A common stereotype about celebrities is that they're too wealthy and too famous to suffer from mental health issues like us normals often do (it's estimated that about half of Americans will experience a mental illness during their lifetime). It's not true: Although celebrities do often have the finances to fund the help they need, unlike many Americans, they're just as likely to suffer from common mental-health issues like anxiety, depression, and more. Many of your favorite celebrities and public figures have struggled, both before and after they saw fame, and the following people have chosen to bravely share their mental-health experiences.
The 18-year-old singer spoke with Gayle King before the 2020 Grammys about her mental health struggles and how, for a long time, she didn't think she would make it to the age of 17. "I don't want to be too dark, but I genuinely didn't think I would make it to 17," said Eilish. "I think about this one time I was in Berlin, and I was alone in my hotel … And I remember there was a window right there … I remember crying because I was thinking about how the way that I was going to die was ... I was going to do it."
These days, Eilish says she is in a better state of mind and wants to help put that mindset towards all of her fans. "I just grab them by the shoulders, and I'm like, 'Please take care of yourself and be good to yourself and be nice to yourself,'" she said. "'Don't take that extra step and hurt yourself further.'"
The Canadian artist let it all out there when he released "In My Blood," the lyrics of which let fans know his relationship with anxiety. In a 2018 interview with The Sun, Mendes kept it real about how, when it comes to battling mental health, therapy can come in different forms.
"Therapy is what works for you… climbing a mountain," he explained. "Therapy is listening to music and running on the treadmill, therapy is going to dinner with your friends — it’s something that distracts you, that helps you heal, and so it just depends on what you think therapy is."
In a May 2019 interview with Net-A-Porter, the Game of Thrones actress discussed the importance of being open with your friends and family about your state of mind. "It’s a very British thing–that idea you should just get on with it, 'chin up.' Therapy is seen as a bit self-indulgent, a bit soft," she said. "But therapy and medication have helped me immeasurably."
She continued with: "The first step to any kind of movement is just to put it out there, talk about it and make it less of a taboo so that people can go and get help and not feel embarrassed to do so," she said. "People feel so much shame about it, so if, by talking about it, I can even have an impact on one person, that would be awesome."
The spokesperson for Talkspace—a service that allows users to connect with therapists and communicate with them on an app—spoke to POPSUGAR in May 2019 on his initial feelings towards therapy.
"Prior to going to therapy, I never wanted to do it," said Phelps. "It wasn't something I wanted, to go and sit on a couch and have a conversation. I was always somebody who tried to find ways myself to do it and was very stubborn for a long time and had a hard time communicating."
After going to a therapist, the Olympian understood the importance of seeing someone, "I'm still here," he said. "I'm still on this planet, so that's a major change in how [therapy] has impacted my life."
The "TikTok" singer spoke about the importance of being open to your loved ones in times of need to Billboard magazine in 2016. "I've battled a lot of things, including anxiety and depression," said Kesha. "Finding the strength to come forward about those things is not easy. But maybe, by telling my story, I can help someone else going through tough times."
The actor spoke on ITV's Lorraine in May 2018 about how depression can't be experienced by one kind of person. "Depression doesn't discriminate, and I thought that was an important part of the narrative if I was going to share a little bit of my story of the past," he said about his experience with his mental health.
He continued, "Regardless of who you are or what you do for a living or where you come from, it doesn't discriminate, we all kind of go through it. If I could share a little bit of it and if I could help somebody, I'm happy to do it."
"I began to notice that I would stare off into space and black out for seconds or minutes," Lady Gaga explained while accepting a patron award at the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Patron of the Artists Awards in 2018. "I would see flashes of things I was tormented by, experiences that were filed away in my brain with ‘I’ll deal with you later’ for many years because my brain was protecting me, as science teaches us. These were also symptoms of disassociation and PTSD and I did not have a team that included mental health support."
"For years I have dedicated myself to increasing awareness of mental health and empowering people to recognize when it’s time to seek help, support and guidance from those that love and care for your wellbeing," the singer wrote on Instagram. "I recently listened to the same advice I have given thousands around the world and sought help from a great team of healthcare professionals. Today I proudly, happily and healthily stand here as someone who will continue to always lead by example as I tirelessly advocate for the betterment of those in need. If you change your mind, you can change your life."
