From Kelly Clarkson to Ryan Reynolds, these prim perfect Hollywood stars have managed to handle their mental health issues well and avoid negative headlines.
The price of fame could be too much to handle for some. It’s no wonder when it comes to Hollywood, there are not just a few, but many stars tarnished their reputation with headlines about their antics or a brush with the law. In some cases like Britney Spears‘ and Amanda Bynes‘, the roots of their problems were their disturbed psychological well-beings.
A more recent example is Demi Lovato. Battling substance addictions, bulimia and bipolar disorder, the former Disney star shocked many when she entered rehab in 2010 at just 18. Still, after a successful six-year run on sobriety, she relapsed and even came close to going six-feet under due to drug overdose in July 2018. A source said that the “Sober” singer gave in to her old habits to quiet the noise of such high level of popularity. She has since been in rehab and has got candid on social media about her difficult journey ahead.
But unlike Demi and the above mentioned stars who fell from grace before they managed to seek help, a number of celebrities dealt with their inner demons before their illness got exposed and caused them bigger issues. In their cases, these celebrities chose their own sweet time to divulge the once-taboo issue that has caused them pain especially under the scrutiny of the ignorants.
Amid the rising awareness of mental health issues, let’s take a look at these stars who have quietly battled depression, anxiety and other psychological illness while still maintaining their good images.
1. Nicole Kidman
Even someone as graceful and elegant as Nicole Kidman can be so nervous and overwhelmed when it comes to making appearance in public. That led her to suffering from panic attacks. Back when she was still married to Tom Cruise, he would calm her down on the red carpet. “I panic in front of all the cameras. My hands start shaking and I have trouble breathing. Tom would always whisper to me that everything was all right,” she revealed in 2002.
It only got worse following her divorce with the “Mission: Impossible” actor in 2001. Attending the “Moulin Rouge” premiere at the Cannes Film Festival with her sister not long after their split, the 51-year-old actress had one of her worst moments. “I came out of the cinema and I was wearing this Yves Saint Laurent corset dress. Suddenly there were all these people bearing down on me and lots of lights. I was so panicked I just couldn’t breathe,” she said. “She [her sister] took my hand, turned me around and led me back inside to the ladies loo. There she undid my corset, took off my shoes, held me in her arms and told me that everything was going to be OK.”
2. Kelly Clarkson
One of the most successful “American Idol” alums, Kelly Clarkson transformed herself from a nobody to a beloved pop star with her talent and hard works. But when talent and hard work weren’t enough for her to thrive in the business, it cost her her peaceful state of mind. Opening up in an interview with Attitude magazine, the “Because of You” hitmaker revealed there was a huge pressure within the music industry to look a “certain way.”
The pressure led her to develop an eating disorder and suicidal thoughts. “I was miserable, like inside and out, for four years of my life. But no one cared, because aesthetically you make sense,” she said, and as a result, she “became thin.” She added that people had no idea that she was “happy” because she “appeared healthy.”
3. Chrissy Teigen
When you mention Chrissy Teigen, one may think of a sexy, wild and brazen woman. Mental health issue, however, isn’t being picky about who should fall as its victims. The 32-year-old model developed postpartum depression after giving birth to her daughter Luna, despite all the support system that she has, including her loving husband John Legend and her close-knit family.
Detailing her condition at the time, she revealed in 2017 that “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.” She felt so “unhappy,” but couldn’t figure out the reason. The depression was eating her up “inside for months and months” before went to see doctors. During that period, her husband John remained supportive while she received treatment for her PPD.
4. Emma Stone
In Emma Stone‘s case, popularity can’t be blamed for the origin of her problem. Having been dreaming of an acting career since she was a kid, the Gwen Stacy of “The Amazing Spider-Man” film series has been dealing with panic attacks since she was 7 years old, which caused a decline in her social skills, and always struggled with it growing up.
Fortunately, her parents noticed her issue and brought her to seek professional’s help, but her therapist and her parents didn’t tell her about her diagnosis at the time. “I am very grateful I didn’t know that I had a disorder. I wanted to be an actor and there weren’t a lot of actors who spoke about having panic attacks,” she said about how being in therapy could be seen as “embarrassing or shameful.” Crediting her participation in local theater plays for helping her cure the attacks, the 29-year-old still continues with her therapy sessions even to this day.
