- Research shows that stereotypes about mental illness often prevent people from seeking treatment or speaking out.
- In recent years, stars like Sophie Turner, Chris Evans, Chrissy Teigen, and Prince Harry have spoken candidly about their struggles with mental illness.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
Despite the prevalence and global impact of mental health conditions, it’s still hard to open up and ask for help when you most need it. Research shows that harmful stereotypes about mental illness often prevent people from seeking treatment or speaking out at all.
Below, we rounded up 28 celebrities who have spoken candidly about their own battles with everything from postpartum depression to anorexia.
Lucy Yang contributed to an earlier version of this article.
Chrissy Teigen revealed she developed postpartum depression (PPD) after giving birth to her daughter, Luna, in 2016.
“It’s such a major part of my life and so, so many other women’s lives,” Teigen wrote about the common condition, which affects up to one in seven women in the US. “I’m speaking up now because I want people to know it can happen to anybody and I don’t want people who have it to feel embarrassed or to feel alone.”
Prince Harry spoke to a therapist about his mental health after two years of “total chaos” in his late twenties.
In April 2017, the Prince told The Telegraph that he “shut down all his emotions” for almost two decades after the death of his mother, Princess Diana. It wasn’t until he was 28 years old, during a period of time when he felt “very close to a complete breakdown” and faced anxiety during royal engagements, that he began to see a professional to address his grief.
Now 34 and “in a good place,” Harry has encouraged others to open up about their own struggles. In 2016, he started the Heads Together campaign with Prince William and Kate Middleton to help “end the stigma around mental health issues.”
“The experience that I have is that once you start talking about it, you suddenly realise that actually, you’re part of quite a big club,” he told The Telegraph.
After sustaining several serious injuries his freshman year of college, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson experienced his “first of three depressions.”
“I didn’t know what it was,” he revealed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in 2014. “I didn’t know why I didn’t want to do anything. I had never experienced anything like that.”
Johnson later shared what helped him cope. “I found that, with depression, one of the most important things you could realise is that you’re not alone,” the actor said on an episode of “Oprah’s Master Class” in 2015. “You’re not the first to go through it. You’re not going to be the last to go through it … I wish I had someone at that time who could just pull me aside and [say], ‘Hey, it’s gonna be OK. It will be OK.'”
An outspoken advocate for mental health awareness, Demi Lovato is open about her battles with bipolar disorder, bulimia, and addiction.
In recent years, the singer has produced a documentary about mental health called “Beyond Silence,” released a documentary about her own struggles, shared powerful side-by-side photos of her recovery from bulimia, and entered rehab to address her substance abuse issues.
“It’s very important we create conversations, we take away the stigma, and that we stand up for ourselves if we’re dealing with the symptoms of a mental illness,” Lovato told Variety in February. The singer continued: “It is possible to live well and thrive with a mental illness.”
Chris Evans, who struggles with social anxiety, once said he suffers from “a noisy brain.”
In an interview with Rolling Stone in 2016, the actor revealed how his anxiety often kicks in during premieres, equating red carpet events to “30 minutes of walking on hot coals.” Evans, who has tried everything from meditating to reading Buddhist texts to calm his mind, said he’s “gotten better” but still has moments of self-doubt when he overanalyzes things.
In 2015, Lisa Nicole Carson opened up about her battle with bipolar disorder, which sidelined her career for over a decade.
The actress shot to fame in the ’90s for her roles in hit TV shows “Ally McBeal” and “ER.” But after she was diagnosed in the early ’00s, Carson decided to take a break from Hollywood to focus on her mental health.
“I see a psychiatrist and a psychologist regularly and now just take anti-anxiety medication,” she revealed to Essence upon her return to acting in 2015. “I’m tackling the myth that African-American women have to be pillars of strength. We have the right to fall. We have the right not to always have our s— together.”
Ryan Reynolds has credited his wife, Blake Likely, for helping him cope with his anxiety.
