The world of the rich and famous isn’t as glitzy and glamorous as you might think. Even celebrities undergo trials, tribulations, and struggles. Being a part of such a high-pressure business is bound to take a toll on a person’s mental health, and many famous faces have admitted to suffering from various disorders. Celebs like Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, and Jon Hamm have been refreshingly open about their experiences.
Whether you suffer from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or something else, hearing prominent figures speak out about mental health issues can help you to feel less alone. Here are 20 brave celebrities who’ve told the world about their struggles and have made serious progress towards breaking down the stigma associated with mental illness.
20. Pete Wentz
Fall Out Boy member Pete Wentz has endured a long and complicated relationship with depression and bipolar disorder. He went through numerous highs and lows during his 20s without realizing he was suffering from a mental illness. He began to self-medicate with alcohol in order to numb the pain and especially struggled in the wake of his divorce from Ashlee Simpson. He’s luckily in a much better place now: he’s keen to let everybody know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. He credits having kids with bringing him true happiness but does fear that his son, Bronx may inherit his condition.
19. Jon Hamm
Mad Men star Jon Hamm has made no secret of his struggle with depression. He’s unashamedly shared that he’s in therapy, and has encouraged those who need it to seek it out. Hamm has also publicly discussed his issues with alcohol that led to a rehab stint back in 2015. He’s been more than complimentary about the help he received and has tried to discourage others from associating professional help with feelings of shame or embarrassment. Many of Hamm’s issues apparently stem from losing both of his parents at a pretty young age. He’s still in therapy to deal with that grief and is doing better than ever. Good for him!
18. Kate Winslet
Back in 2007, Titanic star Kate Winslet made the shocking admission that she’d once suffered from an eating disorder. Her weight loss journey had started pretty sensibly. Aged 15, she spent a year slowly letting the pounds drop off. However, things became problematic shortly afterward. Winslet began to take laxatives to speed up the process and lived on apples, carrots, and black coffee. She eventually realized that her habit was unhealthy and quit her weight loss regime for good. She hasn’t stepped on the scales since 2005 and is perfectly happy with the way she looks. That takes a lot of self-control!
17. Selena Gomez
Back in the summer of 2016, pop princess Selena Gomez canceled the remaining dates of her Revival tour to be admitted into rehab. She was suffering from acute anxiety and depression, two conditions that inhibited her ability to perform. Gomez later admitted that a combination of loneliness and low-self esteem triggered her breakdown. She suffered extreme panic attacks before going on stage and sometimes after performances too. Selena has been remarkably candid about her experiences and hopes to encourage others suffering from these conditions to get the help they need – and deserve. Luckily, the woman herself is doing much better these days thanks to therapy.
16. Wentworth Miller
Former Prison Break star Wentworth Miller was the victim of a cruel meme back in 2010 that mocked his weight gain after leaving the show. Years later, Miller revealed that this incident came at a low point in his mental health when he’d even been contemplating suicide. He’d turned to comfort eating as a coping mechanism, hence his weight gain. While Miller was able to shake the meme off and has since successfully recovered from his depressive spell, he used the post as a warning to creators about the effect their material can have on the mentally ill or vulnerable. Miller is now a Mental Health Ambassador and spends his time trying to help others who are currently struggling.
15. Cara Delevingne
During her teenage years, actress and model Cara Delevingne‘s mental health issues became so severe that she had to be removed from school. She’s been very frank about her past struggles and has even shared that in her darkest moments, she contemplated ending her life. Delevingne suffered from extremely low self-esteem at this time and was overwhelmed by depressive thoughts. She also suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) which majorly impacted her ability to concentrate. Cara got through her tough teenage years, however, and is now a vocal activist regarding mental health issues in young people.
14. Zayn Malik
Former One Direction star Zayn Malik has had his fair share of mental health troubles. In the past, he suffered from anxiety so severe that it totally prevented him from performing live. At the same time, he also suffered from an eating disorder brought on by the pressure of being in the public eye. Zayn’s eating issues were apparently a consequence of a need for control in his life. While he couldn’t always manage his public image and career, he could take control of what he ate. He would sometimes go two or three days without food. After taking a break from the spotlight to recover with his family at home, Zayn managed to overcome his anxiety and disordered eating demons. He now talks about his experiences in order to highlight the fact that men can suffer emotionally and mentally too.
13. Nicole Scherzinger
Ex-Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger has been bravely open about her battle with bulimia. Her eating disorder began when she was just 14 years old but was at its worst during Scherzinger’s time in her successful girl band. She would go running in the middle of the night in an attempt to get “thinner thighs,” and constantly obsess over the way she looked. Scherzinger has since admitted that her disorder took away her “happiness, confidence, and memories” and began to control her life. After the disease began to claim her singing voice and led to her passing out while on tour, Nicole realized that she needed to enter recovery. She’s now doing much better and frequently speaks out about the unrealistic expectations of beauty presented by the media.
12. Amanda Seyfried
Mean Girls actress Amanda Seyfried has been very candid about her experiences with OCD and anxiety. Her OCD created such severe health anxiety that Seyfried mistakenly became convinced she’d developed a brain tumor and insisted upon seeing a neurologist. Likewise, she resorted to alcohol to mask her anxiety, leading to a very embarrassing drunk appearance on Letterman back in 2012. Seyfried knew that something needed to change and decided to seek therapy. She’s a vocal advocate of mental health medications, having been on a low-dose antidepressant since she was 19 years old. Seyfried speaks very positively about medication and wants to help to challenge the stigma that often surrounds it.
11. Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder is sick to death of the stigma that surrounds mental health issues. She first opened up about her own anxiety and depression in 1999 and has been an advocate for related causes ever since. She’s particularly against the portrayal of mental health sufferers as ‘weak’ or ‘overly sensitive.’ These are labels Ryder has had to shake off herself over the years and still struggles to escape to this day. She initially felt shame about her conditions but decided to speak out to show other sufferers that they weren’t alone. It was a brave move that empowered both Ryder herself and other victims of anxiety and depression.
10. Kristen Stewart
While Twilight star Kristen Stewart has thankfully fully recovered from her anxiety issues, she’s spoken about just how debilitating the condition can be. Stewart would regularly have panic attacks both on and off set and experienced constant stomach pain due to the condition. The worst trigger for her anxiety was having a lack of control over her career and her public persona, something that very often comes with being in the public eye. Stewart believes that her experience of anxiety ultimately made her emotionally stronger. However, it was still pretty horrific to endure, especially when her career was only just taking off.
9. Sarah Silverman
World-famous comedian Sarah Silverman has suffered from depression since the tender age of 13. Her mental health issues began with panic attacks before escalating into all-consuming low moods that would take over Silverman’s life. Her initial recovery period was fraught. She was overmedicated, and her first therapist committed suicide. However, the teenage Silverman managed to temporarily put depression behind her. Unfortunately, her issues returned when she began working on Saturday Night Live. This time, Silverman turned to the medication Zoloft and hasn’t looked back since. She wants to use her public voice to reassure fellow sufferers that things can – and will – get better.
8. Ellen DeGeneres
After famously coming out as gay on her show Ellen back in 1997, comedian and generally wonderful human being Ellen DeGeneres faced a huge backlash. The homophobia that she endured had a severe effect on her mental health. Being faced with so much hatred sent DeGeneres spiraling into a deep depression. While she doesn’t regret her decision to share her sexuality, she has stated that nobody really realized just how bad things got. Her issues also manifested as intense anger, an emotion that she struggled to cope with. However, Ellen pushed through the bad times and eventually shook off the damaging words of her detractors. Good for her!
7. Halle Berry
When Halle Berry‘s marriage to David Justice collapsed in 1997, her mental health rapidly declined. The divorce triggered a bout of depression so severe that the actress even contemplated ending her life. Her self-esteem was minimal and the pain was so severe that her mental wellbeing reached critical levels. Luckily, Berry decided not to give in to her urges. Instead, she underwent therapy and gave herself the time that she needed to heal. When her second marriage ended nearly ten years later, Berry had built up the self-care techniques she needed to avoid slipping into a depression once again. She believes that time is the greatest healer, and encourages everybody to seek out the help that they require.
6. Ellie Goulding
Pop star Ellie Goulding is perhaps most famous for her ill-fated dalliance with Ed Sheeran and her official membership of Taylor Swift‘s squad. However, Goulding has also made a name for herself as a vocal mental health advocate. The high-pressure environment of the music industry combined with a low self-esteem led to Goulding developing severe anxiety. She experienced panic attacks that could seemingly be triggered by absolutely anything. Eventually, she admitted to herself and her loved ones that she was struggling emotionally and mentally and worked hard to develop her confidence. Goulding is a particular advocate of recovery through exercise: she took up kickboxing as a part of her treatments, and says its positive effect on her state of mind is staggering.
5. Hayden Panettiere
The birth of a child should be a joyous occasion for any new parent. However, all too often post-partum depression mars the experience of motherhood. Nashville actress Hayden Panettiere suffered from this condition following the birth of her first child, Kaya, and has spoken of how isolated and depressed she truly felt at the time. She has made her experience public knowledge in order to reassure other sufferers that they’re not alone: post-partum depression is more common than you’d think. Panettiere eventually overcame her low moods through extensive treatment. She channeled her experiences into her role as country crooner Juliette Barnes, who undergoes the same condition after her child is born.
4. David Beckham
Famous footballer David Beckham revealed back in 2006 that he suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder. The condition has led to Beckham totally rearranging rooms and lining up drinks to make everything look ‘perfect.’ He was pretty honest in this first interview, revealing that he still hadn’t managed to get his illness under control. Things have improved for Beckham in the last decade with regards to his mental health, but he fears that his OCD will affect him for the rest of his life. However, he’s proved that you can suffer from a debilitating disease and still have a successful career and a happy home life. That’s certainly something to celebrate!
3. Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga is a remarkably honest woman. She isn’t afraid to tackle difficult subjects and is incredibly open about pretty much everything in her life. It’s therefore unsurprising that she’s one of the most candid mental health advocates out there. She’s experienced depression and anxiety in the past but has most notably discussed the post-traumatic stress disorder that she developed in the wake of a sexual assault. Her testimony is brave, moving, and powerful. Gaga wanted to draw attention to this often-overlooked mental illness, and reassure sufferers that they’re not alone in their struggle. She’s done a pretty good job of it!
2. Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato has always been open about her numerous struggles with mental health issues. The singer was diagnosed with bipolar disorder back in 2011 and has also suffered from an eating disorder, self-harm, and addiction issues. However, she’s now well on the road to recovery. Lovato uses her platform as a pop star to campaign for better treatment for and understanding of mental health issues. She’s a Global Citizen ambassador for mental health, with a particular focus on the struggles of children in Iraq, Syria, and other displaced communities. Lovato has often used her mental health problems as inspiration in her music: her song “Warrior” is especially poignant in this regard.
1. Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio has struggled with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder for the majority of his adult life. He’s spoken about the various compulsions that he experiences, including having to walk through doorways multiple times and step on every chewing gum stain he sees. However, he particularly suffered when he had to play a character who suffered from OCD, Howard Hughes in The Aviator. Apparently, he found it so hard to get out of character that he made his own condition worse. Luckily, DiCaprio has managed to get his condition mostly under control. He’s undergone extensive treatment, and now speaks out about OCD to reduce the stigma that surrounds the disease.