpartum depression should be covered by healthcare, please take a moment and go to callmecongress.com today, find your rep’s numbers and let them know #NotAPreExistingCondition.”
Everybody's favourite social media queen Chrissy Teigen has recently discussed her ongoing struggles with post-partum depression in an emotional tell-all open-letter. The 31-year-old model and television personality gave birth to her first child, daughter Luna, who she shares with husband John Legend, in April 2016.
The mother-of-one, who is known for her honest admissions to fans, explained that: “I had everything I needed to be happy. And yet, for much of the last year, I felt unhappy. What basically everyone around me—but me—knew up until December was this: I have postpartum depression”
After going to see her doctor, Teigen was diagnosed with post-partum depression and anxiety. Each year, 1 in 7 Australian women who give birth are affected by mental illness. Teigen is not the only well-known celeb to speak out about the difficulties one faces post-childbirth, as Adele recently revealed in *that* Grammy's-acceptance speech: "...in my pregnancy, and through becoming a mother, I lost a lot of myself. I struggled, and I still do struggle being a mum - it's really hard".
We’re given glamorous glimpses of Kendall Jenner’s life on social media – exclusive parties with famous friends, sipping cocktails on super yachts and lounging about her multi-million dollar home(s) – but the reality-TV-star-turned-model has revealed that her life isn’t all rosy on her personal website, kendallj.com.
After listing her personal peaks of 2016 (maybe don’t compare them to your own… unless you too have a slew of magazine covers, a new house and travels to Barbados, Barcelona, Paris and Cannes to show for the last 12 months), Kendall turns to the pitfalls – the first being her struggle with anxiety.
“Anxiety was a huge hurdle for me to deal with this past year (and security concerns didn’t help), but I think I’m finally learning how to cope,” she writes. She then links to another post, where she credits breathing exercises and mindfulness to helping her handle her anxiety.
Hayden Panetierre has spoken out about her struggle with postnatal depression since returning from treatment at a facility in May last year. She spoke on Good Morning America this week about how she has dealt with everything,
"I think I'm a better mom because of it, because you never take that connection for granted," she said.
"I think it helped me identify what was going on, and to let women know that it's OK to ask for help and that it's OK to have a moment of weakness and it doesn't make you a bad person. It doesn't make you a bad mother. It makes you a very strong, resilient woman. You've just got to let it make you stronger."
She has previously said of the mental illness, "There’s a lot of misunderstanding — there’s a lot of people out there that think that it is not real, that it’s not true, that it’s something that’s made up in their minds, that “Oh, it’s hormones.” They brush it off. It’s something that’s completely uncontrollable. It’s really painful and it’s really scary, and women need a lot of support."
Amanda Seyfried recently revealed she is pregnant with her first child with her fiancé, Thomas Sadoski. Opening up to W magazine, the first-time mum revealed her battle with OCD and how she's glad the stigma around mental health is shifting.
"I also feel like there’s so much less stigma about everything, like mental health," she tells the magazine.
"If I’d only known when I was obsessive-compulsive about stuff when I was ten, I would have shared it with my parents and not thought that I was crazy. But I thought I was crazy. You can’t step on this tile or…all those weird superstitions. You would share it with people and they would help you out and make you feel better about it. They’d say, 'That’s really normal. Don’t worry. That’s just your anxiety running high and trying to control it.' That could have saved ten years of my life feeling that I wasn’t normal. And I really hope the younger generations are hopefully feeling safer in being who they are."
It's not the first time the actress has opened up about her mental health, speaking to Allure magazine back in October.
"I'm on Lexapro, and I'll never get off of it. I've been on it since I was 19, so 11 years. I'm on the lowest dose. 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."
The Today show newsreader revealed that early starts on the show took a serious toll on her wellbeing after she joined the morning program in June 2014.
“It’s very easy to slip into an unhealthy lifestyle and a low mood when you’re excessively tired and sleep-deprived,” she told The Daily Telegraph. “I’ve always been a happy, glass-half-full person but I found I was more susceptible to sinking into a low mood and my mental state was changing quite radically.”
Jeffreys attributes exercise and a healthy diet for pulling her out of what she calls “the blues.”
Model Jesinta Campbell has been an advocate for mental health and has shared her support for husband Buddy Franklin as he dealt with his own mental illness. Now the Aussie model has revealed she regularly seeks professional help to keep her own mental health in check.
"I am not ashamed to say that I see a professional regularly myself," she tells OK! magazine. "I don't have any fear of talking about it and being open about my mental health or helping those around me feel more comfortable talking about it."
The now Mrs. Franklin says finding a safe environment to "download all my worries and stresses" is extremely important to her, and something she feels passionately about.
