- 10 Celebrities Who Have Opened Up About Struggles with Mental Health
- Michael Phelps – ADHD
- Kesha – Eating Disorder, Anxiety, & Depression
- Zayn Malik – General Anxiety Disorder
- Demi Lovato – Bipolar Disorder
- Steve Young – Social Anxiety Disorder
- Amanda Seyfried – General Anxiety Disorder & OCD
- Dan Reynolds – Clinical Depression
- Adele – Postpartum Depression
- Leonardo DiCaprio – OCD
- Lady Gaga – PTSD, Depression, and Anxiety
- 10 Famous People with Depression — GoodTherapy.org Therapy Blog
- Find a Therapist for Depression
- 1. Abraham Lincoln
- 2. Ellen DeGeneres
- 3. Dwayne Johnson
- 4. Lady Gaga
- 5. Buzz Aldrin
- 6. J.K. Rowling
- 7. Wayne Brady
- 8. Princess Diana
- 9. Michael Phelps
- 10. Kristen Bell
10 Celebrities Who Have Opened Up About Struggles with Mental Health
Whether you’re a famous athlete, lauded performer, or an average person who enjoys doing everyday activities, we’re all human.
Despite the fame, wealth, and status, celebrities are human just all of us, and they too can suffer from symptoms of mental health disorders.
As the stigma around mental health continues to evaporate as we become more progressive and open as a society, many of today’s biggest stars have gone on record to share their experiences and struggles with all of us.
Through their courage to tell their stories, we’ve been able to talk more openly and frankly in order to raise healthy awareness about current mental health treatments and the importance of support.
Without further ado, here are ten celebrities who have opened up about their struggles with mental health.
Michael Phelps – ADHD
Michael Phelps is an American swimmer who has won a record-breaking 19 Olympic medals throughout his impressive career. He is one of the world’s most famous athletes, and he also lives with attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder, commonly known as ADHD, which he was diagnosed with at age 9.
“I simply couldn’t sit still, because it was difficult for me to focus on one thing at a time,” Phelps wrote in his autobiography Beneath the Surface: My Story. “I had to be in the middle of everything.”
As a direct result of his battle, Phelps started The Michael Phelps Foundation, an organization that has introduced swimming to more than 15,000 children through the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Special Olympics.
Kesha – Eating Disorder, Anxiety, & Depression
Kesha Rose Sebert is an American singer and songwriter. She first rose to prominence in 2009 as a result of her hit single “Tik Tok.”
During the 2017 holiday season, she penned an article for Time about the difficulty of dealing with mental health issues through the holidays.
“It was during the holidays when I hit a low moment and with the help of my mother decided to seek help for my eating disorder,” the singer wrote in the article.
“I’ve battled a lot of things, including anxiety and depression,” Kesha said in an interview with Billboard in 2016. “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.”
Zayn Malik – General Anxiety Disorder
As an original member of the popular boy band One Direction, Zayn Malik was rocketed into the limelight at just 18 years old.
In 2016, Malik wrote an article for Time ( his memoir, “Zayn”) in which he discusses his battle with anxiety in great detail.
“Anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of; it affects millions of people every day. When I was in One Direction, my anxiety issues were huge but, within the safety net of the band, they were at least manageable,” he wrote.
As a solo performer, I felt much more exposed, and the psychological stress of performing had just gotten to be too much for me to handle — at that moment, at least. Rather than hiding away, sugar-coating it, I knew I had to put it all out there.”
Demi Lovato – Bipolar Disorder
Now 28-years old, Demi Lovato has been a public figure since childhood, when she was a popular face on multiple Disney properties throughout the late 2000s.
At 18, Lovato came forward about her history of addiction, an eating disorder, cutting, and depression. During a television interview with ABC News, she revealed that it was during her treatment for those issues that she was formally diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
It was during that time that Lovato learned key coping skills and began to adopt ways to control and understand her emotions.
“For the first time in my life, I started to feel,” she said.
Steve Young – Social Anxiety Disorder
Steve Young is a three-time Super Bowl Champion NFL quarterback who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005. All this, he was able to accomplish despite suffering from severe Social Anxiety Disorder.
In his autobiography “QB: My Life Behind the Spiral,” he opened up about the condition that affected him behind the scenes for most of his life.
In a 2017 interview with CBS News, Young said “As a kid, I was fearless during the day,” Young said. “But at nighttime, I needed to be home. People would say, ‘Hey, sleep over Eddie’s house.’ ‘No.’ I don’t want to do that. I didn’t know what that was. But as I learned in my 30s, it’s a genetic thing. It’s sprinkled all throughout my mom’s family.”
Amanda Seyfried – General Anxiety Disorder & OCD
A native of Allentown, Pennsylvania, Amanda Seyfried is an accomplished actress with over 54 credits under her belt. Behind the scenes, she has been very open about her anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
In an interview with Allure, she confidently stated, “You don’t see the mental illness: It’s not a mass; it’s not a cyst. But it’s there.
