The various distresses and depression of modern lifestyles and environment continually expose many to risks of developing mental disorders.
According to statistics, one in four people can be affected by mental or neurological disorders at different points of their lives. For these reasons, mental health is a prime concern for average people. And not just average people, I mean even the most famous ones – royalty, politicians, celebrities. Yes, they aren’t exempt.
While some may be private about their issues, others are upfront and seek to create awareness on the effects and remedies of such disorders.
In the celebrity world, there are many iconic people who have suffered mental problems and have recovered.
Others are still battling such issues and managing the disorders through the torrid life in the spotlight. Here is a list of popular celebrities who are open about their journey.
1. Elton John
He is one of the most renowned singing artists known for uplifting the spirits of his fans with soulful melodies and lyrics. However, Elton John has had his share of battles with bulimia and substance abuse. Back in 1975, he abused drugs and was also caught up in binge eating that led him to eating uncontrollable amounts of food. Concerns in the media about his increasing weight and negative image that surrounded him only worsened the situation. He ended up experimenting with painful and harmful ways of purging, which did not do him any good.
Through the depression and stress of upholding a respectable celebrity self-image, Elton developed mental disorders, and some thought it was already too late for him to recover. Fortunately, he realized that he needed help and went to rehab. Elton is now clean and sober as he traces his path back to mental clarity and health. Although he still struggles with various symptoms, the future seems quite bright.
2. Selena Gomez
Selena Gomez is proof that even though you’re one of the most followed people on social media, you’re still not exempt from mental illness.
According to Gomez, her mental illness began when she had a kidney transplant to treat lupus, an autoimmune condition, back in 2017. Lupus has the capacity to trigger depression and anxiety, according to The Johns Hopkins Lupus Center, and it makes sense in the case of Gomez. After her transplant, she went to New York to undergo therapy sessions. She felt the need to withdraw from public life and just focus on healing herself. Even now, she’s said to be still visiting her therapist 5 days a week.
3. Zayn Malik
Zayn Malik disclosed his anxiety and panic attacks in his memoirs entitled “Zayn: The Official Autobiography”. He revealed there that there were times he had to cancel some of his concerts and live performances because of his anxiety attacks which diminished his confidence. He also admitted in an interview with Vogue that he can be anxious when in public, especially in big crowds.
Apart from anxiety, he’s also suffered from an eating disorder. There were days he wasn’t eating at all when he was still a part of One Direction.
4. Angelina Jolie
From her many prestigious awards to her extraordinary acting skills, her personal life or social work, Angelina Jolie cannot seem to get away from the public eye. Unfortunately, even fame did not prevent her from falling into homicidal and suicidal ideation during the late 1990’s. Angelina did have insight though and sought professional medical help and advice. She was diagnosed with the presumptive borderline personality disorder, which is a relatively uncommon mental illness. After the diagnosis, she was able to be treated with medications that helped her recover. She now lives a healthy and happy lifestyle although occasional symptoms still plague her.
5. Kendall Jenner
Kendall Jenner is the highest paid model and the youngest billionaire in the world. Unfortunately, money and titles couldn’t protect her from mental disorders.
Jenner has been vocal about her anxiety attacks. She’s never hidden it and she has even talked about it on some episodes of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. She revealed once in the show that she had been through such difficult times of her life that her anxiety had started to become more constant. She also said to one of her friends, Cara Delevingne, that there are times she just wakes up in the middle of the night panicking about everything in her life.
To calm herself, she does transcendental meditation.
6. Miley Cyrus
Being Hannah Montana had never been easy for Miley Cyrus. Cyrus revealed that being herself and being Hannah Montana at the same time affected her young brain, especially during those times she was having the “Best of Both Worlds” tour. She never felt like herself almost all her life, and only when she cut her hair short in 2013 did she feel that.
She has admitted that she only started to suffer from clinical depression when she and Liam Hemsworth, now her husband, broke up in 2010.
7. Ashley Judd
Ashley Judd was and is still a prolific actress in Hollywood with notable films that saw her star rise to dizzying heights. Ashley had a troubled tough time growing up as an abused child. She has confessed to struggling with depression for quite a long time and contemplated hurting herself to soothe her pain. Luckily, she decided to check into a treatment centre that deals with mental illness in Texas where she was diagnosed with a series of stress-related mental issues.
As she put it, she was finally “sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
Her mental disorders included depression, co-dependency, and insomnia, all which caused her pain, distress and isolation. Thankfully, she was able to find the right treatment for her disorders and pursue her dreams of acting in Hollywood. Although she is considered healthy, it is difficult to forget all she has gone through and this sometimes comes with periods of depression and low moods. However, she says no longer suffers sleepless nights and severe depression like she once did.
8. Russell Brand
When looking for British comedians who can display multiple facets of talent, then you can’t get much better than Russell Brand. He is an iconic comedian that many seek to emulate and has had significant success in film and on stage. However, most people are yet to note that Russell constantly battles with ADHD symptoms that range from hyperactivity to inattentiveness and impulsiveness. He has also been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Russell suffered bulimia and weight issues as a child, which stemmed from a traumatic experience. All these led him to depression intertwined with eating disorders as an escape. Fortunately, he was able to overcome the depression and eating disorders to pursue a career that focuses on making people happy.
At a very young age, Beyoncé had experienced bullying, with some guys calling her ‘dumb’, ‘stupid’, and ‘ugly’. However, her depression surfaced when she became a member of Destiny’s Child. She was 17 to 18 years old back then when she began receiving hateful comments and criticisms, and as she has always been a sensitive person, it affected her mental health quite a lot. It even became worse when she was blamed for the disappearance of the two other Destiny’s Child members in the group.
