In today’s world, celebrities are choosing to speak out more and more about their experiences with mental health.
From loneliness to extreme panic, mental heath issues are seemingly becoming more and more common each year. And given the countless turns that the pandemic years have taken, it seems only fitting that we look out for others and realise that even the ‘rich and famous’ struggle with the same issues.
We’ve rounded up 25 celebrities who have openly spoken about their mental health, revealing their own struggles to show how mental health can affect us all—regardless of social status.
Kaley Cuoco shared her struggles in the past with her mental health, particularly during her split from partner Karl Cook, which left her “struggling” with depression.
“Going through my divorce, it was really a super dark time,” the Flight Attendant star told Variety.
“I just didn’t know how to deal with it,” the actress explained. “I was throwing myself into work to deny my depression, and how upset I was. Unfortunately, the character, [Cassandra Bowden], was so depressed that it wasn’t helping me!
“I was really, really, really struggling,” she continued, adding, “A lot of tears.”
When her divorce was finalised, she revealed that she started therapy for the first time, orchestrating an intervention in her trailer despite “really taking pride in being able to do everything” herself.
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.'”
Pretty Little Liars star Troian Bellisario 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 since starred in, written and produced an independent film, Feed, based on her experiences.
In a poignant blog post, Bachelor host Osher Gunsberg 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 has been open 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.
“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.”
Everybody’s favourite social media queen Chrissy Teigen has 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”.
Teigan has since become a mum again multiple times, and is now loving motherhood.
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 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 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 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 told W 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, having also spoken to Allure magazine.
“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.
“I am not ashamed to say that I see a professional regularly myself,” she told 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.”
“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.
Aussie actress Jessica Marais 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.”
While Gwyneth Paltrow is known for running her wellness empire Goop (alongside her acting prowess) she hasn’t shied away of being open about her postnatal depression. She said, “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.”
Winona Ryder might be a 90s icon and stellar actor, but that hasn’t meant that life has been smooth sailing for her.
She’s said, “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.”
Halle Berry has been open with her battle with mental health. She told Parade magazine of her suicide attempt and how her love for her family stopped her in her tracks.
“[My mother] 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.”
Shields opened up to People about her experience with mental illness and post-partum depression.
After a miscarriage and multiple rounds of IVF, Shields had thought finally giving birth would be the biggest gift, but it took a major toll on her wellbeing and mood. She said, “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.”
For Lena Dunham, anxiety has been a continuing battle, but she has found the tools to battle it.
“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,” she shared on Instagram.
While you might know Ellie Goulding as a bubbly pop star, she has been through a lot with her anxiety over the years.
“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,” she told Flare magazine.
“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.”
Cara Delevingne spoke about her troubled teenage years at the 2015 Women in the World Summit.
“I think I pushed myself so far [at school] that I got to the point where I had a mental breakdown,” she shared.
“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.
“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.”
While Zeta-Jones is a notoriously private person, she has spoken about her bipolar from time to time.
She released a statement when she went to a facility for support, “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 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.”
During an interview with DJ Zane Lowe for Apple Music’s Beats 1 radio, Harry Styles revealed that the struggle to write his latest album inspired him to try out therapy for the first time.
“I think for a really long time, especially when I started coming to California, there was a big thing for me where I felt like everyone went to therapy,” Styles said. “And I think for a long time I was like, ‘I don’t need that.'”
“You know, it’s a very British way of looking at it, I think,” the singer added. “When you’re trying to make music, it’s so navel-gazing. Making an album, I feel like, is the most self-indulgent time you can think of really. Because you’re just like, ‘How do I feel about this?’ I think with the therapy thing, I just realised I was just getting in my own way.”
Selena Gomez shared with Miley Cyrus on Cyrus’ Bright Minded Instagram Live show that she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Gomez had previously spoken out before about getting help for depression and being diagnosed by doctors but had not spoken in detail about the diagnosis.
Gomez told Cyrus she does that in part by talking to friends and “communicating with women I respect. I have a few older women that I look up to that aren’t in the industry. I call them. And I think talking through what it is you’re feeling is extremely helpful, and I think there’s wisdom in all of this in women and with other people.”
“But sometimes I have to feel it, Miley,” Gomez admitted. “Sometimes I’ve got to cry it out and I’ve got to release it and take a deep breath and then remind myself go back to my tools. Okay, where is this coming from? I understand I’m a big empath, so I feel so much of what world is feeling so maybe I need to take a step back from that or whatever it is but also just being there for other people actually helps me too.”
“I discussed that after years of going through a lot of different things, I realised that I was bipolar,” Gomez said. “And so when I go to know more information, it actually helps me. It doesn’t scare me once I know it. I just feel like when I finally said what I was going to say, I wanted to know everything about it and it took the fear away. It was like when my mom—well, when I was younger, I was scared of thunderstorms and my mom bought me all these different books on thunderstorms so she’s like, the more that you educate yourself on this, the more you’re not going to be afraid. And it completely worked. So that’s kind of something that helps me big time.”
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.