To the outside world, our favourite celebrities may appear to lead the perfect lives, with no worries or problems to deal with. However, a huge number of famous faces have opened up about their mental health struggles, from anxiety to depression and panic attacks, in order to lose the stigma surrounding these conditions and show we’re not alone. And they’re right; mental health problems affect one in four people in the UK each year, while in England, one in six people report experiencing a common mental health problem such as anxiety and depression in any given week. Scroll through the gallery to see some of the stars who have spoken out about their own mental health issues, including both royalty and Hollywood royalty…
Even Hollywood stars struggle with anxiety. Emma Stone spoke candidly in an interview with her friend Jennifer Lawrence about her life-long struggle with anxiety in 2018, saying that acting has been her saviour. Emma reveals how her anxiety first started age seven, when she had her first panic attack. "I think your wiring is just kind of what you are. My mom always says that I was born with my nerves outside of my body." The La La Land star added: "I am sensitive on a level that is problematic." She added: "I mean, I’ve talked to my therapist about it before, and she’s like, Thank God you found [acting]."
As an ambassador for mental health Mind, Fearne Cotton has been incredibly open about her own experiences of anxiety, depression and panic attacks. The TV and radio presenter has credited her husband Jesse Wood for helping her to beat depression, telling Red: "We’d only been together a few years when the bad bit came. But we had what felt like such a game-changing, world-stopping love for each other that we said, 'Nothing else matters, whatever carnage happens, we’ll get through it.' We’ve both been able to really support each other through that."
Loose Women star Stacey Solomon says her healthy anxiety can be "debilitating", and means she used to spend up to six hours a day worrying about death. Writing in her column for The Sun, Stacey explained: "Bedtime is when I get most anxious because I have time to contemplate. I’m also more likely to question my mortality and catastrophise if I’ve seen or heard something upsetting about somebody."
However, after seeing a therapist and her GP, Stacey has now found ways to manage her anxiety. “Now I recognise a pattern, and have been able to see my triggers. Before bed I try and read the most brain-hurty, intelligent book I can. One that’s so hard to read no other thoughts can creep into my mind. After 10 pages I’m usually exhausted and fall asleep,” she explained.
Claire Foy believes her anxiety has hindered her when looking for work as she has been plagued by self-criticism and intrusive thoughts. "When you have anxiety, you have anxiety about - I don't know - crossing the road," she told the Guardian's Weekend magazine. "The thing about it is, it's not related to anything that would seem logical. It's purely about that feeling in the pit of your stomach, and the feeling that you can't, because you're 'this' or you're 'that'. It's my mind working at a thousand beats a second, and running away with a thought."
Social situations can cause Loose Women star Andrea McLean to become "panicky", but she has learned to manage her condition through meditation, using the Headspace app to encourage peaceful thoughts. The mum-of-two also revealed she had read books about the condition to understand it further, telling her followers on Instagram: "I love the concept of making the thing we fear most into something beautiful."
Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas also relies on meditation to help ease her anxiety. Speaking in a candid interview with Top Sante, she explained: "I've had anxiety in the past and two years ago I wasn't in a great place. Without a stable mind, it's difficult for anything else to function.” Shirley added: “I meditate and take time for controlled breathing. This was especially useful when I started Strictly - my first TV job."
Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain shared an emotional video after suffering a panic attack in November 2018, in a bid to show her followers they aren’t alone. “There I was helpless again, victim to my anxiety, I could not breathe, move or wash. It was disgusting and embarrassing and I always feel sad and ashamed that I let it get me again,” she said, adding: "But today is another day and I am going to try and do as many normal things as is physically possible. For anyone suffering, remember you are not alone, I am with you so many of us are with you."
Prince Harry opened up about his own mental health issues, and revealed that he suffered from panic attacks in the aftermath of his mother Princess Diana's death. "In my case, suit and tie, every time I was in any room with loads of people, which is quite often, I was just pouring with sweat, like heart beating – boom, boom, boom, boom – and literally like a washing machine," the Prince told Forces TV. "I was like, 'Oh my God, get me out of here now.' Oh hang on, I can't get out of here, I have got to just hide it."
