Many celebrities have in one way or the other battled depression while pursing their careers. It’s easy to mistake celebrities as having it all, but neither fame nor fortune immunizes celebrities against the ravages of depression and mood disorders.
Many of them, however, have decided to put their “perfect” image aside and use their platform to speak out about mental health.
These 10 celebrities on this list are only a handful of those who have battled depression and have spoken out about their illnesses without shame.
During the 1990s, Brad Pitt was rising to fame in films like Fight Club and Interview with a Vampire. At the same time, he was sinking into a deep depression that left him irritated, isolated, and drawn to heavy marijuana use. In an interview, Pitt described his bout of depression as “one of the seasons or a semester.”
He explained: “This semester I was majoring in depression. I was doing the same thing every night and numbing myself to sleep, the same routine. Couldn’t wait to get home and hide out. But that feeling of unease was growing and one night I just said, ‘This is a waste.”
After the second of his two failed marriages, Carrey sought the help of a psychiatrist who prescribed him Prozac. Though Carrey admits the antidepressant helped him out of an initial jam, he also realized that he couldn’t be one of those who stay on the drug forever.
“I had to get off Prozac at a certain point,” said Carrey. “You need to get out of bed every day and say that life is good. That’s what I did, although at times it was very difficult for me.” Carrey credits a healthy diet and natural supplements for his improved mental health.
The pop star recently revealed, “I’ve suffered through depression and anxiety my entire life. I just want these kids to know that… this modern thing, where everyone is feeling shallow and less connected? That’s not human,” she said
Lady Gaga hasn’t been shy about too many things, least of all her long battle with mental illness.
The “Born This Way” artist has beaten her depression, and has said, “I learned that my sadness never destroyed what was great about me. You just have to go back to that greatness, find that one little light that’s left. I’m lucky I found one little glimmer stored away.” Today, Lady Gaga works hard as an advocate for mental health.
Her Born This Way Foundation seeks to empower youth, inspire bravery, and provide resources for young people dealing with depression, severe anxiety, and even bullying.
The ‘Pirate of the Caribbean’ actor talked about the impact of going through a number of struggles in his private life had on him, admitting that he was feeling extremely “low”.
“I was as low as I believe I could have gotten, I couldn’t take the pain every day ” Depp said in an interview
He added that, ‘you’re going to arrive somewhere with your eyes open and you’re going to leave there with your eyes closed.’
The actor’s financial woes started almost a decade ago. He stated that he is suing Joel Mandel, his former business partner along with his brother Robert for “negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud.”
Angelina Jolie-Pitt revealed she was a seriously depressed teenager. Jolie-Pitt, who has always been very open about her bouts with mental illness, has even revealed that her depression included cutting herself and hiring a hit man to kill her.
Though things improved for the actress after finding Hollywood success and becoming a mother, Jolie-Pitt found herself engulfed in another depression in 2007, after losing her mother to cancer. This time, she took another route back to good health, accepting the lead role in the action flick “Wanted” in order to do “something physical” and get out of her own head.
In his memoir, The Way I Am, Eminem goes into detail about his battle with depression more than a decade ago.
Though the rapper grew up through tough circumstances, in 2006 he found himself reeling after the murder of his close friend and D12 member Proof. His continuously rocky relationship with his ex-wife wasn’t helping either.
Eminem recalled, “I have never felt so much pain in my life. It was tough for me to even get out of bed and I had days when I couldn’t walk, let alone write a rhyme.”
Katy released her fifth studio album last year, and while it topped the album charts in the US, it received mixed reviews from critics and fans alike. As well as this, Witness didn’t produce any number one hits, unlike her biggest record Teenage Dream which produced six – its lead single chained to the rhythm peaked at number four.
Katy has admitted that the reaction to Witness ‘broke her heart’, causing her bouts of depression.
“I have had bouts of situational depression and my heart was broken last year because, unknowingly, I put so much validity in the reaction of the public and the public didn’t react in the way I had expected to, which broke my heart.
‘Music is my first love and I think it was the universe saying: “Okay, you speak all of this language about self-love and authenticity, but we are going to put you through another test and take away any kind of validating ‘blankie’. Then we’ll see how much you do truly love yourself”.”
Katy added that she is doing much better now, and said that her mental health struggles gave her a ‘wholeness I never had’.
“Everything that I ever feared happened to me,” Degeneres later recalled.
“I lost my show. I’ve been attacked like hell. I went from making a lot of money on a sitcom to making no money. When I walked out of the studio after five years of working so hard, knowing I had been treated so disrespectfully for no other reason than I was gay, I just went into this deep, deep depression.” But the comedienne persevered, continuing in the industry, and ultimately finding acceptance and happiness with an Emmy-winning talk show.
The actor famous for roles like Han Solo and Indiana Jones experienced feelings that fit the description of depression (though he’s never actually used the word) during his childhood and college years. A very shy child, Ford was repeatedly beaten up by his peers for years. Even in college he didn’t fit in, and as a result sunk into a slump that included sleeping long hours, missing classes, and struggling academically. Finally, he was expelled from school. Things didn’t turn around for Ford until his junior year of college, when he signed up for a drama class and began the journey of overcoming his shyness.
Though it was reported only 11 weeks later that Wilson had been upset about his breakup with actress Kate Hudson and had since “bounced back” by spending time with family and close friends.
The actor took the opportunity to come clean about his years-long battle with depression and drug addiction.
Wilson has since slowed his career to focus on his health, and credits antidepressants and his two young sons with keeping him grounded.