I had pretty bad health anxiety that came from the OCD and thought I had a tumor in my brain. I had an MRI, and the neurologist referred me to a psychiatrist.
As I get older, the compulsive thoughts and fears have diminished a lot. Knowing that a lot of my fears are not reality-based really helps.”
Dan Reynolds – Clinical Depression
Dan Reynolds is the lead singer of the popular alternative rock band Imagine Dragons, but despite his commercial success and rewarding musical career, Reynolds once described himself as “depressed as hell.”
Since 2012, Reynolds has been brutally honest about his battle with Clinical Depression. In 2015, he spoke with Us Weekly about his condition.
“That’s a scary thing when you get everything that you could have wanted but yet you still feel an emptiness because, at that point, you think, ‘Oh man, if this doesn’t fill it, then I don’t know where to look anymore.”
On the brighter side of things, Reynolds also says his role as a husband and father has motivated him to make positive lifestyle changes. “That made me feel I needed to reevaluate my life and find a deeper appreciation for it.”
Adele – Postpartum Depression
Countless hit songs and a prominent role in the music industry since 2006 has earned Adele multiple awards and a reputation as one of the most influential women in music. Yet in 2015, she opened up to Vanity Fair about her battles with postpartum depression.
“I had really bad postpartum depression after I had my son, and it frightened me,” the singer explained. “I’m very available to depression. I can slip in and it quite easily. It started when my granddad died, when I was about 10, and while I never had a suicidal thought, I have been in therapy, lots.”
Leonardo DiCaprio – OCD
Leonardo DiCaprio has been a household name in the entertainment industry for nearly 30 years. Still, it surprises many to learn that the accomplished actor frequently suffers from bouts of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The Oscar-winning heartthrob has admitted that he often feels compelled to walk through doorways numerous times and step on sidewalk stains left by using chewing gum, though he claims he is able to keep these tendencies under control with some practice and regularity.
“I’m able to say at some point, ‘OK, you’re being ridiculous, stop stepping on every gum stain you see. You don’t need to do that. You don’t need to walk 20 feet back and put your foot on that thing. Nothing bad is going to happen,’” DiCaprio stated.
Lady Gaga – PTSD, Depression, and Anxiety
With numerous successes in both singing and acting, Lady Gaga is one of the most famous people in the world. In 2015, she discussed her mental health issues in an interview with Billboard. “I’ve suffered through depression and anxiety my entire life; I still suffer with it every single day,” she stated.
In a 2014 interview with CNN, Gaga came forth about being a victim of a rape that happened when she was 19 years old. “My own trauma in my life has helped me to understand the trauma of others,” she says.
As a direct result of her condition, she founded the Born This Way Foundation in 2012, an organization that builds empowered communities and works to improve mental health resources for young adults.
“I just want these kids to know that that depth that they feel as human beings is normal. We were born that way. This modern thing, where everyone is feeling shallow and less connected? That‘s not human,” she said.
“I openly admit to having battled depression and anxiety and I think a lot of people do,” Gaga said in a 2016 interview with The Mirror. “I think it’s better when we all say: ‘Cheers!’ And ‘fess up to it.”
If you’re interested in being more open about your struggles with mental health, and you have a desire to use that openness to help and influence others, then don’t hesitate to contact the Lehigh Center for Clinical Research in Allentown today.
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10 Famous People with Depression — GoodTherapy.org Therapy Blog
Depression has long been surrounded by stereotype and stigma. Yet the condition is more common than many people realize. One in 10 adults in the United States report having depression. It is the most common cause of disability in the United States. It can affect people from all walks of life.
Many public figures have shared their own experiences with depression and therapy. Some celebrities have used their platforms to create a dialogue around mental health. Archival documents have led experts to include historical figures in the conversation.
Find a Therapist for Depression
Although depression can be challenging, you are not alone in the struggle. Below are the voices and stories of 10 public figures who have been open about their depression:
1. Abraham Lincoln
“If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on earth.”
Many accounts from friends and family described Lincoln as having a melancholy demeanor. Lincoln himself wrote often about his persistent despair. Modern clinicians agree the symptoms that show up on documents about Lincoln point to what we know today as clinical depression.
2. Ellen DeGeneres
“I can’t believe I came back from that point. I can’t believe where my life is now.”
Ellen DeGeneres is known today for her daytime talk show Ellen and for being a leading advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. Yet when she came out as a lesbian in 1997, DeGeneres says she faced extreme bullying and depression. Her sitcom was canceled, and she felt scared and alone. Ellen used therapy, antidepressants, meditation, and exercise to move through depression.
3. Dwayne Johnson
“I found that, with depression, one of the most important things you could realize is that you’re not alone.”
In a 2018 interview, actor Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson says he’s battled depression multiple times. His first bout with depression came at 15 after his mother attempted suicide in front of him. Johnson says his most severe episode happened after injuries forced him to give up his football dream. Johnson encourages people with depression to ask for help, even if being vulnerable feels hard.