"Anytime you aren't creating conversation about what mental health really is, you're opening it up to a bunch of negativity," the singer told MarieClaire.com in 2017. "It's important to remember that the vast majority of people living with mental health conditions aren't violent. They're ten times more likely to be the victims of a violent crime."
"Crucially, fighting fitness is not just about physical fitness," the royal and veteran said during a 2017 interview about mental health and the armed forces. "It is just as much about mental fitness too…We have all seen professional athletes lose races or matches due to unforced errors. It is no different for anyone in high pressure roles."
Harry has spoken about his own experiences with mental health, too. “I can safely say that losing my mum at the age of 12, and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years, has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but my work as well.” He added: "“I just couldn’t put my finger on it. I just didn’t know what was wrong with me.”
"There's no pattern [to depression] necessarily. It can come and go in waves, which makes it a little more difficult because you're not really sure when one point ends and another point begins," the Riverdale actress explained during a 2017 interview with Cosmopolitan. "It can be based off a certain situation, or it can be seasonal, or it can have no reason at all, because it doesn't need a reason. It's a chemical in [my] brain that I have to take medication for, so I don't constantly feel doom and gloom and sadness. [I'm speaking out about it because] I felt like the celebrities and people who did talk about it were commended for being so brave. It's not something that you need to praise anyone for. It should be commonplace. It should be something that we talk about in school. The fact that it isn't makes people ashamed of it. For teenage kids, they feel a pressure to sweep things under the rug because they feel like they're not important enough to have problems. They aren't being bullied so why are they upset? I dealt with that. I had friends at school. People were like, 'You have no reason to be upset. Your feelings are illogical.' My message is that that's not true. You don't have to have a reason. Your feelings are validated by the fact that you're feeling them."
"When I was 18, [my mom] said, 'If you start to feel like you are twisting things around you, and you start to feel like there is no sunlight around you, and you are paralyzed with fear, this is what it is and here's how you can help yourself.' And I've always had a really open and honest dialogue about that, especially with my mom, which I'm so grateful for," the Good Place actress said of going on antidepressants. "Because you have to be able to cope with it. I mean, I present that very cheery bubbly person, but I also do a lot of work, I do a lot of introspective work and I check in with myself when I need to exercise and I got on a prescription when I was really young to help with my anxiety and depression and I still take it today. And I have no shame in that because my mom had said if you start to feel this way, talk to your doctor, talk to a psychologist and see how you want to help yourself. And if you do decide to go on a prescription to help yourself, understand that the world wants to shame you for that, but in the medical community, you would never deny a diabetic his insulin. Ever. But for some reason, when someone needs a serotonin inhibitor, they're immediately crazy or something. And I don't know, it's a very interesting double standard that I often don't have the ability to talk about but I certainly feel no shame about."
"DBT [dialectical behavior therapy] has completely changed my life," Selena told Vogue in 2017 about seeking help for her mental health struggles. "I wish more people would talk about therapy. We girls, we're taught to be almost too resilient, to be strong and sexy and cool and laid-back, the girl who's down. We also need to feel allowed to fall apart."
"I have a chemical imbalance that, in its most extreme state, will lead me to a mental hospital," the late Star Wars actress revealed during a groundbreaking interview with Diane Sawyer about her diagnosis. "I used to think I was a drug addict, pure and simple — just someone who could not stop taking drugs willfully. And I was that. But it turns out that I am severely manic depressive...You can't stop. It's very painful. It's raw. You know, it's rough...your bones burn...when you're not busy talking and trying to drown it out."
"I'm on Lexapro, and I'll never get off of it," the actress told Allure in 2016, also disclosing that she's been on the medication for more than a decade. "I'm on the lowest dose, and I don't see the point of getting off of it. Whether it's placebo or not, I don't want to risk it."
"[Depression is] more of an issue than people really want to talk about. Because people don't know how to talk about being depressed—that it's totally okay to feel sad. I went through a time where I was really depressed. Like, I locked myself in my room and my dad had to break my door down. It was a lot to do with, like, I had really bad skin, and I felt really bullied because of that. But I never was depressed because of the way someone else made me feel, I just was depressed," the singer and actress explained during a 2014 interview with ELLE. "And every person can benefit from talking to somebody. I'm the most anti-medication person, but some people need medicine, and there was a time where I needed some too. So many people look at [my depression] as me being ungrateful, but that is not it—I can't help it. There's not much that I'm closed off about, and the universe gave me all that so I could help people feel like they don't have to be something they're not or feel like they have to fake happy. There's nothing worse than being fake happy."