Not only did Lively convince Reynolds to take his “dream role” in “Deadpool,” she also kept him grounded while he filmed the movie.
In an interview with Variety in January, the actor revealed how his anxiety over disappointing fans led him to “stay up late with the script” and lose sleep. “[Lively] helped me through that,” Reynolds said. “I’m lucky to have her around.”
Cara Delevingne struggled with depression as a teenager.
In an interview on This Morning, the model said that she used to feel guilty for being depressed. But after she realised she wasn’t alone, that “everyone goes through similar things,” she began to recover.
“If you learn to love yourself and not give in to what other people think about you or not care what they think, and just follow your dreams, you can achieve anything,” Delevingne said. “And that’s what I want to be for teenagers – not necessarily a role model, but someone who has gone through it and come out the other side.”
Kendrick Lamar got candid about his mental health back in 2015.
That year, the Grammy Award-winning artist revealed his struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts in his album, “To Pimp a Butterfly.” On the emotional track “u,” for example, Kendrick raps about the survivor’s guilt he feels for leaving his hometown of Compton, California, where many of his friends and family still remain.
“Three of my homeboys [one] summer was murdered,” Kendrick told MTV in an interview about the album. He continued: “You living this life, you know what I’m saying, but you still have to face realities of this … I gotta get back off that tour bus and go to these funerals.”
In May, in light of Mental Health Awareness Month, Gina Rodriguez revealed she struggles with anxiety in a heartfelt message on social media.
The “Jane the Virgin” star posted a 10-second video filmed by her photographer friend Anton Soggiu on Instagram. In the clip, Rodriguez can be seen in casual clothes, not wearing any makeup. “It’s always great to be in front of his lens but this time it was just me,” the actress wrote in the caption. “Bare and exposed in the streets of LA.”
“I suffer from anxiety,” Rodriguez said. She continued: “And watching this clip I could see how anxious I was but I empathise with myself. I wanted to protect her and tell her it’s OK to be anxious, there is nothing different or strange about having anxiety and I will prevail. I like watching this video. It makes me uncomfortable but there is a freedom I feel, maybe even an acceptance. This is me. Puro Gina.”
That same month, Lili Reinhart opened up about her depression in a series of honest tweets.
“‘Riverdale’ came into my life when I was going through the worst depression I had ever experienced,” the actress wrote. “And in the end it completely saved me.”
The 21-year-old star, who called mental health “a priority,” continued with a positive message for her followers: “To anyone out there who feels depressed or hopeless … do not f—— give up on yourself. You’re all you’ve got. And you deserve the world … You will get through whatever you’re going through now. And you’ll be so much stronger at the end of it. You’re stronger than you know.”
Gabourey Sidibe talks candidly about mental health in her memoir, “This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare.”
In the book, the actress reveals how she struggled with depression in college and eventually developed bulimia. After experiencing suicidal thoughts, the Oscar nominee turned to a professional for help.
“I just accepted depression as something that’s part of my anatomy,” Sidibe told People in May. “It’s part of my chemistry, it’s part of my biology.” She continued: “When it’s too big for me to just turn around on my own, I see a therapist.”
Wayne Brady described his battle with depression and “constant self-doubt” in 2014.
“People are like, ‘Wayne Brady’s always happy!'” he said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight (ET). “No I’m not,” he continued. “Because I’m human.”
The comedian and “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” star talked candidly about the debilitating effects of depression. “You don’t want to move, you can’t move in the darkness,” he explained. “You’re like, ‘I am just going to sit right here and I want to wallow in this. As much as it hurts, I am going to sit right here because this is what I deserve. This is what I deserve, so I am going to sit here because I am that horrible of a person.'”
Emma Stone has detailed her experiences with anxiety and therapy on several occasions.