"I've found it really helpful and feel so much better after a session," the 25-year-old said, adding that she feels "mentally lighter" afterward.
Back in October Jesinta posted a heartfelt message on Instagram to her now-husband following the AFL Grand Final, describing him as her inspiration in his ability to overcome his personal issues following his own battle with depression which was made public last year.
The post read: "What a week!! My heart swells with pride for your victorious year. What you have achieved personally I admire far more than any goal, milestone or win you could ever be a part of!! It was amazing to witness you play in another GF this year and although the loss is sad, I feel like we've won on so many different levels this year and that's what truly matters in life ✨ You have inspired me so much."
Aussie actress Jessica Marais also spoke with Nova FM about her struggle with bipolar, saying: "I never as a public figure think that I can instruct people on how to deal with issues like that. But what I will say is that I’ve learnt to be more open with the people close to me when I’ve had struggles of my own."
On postnatal depression: "When my son, Moses, came into the world in 2006, I expected to have another period of euphoria following his birth, much the way I had when my daughter was born two years earlier. Instead, I was confronted with one of the darkest and most painfully debilitating chapters of my life."
"You can’t pay enough money to cure that feeling of being broken and confused. It’s not like everyday’s been great ever since. You have good days and bad days, and depression’s something that, y’know, is always with you."
"I was sitting in my car, and I knew the gas was coming when I had an image of my mother finding me. She sacrificed so much for her children, and to end my life would be an incredibly selfish thing to do. My sense of worth was so low. I had to reprogram myself to see the good in me. Because someone didn’t love me didn’t mean I was unlovable. That’s what the break-up of my marriage reduced me to. It took away my self-esteem. It beat me down to the lowest of lows."
"If I had been diagnosed with any other disease, I would have run to get help. I would have worn it like a badge. I didn’t at first—but finally, I did fight. I survived."
"I was on Prozac for a long time. It may have helped me out of a jam for a little bit, but people stay on it forever. I had to get off at a certain point because I realised that, you know, everything’s just okay. You need to get out of bed every day and say that life is good. That’s what I did, although at times it was very difficult for me."
"Promised myself I would not let exercise be the first thing to go by the wayside when I got busy with Girls Season 5 and here is why: it has helped with my anxiety in ways I never dreamed possible. To those struggling with anxiety, OCD, depression: I know it's mad annoying when people tell you to exercise, and it took me about 16 medicated years to listen. I'm glad I did."
"I was sceptical [about having cognitive behavioural therapy] at first because I’d never had therapy, but not being able to leave the house [because of panic attacks] was so debilitating. And this was when my career was really taking off…
"My surroundings would trigger a panic attack, so I couldn’t go to the studio unless I was lying down in the car with a pillow over my face. I used to beat myself up about it. There were a couple of times after I released Delirium when I was doing promo and thought, “Oh god, it’s coming back, it’s coming back,” but it didn’t. I think my body has become quite good at controlling anxiety."
“I think I pushed myself so far [at school] that I got to the point where I had a mental breakdown. I was completely suicidal, I didn’t want to live anymore.
“I thought that I was completely alone. I also realised how lucky I was, and what a wonderful family and wonderful friends I had, but that didn’t matter. I wanted the world to swallow me up, and nothing seemed better to me than death.
"It’s about finding people around you who have your best interests at heart. I had a lot of people around me who were just after what I gave them, not looking after me. So it’s about finding people who care about you, and support you. And I’ve now been able to become a support for other people as well.”
"This is a disorder that affects millions of people and I am one of them. If my revelation of having bipolar has encouraged one person to seek help, then it is worth it. There is no need to suffer silently and there is no shame in seeking help.
"I’m not the kind of person who likes to shout out my personal issues from the rooftops but, with my bipolar becoming public, I hope fellow sufferers will know it is completely controllable. I hope I can help remove any stigma attached to it, and that those who don’t have it under control will seek help with all that is available to treat it."
"Today I did two things for me. I got my hair done (thank you @strugnellcole) and I finally left a message to book a psychologist appointment to face my anxiety. It took me 2 minutes; but I’ve put it off for months. It’s funny, I don’t even hesitate to think about booking a doctors appointment for my physical health but I did for my mental health. But, it counts too."
If you're looking for tips on nurturing your own mental health, check out our story on ways to destress here.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from mental health issues, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36.
A version of this article originally appeared on marieclaire.com.au
Main image credit: Getty
Arielle is marie claire and InStyle's Senior Digital Beauty & Lifestyle Editor. Her work has taken her to lunch with Kim Cattrall, backstage with Shanina Shaik and on the red carpet with Margot Robbie. You can find her words on InStyle, marie claire and Women's Health.