Billie Eilish Says Last Summer Her Depression Was “Realer Than It’s Ever Been”

“I experience joy and laughter and I can find fun in things, but I’m a depressed person.”

Billie Ellish arriving on the red carpet at the 96th Annual Academy Awards in Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, CA, Sunday, March 10, 2024.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Content warning: This post discusses debilitating bouts of depression. If you or someone you know needs mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.

Grammy award-winning singer Billie Eilish is getting candid about her mental health and a particularly debilitating case of depression she experienced last summer.

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, the "Bad Guy" singer said that her depression was "just realer than it's ever been before. At the time, she revealed she wrote in her personal journal: “I know I’m lucky/But I’m so unhappy.”

“My whole life, I’ve never been a happy person, really. I’ve been a joyous person, but not a happy person," she told the publication. "I experience joy and laughter and I can find fun in things, but I’m a depressed person."

Eilish went on to say that she has "suffered with a lot of depression her whole life," but added that when things "happen in my soul" she focuses on the fact that it's only temporary.

Billie Ellish arriving on the red carpet at the 96th Annual Academy Awards in Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, CA, Sunday, March 10, 2024.

Billie Ellish arriving on the red carpet at the 96th Annual Academy Awards in Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, CA, Sunday, March 10, 2024.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"The thing I’ve always held on to is: ‘Well, it’ll pass. It’ll come in waves and it’ll get worse and it’ll get better,'" she explained. "And that’s always brought me comfort. And this time, I literally was like: ‘I don’t care. I don’t even want it to get better.’”

Despite her massive success—which includes becoming the youngest person to win two Academy Awards at just 22 years old—Eilish revealed that she never left her house. After being sequestered from the outside world, she came to the harrowing realization that while she had managed to accomplish her goals (and then some) she was not having any fun.

“I hit a turning point,” she said. “I had this moment of like: ‘Oh, my God, I haven’t had fun in seven years.’ Truly. I had this illusion that I had, because who experiences going to the Grammys at basically 17 and winning five? But in life, I realized I had really not experienced that much. I didn’t go outside for five years. How was I supposed to have any experiences?”

A post shared by BILLIE EILISH

A photo posted by billieeilish on

With the help of her parents—Baird and Patrick O'Connell—as well as her brother Finneas and her best friend Zoe Donahoe, Eilish says she slowly started getting out of the house via small trips to the grocery stores, eventually transitioning to larger outings like parties and concerts.

“I’m afraid. For a f****** good reason," she explained. "I’m afraid of people, I’m afraid of the world. It’s just scary for somebody like me, and even if it’s not scary, it means being on and being vulnerable and being seen and being filmed and whatever. But with that all in mind, I have been choosing to do the thing that scares me more. I am biting the bullet and existing in the world for once.”

While she was and has been extremely open about her ongoing mental health issues, Eilish made it clear while speaking to Rolling Stone that she has no intention of becoming a pseudo-poster child for mental health.

A post shared by BILLIE EILISH

A photo posted by billieeilish on

“I think it’s really weird when you are in the middle of something and somebody asks you to be the advocate for the thing you’re in the middle of,” she explained.

"I understand that it’s important, and I understand that it’s an epidemic and it needs to be talked about, but I don’t want to f****** be the role model for depression," Eilish added. "What happens when I do some s*** y’all aren’t going to like?”

Danielle Campoamor
Weekend Editor

Danielle Campoamor is Marie Claire's weekend editor covering all things news, celebrity, politics, culture, live events, and more. In addition, she is an award-winning freelance writer and former NBC journalist with over a decade of digital media experience covering mental health, reproductive justice, abortion access, maternal mortality and mental health, gun violence, climate change, politics, celebrity news, culture, online trends, wellness, gender-based violence and other feminist issues. You can find both her work in The New York Times, Washington Post, New York Magazine, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, TODAY, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, InStyle, Playboy, Teen Vogue, Glamour, The Daily Beast, Mother Jones, Prism, Newsweek and more. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and their two feral sons. When she is not writing, editing or doom scrolling she enjoys reading, cooking, debating current events and politics, traveling to Seattle to see her dear friends and losing Pokémon battles against her ruthless offspring. You can find her on X, Instagram, Threads, Facebook and all the places.