McFly drummer Harry Judd credits exercise with helping him to deal with anxiety, panic attacks and OCD, and spoke out about his experiences during an appearance on BBC Breakfast.
"Talking and sharing is SO important to destroying the stigma of mental health so that people feel empowered to seek out help and find their own way of dealing with their challenges," he wrote on Instagram.
"For me, exercise is the key to keeping myself feeling balanced, in control and happy, which is why I called my book #GetFitGetHappy."
Chrissy Teigen wrote an essay for US Glamour magazine explaining how she had struggled following the birth of her daughter Luna. "What basically everyone around me - but me - knew up until December was this: I have postpartum depression," she wrote.
Fitness has become a big part of Ellie Goulding's life for more reasons than one. The singer says that exercise has helped to ease the anxiety and panic attacks she suffered after becoming famous in 2010. "I think part of what sparked my panic attacks was not feeling confident enough to believe in myself—I was scared I wasn’t as good of a singer as everyone thought I was. And as the stakes grew, I was afraid of letting everyone, including myself, down," Ellie wrote in an open letter.
Teen star Bella Thorne told fans that she believed she had depression in a since-deleted tweet posted on 4 April. The 19-year-old tweeted: "Came to the conclusion that I struggle with depression :/ you aren't alone."
Cara Delevingne confessed to feeling suicidal as a teenager and became depressed after putting too much pressure on herself. "I think I pushed myself so far, I got to the point where I had a bit of a mental breakdown," Cara said in 2015. "I have very bad learning disabilities so I got to the point where I went a bit mad. I was completely suicidal, didn't want to live any more, I thought that I was completely alone."
In December 2016 Lady Gaga revealed she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after suffering from sexual abuse when she was a teenager. "I suffer from PTSD," the singer admitted on the Today Show. "I've never told anyone that before, so here we are. But the kindness that's shown to me by doctors as well as my family, and my friends, it's really saved my life."
Selena Gomez took some time out of the spotlight to focus on her anxiety issues, which she said were a side-effect of her struggle with Lupus. "Around a year ago I revealed that I have Lupus, an illness that can affect people in different ways," she said at the time. "I've discovered that anxiety, panic attacks and depression can be side effects of Lupus, which can present their own challenges."
Ryan Reynolds credited his wife Blake Lively for helping to "keep me sane" when he suffered with intense anxiety while filming Deadpool. "I never, ever slept. Or I was sleeping at a perfect right angle – just sitting straight, constantly working at the same time. By the time we were in post [production], we'd been to Comic-Con, and people went crazy for it. The expectations were eating me alive." He added: "Blake helped me through that. I'm lucky to have her around just to keep me sane."
Frankie Bridge has become one of mental health charity Mind's celebrity ambassadors after opening up about her experiences of depression. The mum-of-two said she spent years feeling "worthless" and "isolated" despite her success, and was admitted to a rehabilitation clinic in 2011. "I felt anxious all the time and I was having panic attacks; I knew there was something wrong," Frankie said in an interview in 2014.
Demi Lovato has talked candidly about her eating disorder and self harming, previously saying it was a way of "expressing my own shame, of myself, on my own body". She once said: "There were some times where my emotions were just so built up, I didn't know what to do. The only way that I could get instant gratification was through an immediate release on myself."
Actress Hayden Panettiere has twice entered a treatment facility in order to address the postpartum depression she has suffered with since the birth of her daughter Kaya in December 2014. Confirming her decision to seek treatment in May 2016, Hayden said in a statement: "The postpartum depression I have been experiencing has impacted every aspect of my life. Rather than stay stuck due to unhealthy coping mechanisms I have chosen to take time to reflect holistically on my health and life. Wish me luck!"
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