5. Dwayne Johnson
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is probably one of the hardest working and most ambitious actors in Hollywood. Known for his tough guy roles in many films like “The Scorpion King” and “The Fast and the Furious” franchise, the former wrestler manages to always stay positive and has set an example of good work ethic. Thus, his revelation of his struggles with depression came as a complete shock to many.
The 46-year-old star hit the lowest point when his injuries shattered his dreams of becoming a professional football player. He was let go from the Canadian Football League and, making matter worse, his then-girlfriend broke up with him. “I reached a point where I didn’t want to do a thing or go anywhere,” he told the Express. “I was crying constantly.” Urging people to voice their own struggles, he said, “Took me a long time to realize it but the key is to not be afraid to open up.”
6. Kirsten Dunst
Having started her acting career when she was three years old, Kirsten Dunst perhaps had gone through a lot of hard times before she succumbed to all the pressure. She voluntarily checked into the Cirque Lodge Treatment Center in Utah in February 2008, amid rumors of drug and alcohol abuse. Since it wasn’t long after Heath Ledger‘s death, some also linked Dunst’s rehab stint to the “Brokeback Mountain” actor’s tragic passing.
However, in the December 2010/January 2011 issue of BlackBook, the Mary Jane of Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” trilogy described her depression as a cause of “totally ridiculous expectations people put on actors.” She went on talking about her struggle, “I know what it’s like to lose yourself, to no longer know the difference between right or wrong.”
7. J.K. Rowling
Just when you think money is the answer, J.K. Rowling shows that being rich does not necessarily make someone’s life at ease. First dealing with depression when her first marriage to a television journalist crumbled after just two years, she turned to pen and paper to channel her inner demons which later inspired several characters in the “Harry Potter” book series.
But after the books became a massive success, a new problem arose. As her characters are adored by fans, she faced the onslaught of requests and letters from charities and fans begging for help and support. Not able to cope with it, she admitted that she felt suicidal before she turned to therapy, which helped her a lot. “I’m a big fan of it, it helped me a lot,” she shared.
8. Ryan Reynolds
A goofy person who often makes people laugh with his silly jokes, Ryan Reynolds presents himself as a witty guy. Who would’ve guessed that despite his charm, confidence and sense of humor, this Canadian star has been struggling with anxiety. “I have anxiety, I’ve always had anxiety,” he admitted to the Times. He would get a stomachache before every appearance and often wake up in the middle of the night feeling paralyzed by anxiety about both his present and his uncertain future.
In his 20s, he tried to numb his anxiety with partying and self-medicating, but he had a wake-up call after several friends died of overdoses. These days, the Deadpool depicter would use meditation to clear his mind. The 41-year-old actor also credited his wife Blake Lively for his newfound happiness, gushing, “She gets me a lot.”
9. Keira Knightley
Keira Knightley rose to worldwide stardom in 2002 after starring in “Bend It Like Beckham”, but that’s also when her psychological issue began. “I did have a mental breakdown at 22, so I did take a year off there and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder because of all of that stuff,” she revealed to The Hollywood Reporter. The British actress claimed the pressure of her early success was the cause of her PTSD, making her feel “worthless.”
Regularly being hounded by paparazzi, she would be confused by the press’ negative reactions to her works despite the award nominations that she got. “And again, I was 19 – you can only hear the negative stuff,” she stressed. After “going deep into therapy,” she returned to work and she has since “felt better.” Sharing another key to her better state of mind, she said she “didn’t care [about the views of others.]”
10. Selena Gomez
Even after she transformed herself from an innocent child star into a sexy young lady, Selena Gomez is still known for her goody-goody image. But it can’t be denied that things have been hard for her with her not-so-lucky romance with Justin Bieber, her strained relationship with her mother and her battle with lupus. The latest of which forced her to get kidney transplantation in the summer of 2017, but the problems didn’t stop there.
Her health deteriorated in the last week of September, sending her to the hospital twice in two weeks. The condition apparently took its toll on her emotional well-being and during her latest hospitalization the “Wolves” songstress reportedly had a mental breakdown. She has since retreated from all public activities to focus on her health and seek treatment. It was not the first time though for Selena to enter a rehab. Back in 2014, she also went to rehab after she was diagnosed with lupus.