"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," the model wrote in a 2017 essay on the subject. She added, "When I wasn't in the studio, I never left the house. I mean, never. Not even a tiptoe outside. I'd ask people who came inside why they were wet. Was it raining? How would I know—I had every shade closed," she says. "Most days were spent on the exact same spot on the couch and rarely would I muster up the energy to make it upstairs for bed. John would sleep on the couch with me, sometimes four nights in a row. I started keeping robes and comfy clothes in the pantry so I wouldn't have to go upstairs when John went to work. There was a lot of spontaneous crying."
"I was unwell with post-natal depression, which no one ever discussed... and that in itself was a bit of a difficult time. You'd wake up in the morning feeling you didn't want to get out of bed, you felt misunderstood, and just very, very low in yourself," the late royal said during a 1995 interview. "When no one listens to you, or you feel no one's listening to you, all sorts of things start to happen. For instance you have so much pain inside yourself that you try and hurt yourself on the outside because you want help, but it's the wrong help you're asking for. People see it as crying wolf or attention-seeking, and they think because you're in the media all the time you've got enough attention, inverted commas....I didn't like myself, I was ashamed because I couldn't cope with the pressures."
"This is something I haven't been open about, but it's a huge part of who I am," Cara Delevingne said during an interview in 2015. "All of a sudden I was hit with a massive wave of depression and anxiety and self-hatred, where the feelings were so painful that I would slam my head against a tree to try to knock myself out. I never cut, but I'd scratch myself to the point of bleeding. I just wanted to dematerialize and have someone sweep me away."
"I have anxiety. I’ve always had anxiety," he told The New York Times in 2018. "Both in the lighthearted ‘I’m anxious about this’ kind of thing, and I’ve been to the depths of the darker end of the spectrum, which is not fun."
The actor went on to explain some of the unhealthy coping mechanisms he tried for managing his mental health. “I was partying and just trying to make myself vanish in some way,” he explained. To explain the foundation of what makes anxiety so difficult to live with, he said: “When there’s built-in expectation, your brain always processes that as danger."
"I used food as a way to cope....I'd eat anything and everything, sometimes until I passed out. But then, because I had this personality that was driven toward perfectionism, I would tell people I was at the library, but instead go to the gym and exercise for hours and hours and hours. Keeping my behavior a secret was painful and isolating. There was a lot of guilt and a lot of shame," she explained during an interview with Essence in 2009. "I started therapy, which I still do today. I also see a nutritionist and I meditate. Learning how to love myself and my body is a lifelong process. But I definitely don't struggle the way I used to. Therapy helped me realize that maybe it's okay for me to communicate my feelings. Instead of literally stuffing them down with food, maybe it's okay for me to express myself."
"The first time I had a panic attack I was sitting in my friend's house, and I thought the house was burning down. I called my mom and she brought me home, and for the next three years it just would not stop," Emma Stone told the Wall Street Journal in 2015."I would ask my mom to tell me exactly how the day was going to be, then ask again 30 seconds later. I just needed to know that no one was going to die and nothing was going to change."
"I've thought about killing myself all the time. It's always a option and [expletive]," the rapper said during a 2018 interview with The New York Times. "Like Louis C.K. said: I flip through the manual. I weigh all the options...I'm just having this epiphany now, 'cause I didn't do it, but I did think it all the way through. But if I didn't think it all the way through, then it's actually maybe more of a chance of it happening."
"I didn't eat. I stayed in my room. I was in a really bad place in life, going through that lonely period: 'Who am I? Who are my friends?' My life changed," the singer said in a 2006 interview.
"Sometimes I panic to the point where I don't know what I'm thinking or doing," she said during a 2015 interview with Another magazine. "I have a full anxiety attack….I have them all the time anyway, but with auditioning it's bad. I'm so terrified of it."
"A doctor came to set and talked to me for about 30 minutes or 45 minutes and said, 'Jared, I think you're clinically depressed,'" the Supernatural star explained during a 2015 interview with Variety. "'I think I should write you a note and we can shut down production for five days and then we can take it from there.' It kind of hit me like a sack of bricks. I mean, I was 25 years old. I had my own TV show. I had dogs that I loved and tons of friends and I was getting adoration from fans and I was happy with my work, but I couldn’t figure out what it was; it doesn’t always make sense is my point. It’s not just people who can’t find a job, or can’t fit in in society that struggle with depression sometimes."