“I was a very, very, very anxious child, and I had a lot of panic attacks,” Stone said on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” in September. The actress also shared a photo of a “little green monster” she had drawn to represent her anxiety when she was 9 years old.
“If I listen to [the monster] enough, it crushes me,” the Oscar winner explained to Rolling Stone in 2016. “But if I turn my head and keep doing what I’m doing – let it speak to me, but don’t give it the credit it needs – then it shrinks down and fades away.”
The “La La Land” star credits therapy, acting, and improv for helping her cope with anxiety. “You have to be present in improv, and that’s the antithesis of anxiety,” she told Rolling Stone.
James Franco opened up about his history of addiction and depression in August 2017.
“I have a very addictive personality,” the actor told Out Magazine. After he “got over certain addictions” as a teenager, Franco threw himself into acting when he was 17. But ten years later, the actor realised he was depressed. “On the surface, my life [seemed] pretty good,” Franco recalled. “But I [felt] isolated and lonely.”
In November 2017, Kesha penned a personal essay for TIME to help people with mental illness get through the holiday season.
“The holiday season is supposed to be the most festive and fun time of the year but sometimes it can quickly become a stressful and emotional time … This is especially true for those of us who struggle with mental illness,” the singer wrote. Kesha, who entered rehab for an eating disorder in 2014, also urged readers to take a break from “trying to … [please] everyone else” and be kind to themselves.
Jon Hamm, who has struggled with addiction and chronic depression, opened up about the benefits of therapy in 2017.
In an interview with InStyle, the “Mad Men” actor talked about the importance of asking for help when you need it: “Medical attention is medical attention whether it’s for your elbow or for your teeth or for your brain. We live in a world where to admit anything negative about yourself is seen as a weakness, when it’s actually a strength. It’s not a weak move to say, ‘I need help.’ In the long run, it’s way better, because you have to fix it.”
In 2016, Kid Cudi got candid about his mental health struggles on Facebook.
In a heartfelt message to his fans, the rapper revealed that he had checked himself into rehab for “depression and suicidal urges.” “I’m tired of being held back in my life,” the rapper wrote. “I deserve to have peace. I deserve to be happy and smiling.”
Kid Cudi’s honest post was met with widespread support. It also spawned a hashtag on Twitter, #YouGoodMan, for black men to open up about their experiences with mental illness and for people to discuss the intersection of race, masculinity, and mental health.
Kristen Bell, who struggles with depression and anxiety, is an outspoken advocate for mental health.
In an essay for Motto, the actress slammed the stereotype that people who suffer from mental illnesses are weak. “Anxiety and depression are impervious to accolades or achievements,” Bell wrote. “Anyone can be affected, despite their level of success or their place on the food chain.”
Bell also emphasised the importance of “mental health check-ins” and awareness: “It’s important for me to be candid about this so people in a similar situation can realise that they are not worthless and that they do have something to offer. We all do.”
In 2016, Lady Gaga revealed she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during a visit to the Ali Forney Center for homeless LGBT youth in New York City.
“The kindness that’s shown to me by doctors as well as my family, and my friends, it’s really saved my life,” she later said on the “Today” show.
The Grammy Award-winning singer, who previously revealed in 2014 that she was raped at the age of 19, also penned an open letter about her PTSD for her nonprofit organisation, the Born This Way Foundation. “There is a lot of shame attached to mental illness, but it’s important that you know that there is hope and a chance for recovery,” she wrote.
Zayn Malik has opened up about his struggles with anxiety and an eating disorder.
In his autobiography, “Zayn,” Malik details how the pressures of performing and touring with One Direction led him to restrict his food intake to an unhealthy extreme: “I’d just go for days – sometimes two or three days straight – without eating anything at all.”
While his eating disorder and anxiety have diminished since leaving One Direction, the singer continues to speak candidly about his mental health. “We’re all human,” Malik told The Sunday Times in March. “People are often afraid to admit difficulties, but I don’t believe that there should be a struggle with anything that’s the truth.”