She created an alter ego named Sasha Fierce, and this enabled her to forget the difficulties she has faced in her life when she’s on stage performing.
10. Brooke Shields
When you look among models and actresses, Brooke Shields indeed stands out as one of the most beautiful faces you will see. Her scenes and talent continue to attract many fans across the globe. However, motherhood hit her hard, bringing with it severe depression that could have destroyed her life. These were not the ordinary baby blues you can expect when a model gives birth. The depression was so intense that Brooke did not feel like living any more and was always sad. Brooke was diagnosed with PPD (Postpartum Depression). She quickly learned to manage PPD liaising with professional help and advice as well as medication. She also came out to the public to discuss her experiences and help people who live through the postpartum depression. She is currently well and has been actively involved in activities that raise awareness into helping PPD patients and the stigmatisation it brings.
11. Catherine Zeta-Jones
Catherine regularly talks in public about the stigma of bipolar II disorder and actively helps out sufferers – a role she never intended to take up until she was diagnosed with the same mental illness. According to an expert definition, there is little difference between bipolar I and II since they possess similar symptoms. However, patients with the latter disorder, such as Catherine, do not reach the optimum manic zone and it is less severe.
She was diagnosed with the disorder during a clinic visit where she purportedly took a friend in and decided to get some treatment herself. During the visit, the doctor asked her to describe her symptoms and experiences, and much of what she described were symptoms of a mental disorder. Since this realisation, Zeta-Jones has been helping bipolar sufferers cope with the situation and get through the stigmatisation that comes with it, especially for those in the public eye like herself.
12. Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato has bipolar disorder, which she only discovered when she entered into a rehabilitation centre to cure her addiction to alcohol and drugs back in 2011. Apart from bipolar disorder, she also suffers from depression and an eating disorder. Lovato revealed that her suicidal thoughts began when she was 7 years old, which were caused by some unresolved issues she has with her biological father. She also said she was bullied at the age of 12 because of her weight, and that’s when she began to heavily drink alcohol.
In 2018, she was hospitalised for a drug overdose. About a month after, she released her song called Sober.
13. Charlize Theron
Charlize Theron is not only gorgeous, but has so much talent she can handle any acting role thrown her way. However, what many did not know until she revealed it herself was that she has neurotic tendencies. She suffers from OCD and says she hates messy cupboards and rooms, not only in her own house but everywhere else she goes. In fact, she says she sometimes stays awake in bed all night because she is constantly thinking about the mess in her cupboards!
14. Katy Perry
Katy Perry experienced situational depression in 2017 when she released her album called Witness. The album didn’t get enough attention and it broke her heart to the point that she became depressed. She admitted that she’d been seeking for validation all her life because she wanted to be appreciated. Nonetheless, her under-appreciated album taught her an important lesson: she should love herself more.
It wasn’t her first time to experience depression. Back in 2013, she released her song called By the Grace of God which was written about all the difficulties she’d faced at that time of her life.
15. Amanda Bynes
After enjoying much love from her fans, the world soon began to realize Amanda was suffering some form of mental illness when she started acting strangely in public. In the series of startling events, she started a fire in the driveway (of her neighbour) and then went to a liquor store just to wash petrol off her dog. Her social media remarks and appearance also left her fans wondering what had become of their lovable celebrity.
These erratic episodes raised a number of questions regarding Amanda’s mental state and in the end, she was admitted to a rehabilitation centre where she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Since then, Amanda has been on medication to manage her illness and recover from the disorders that sought to destroy her career, and is on an indefinite hiatus from acting.
16. David Beckham
He is one of the most celebrated sportsmen in the world known for incredible talent (in soccer) and good looks. Beckham has publicly revealed that he is suffering OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Unfortunately his several attempts to break the hard cycle of this repetitive behaviour have all failed to yield any real positive results. Beckham’s condition makes him obsessed with keeping everything in symmetrical order, straight or in pairs. Apparently, he has three fridges in his house, and everything in those fridges is coordinated symmetrically on each shelf and either side.
17. Emma Stone
Emma Stone has been attending therapy sessions for her anxiety since she was 7 years old.
Back in grade school, she experienced intense separation anxiety to such extent that she’d go to the nurse’s room believing she was having some sort of a stomach bug, and then would call her mother to come and pick her up. Stone didn’t know at that time she was experiencing anxiety, or more specifically generalised anxiety disorder and panic disorder.
18. Michael Phelps
Phelps is one of the most decorated all-time Olympians ever. The American swimmer has won more medals at the Olympics than anyone else with a record of 22 medals. However, he went through tough times during his childhood that left him vulnerable to mental disorders and illnesses.
As revealed by his mother, Phelps was diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) when he was only 9 years old. He was able to overcome the disorder with medication and swimming. Unfortunately, full recovery from ADHD is often quite difficult to achieve and the gold medallist is still struggling to manage the disorder.
19. Lili Reinhart
Lili Reinhart has been vocal about her anxiety and depression especially on social media, and she’s also been giving support to those who are just like her. She continuously encourages people not to be ashamed of their mental disorders and that there’s nothing wrong with attending therapy sessions to heal.
20. Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow suffered from postnatal depression in 2006, after her son Moses was born. It lasted for about 5 months and she describes it as one of the most painful things that ever happened in her life. Paltrow never expected that she would be capable of having PPD, but when he then husband, Chris recognised some of the symptoms, she realised she need to get help.