4. Lady Gaga
“I’ve suffered through depression and anxiety my entire life, I still suffer with it every single day.”
In a 2015 interview, singer Lady Gaga said she has lived with depression and anxiety her entire life. She is a founder of the Born This Way Foundation, which promotes mental health awareness and anti-bullying campaigns. The foundation also funds research on adolescent mental health.
5. Buzz Aldrin
“I moved from drinking to depression to heavier drinking to deeper depression.”
In his memoir, astronaut Buzz Aldrin described his battle with alcohol abuse and depression. After returning from his mission to the moon, Aldrin felt a loss of purpose and structure in his life.
He divorced his wife and withdrew from society. Aldrin says he used alcohol to numb his feelings.
After getting treatment for alcoholism and depression, Aldrin served as the chairman of the National Association of Mental Health.
6. J.K. Rowling
“We’re talking suicidal thoughts here, we’re not talking ‘I’m a little bit miserable.’ “
The author of the Harry Potter series has been vocal about her past experiences with depression. J.K. Rowling had contemplated suicide during her lowest point. She adds cognitive behavioral therapy helped her move forward. Rowling says she has never been ashamed of depression or of deciding to seek help.
7. Wayne Brady
“If me talking about my personal journey helps someone, it’s all worth it.”
In a 2014 interview, comedian Wayne Brady said people generally assume he and other entertainers are happy all the time. After the death of Robin Williams, Brady felt compelled to come forward with his own story about depression and recovery. Brady acknowledged it can be difficult to ask for help due to cultural stigma.
8. Princess Diana
“Then I was unwell with post-natal depression, which no one ever discusses, post-natal depression, you have to read about it afterwards…”
In a 1995 interview, the Wales princess spoke about her postpartum depression. She recalled days when she didn’t want to get bed. She also had periods when she would engage in self-harm. The princess says she experienced lots of stigma from her family for her condition. However, she still got treatment and recovered.
9. Michael Phelps
“I said to myself so many times, ‘Why didn’t I [get help] 10 years ago?’ “
In a 2018 speech, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps shared his own story of depression. He had an episode of depression “after every Olympics” beginning in 2004.
After the 2012 Olympics, he spent days in his room with little food or sleep, thinking about ending his life. After that episode, he decided to get treatment.
As Phelps talked about his repressed emotions with a mental health professional, he felt much better than before.
10. Kristen Bell
“Anxiety and depression are impervious to accolades or achievements. Anyone can be affected, despite their level of success or their place on the food chain.”
Actress Kristen Bell first developed depression in college. Although she had a successful life, she began to feel isolated and worthless. She credits her mother for telling her it was possible to get help for her symptoms. During treatment, Bell learned to manage her negative thoughts.
If you or a loved one is experiencing depression, you are not alone. Depression can affect people from all walks of life. A therapist can help you improve your mood and regain your sense of self. There is no shame in getting help.
If you or a loved one is in a crisis, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Other crisis resources can be found here.
- Bashin, M. & Diana Windsor. (1995). The Panorama Interview. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/politics97/diana/panorama.html
- Buzz Aldrin’s journey from moon to alcoholism. (2009, June 22). Today. Retrieved from https://www.today.com/popculture/buzz-aldrins-journey-moon-alcoholism-2D80555988#.U71ZqY1dVvB
- Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson: My secret battle with depression. (2018, April 1). Express. Retrieved from https://www.express.co.uk/celebrity-news/939767/Dwayne-the-rock-Johnson-secret-battle-with-depression
- Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson shares inspiring message for people with depression. (2015, November 17). Today. Retrieved from https://www.today.com/health/dwayne-rock-johnson-shares-inspiring-message-people-depression-t56586
- Ellen DeGeneres: I endured ‘bullying’ and ‘severe depression’ after coming out. (2017). Us Magazine. Retrieved from https://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/ellen-degeneres-opens-up-about-bullying-depression-after-coming-out-w497078
- J.K. Rowling contemplated suicide. (2008, March 23). Telegraph. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1582552/JK-Rowling-contemplated-suicide.html
- Kristen Bell: I’m over staying silent about depression. (2016, May 31). Motto. Retrieved from http://time.com/4352130/kristen-bell-frozen-depression-anxiety
- Lady Gaga suffers with depression ‘every single day.’ (2015, October 15). NYLON. Retrieved from https://nylon.com/articles/lady-gaga-depression-anxiety-struggles
- Lincoln’s great depression. (2005). The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2005/10/lincolns-great-depression/304247
- Michael Phelps: ‘I am extremely thankful that I did not take my life.’ (2018, January 20). CNN. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/19/health/michael-phelps-depression/index.html
- Moon man. (2009, June 8). New Jersey Monthly. Retrieved from https://njmonthly.com/articles/jersey-living/moon-man
- Research + Resources (n.d.) Retrieved from https://bornthisway.foundation/research-survey
- Wayne Brady reveals battle with depression. (2014, November 4). CNN. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/04/showbiz/celebrity-news-gossip/wayne-brady-depression/index.html
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