In January 2017, Hayden Panettiere offered some advice for fellow mums who have struggled with postpartum depression.
“Women are so resilient and that’s the incredible thing about them … I think I’m a better mum for it because you never take that connection for granted,” the actress said on “Good Morning America.”
The actress, whose “Nashville” character Juliette Barnes also struggled with PPD in season four, said her role helped her identify “what was going on” and shared a “great message” that it’s OK for women to “ask for help and have a moment of weakness.” “It doesn’t make you a bad person or a bad mother,” she continued.
Brittany Snow, who struggled with anorexia for nine years, spoke out about the dangers of comparing yourself to others.
“I wanted to be like the girls I saw in fitness magazines so badly. I thought that was the ideal of happiness,” the actress said. “I wish someone had told me back then that the way a woman looks in a photo has nothing to do with who she is.”
Snow, who was bullied in high school, also partnered with The Jed Foundation and MTV in 2010 to launch the Love is Louder project, which is dedicated to amplifying supportive messages and actions in the face of “negative noise.”
For more information on mental health and where to find help, visit the National Institute for Mental Health. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8225).
Singer Billie Eliish spoke about her mental health struggles and said that asking for help “doesn’t make you weak.”
“You should be able to ask anyone for help and everyone has to help someone if they need it,” she said in a video for a Seize the Awkward campaign. The “Ocean Eyes” singer added that “you don’t have to make it super serious right away.” Instead, you can start by asking “How are you feeling?” or “Are you OK?”
“Big Bang Theory” star Mayim Bialik said that her obsessive-compulsive disorder has made it “difficult” to try new things.
“It’s still really hard for me,” the actress said in a video forChild Mind Institute’s #MyYoungerSelf campaign. “But what I’ve found is that with trusting other people and learning to trust other people and lean on them for support, you can make changes and still be OK.”
Bialik went on to say that she was able to cut off her hair and “couldn’t have done it without people helping me.”
Shawm Mendes said that opening up about his anxiety was “one of the scariest but most important things I’ve ever done.”
Mendes’ hit song “In My Blood” was inspired by his mental health.
“Talking about the problem, putting it out there, was one of the scariest but most important things I’ve ever done,” Mendes told People.
He added: “I still struggle with it but just remember every day that everyone deals with some level of anxiety or pressure; we’re all in it together.”
Speaking to The Sun in 2018, Mendes said that he “made a conscious effort to be more connected to the people in my life. I found I was closing myself off from everybody, thinking that would help me battle it.”
“All pain is temporary, and the thing is with anxiety, and why it’s such a hard thing for people who don’t have it to understand, is that it is very random and it hits you at moments you don’t expect it,” the 20-year-old singer said.
“Game of Thrones” star Sophie Turner is outspoken about going through an eating disorder, depression, and anxiety.
Speaking to The Times UK in May 2019, Turner said that she struggled with her body image as a teenager, and being in the spotlight didn’t help.
“I was too aware of my body at a young age,” she said. “And it just kind of took over my mind, it was all I would think about. Calorie counting, everything. Oh, I’ll just eat nuts today.”
The actress when on to say that she “decided to have therapy” when she stopped getting her period.
“I feel much better,” she said. “I’ve been going to therapy at CAST Centres, actually. I’m on medication and I love myself now, or more than I used to, I think. I don’t think I love myself at all, but I’m now with someone that makes me realise that I do have some redeeming qualities, I suppose. And when someone tells you they love you every day, it makes you really think about why that is and I think it makes you love yourself a bit more.”
“Stranger Things” star Dacre Montgomery has been dealing with anxiety since he was 12 years old.
For the #MyYoungerSelf campaign, the 24-year-old recalled “not feeling heard” and not feeling like he “had a skillset to combat my mental health issues.”
Over time, Montgomery has turned to mindfulness, the gym, yoga, and setting goals “to fulfil my happiness.”
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