10 Famous People with Depression

These Celebrities Have Spoken Openly About Their Depression

 

Although depression can be challenging, you are not alone in the struggle. Read on for the stories of 10 public figures who have been open about their depression.

 

Kristen Bell

Whether you know her from cult favorite “Veronica Mars,” her foul-mouthed turn in “Bad Moms” or from the ubiquitous TV commercials she’s done, you also should know Kristen Bell has long battled depression and anxiety. In an interview on Off Camera with Sam Jones, she said she has been taking medication since she was young and still takes it today. “And I have no shame in that,” she said. Advice from her mom when she was young helped shape her positive attitude about her depression and treating it. She likened taking a prescription for anxiety and depression to treating any medical condition: “You would never deny a diabetic his insulin … but for some reason when someone needs a serotonin inhibitor, they’re immediately crazy. It’s a very interesting double standard I don’t have the ability to talk about often but I certainly feel no shame about.”

 

Jim Carrey

Best known for his hilarity and broad range of movie roles, behind the scenes Jim Carrey struggled with tough life circumstances in childhood. Even after he found fame and success, two failed marriages prompted him to see a psychiatrist who prescribed him Prozac. Carrey said the antidepressant helped him, but he realized he couldn't stay on the drug indefinitely. "I was on Prozac for a long time. It may have helped me out of a jam for a little bit, but people stay on it forever. I had to get off at a certain point because I realized that, you know, everything's just OK,” he told Steve Kroft in a “60 Minutes” interview. He credits a healthy diet and natural supplements with improving his mental health, and said he draws strength from his spirituality.

 

Ellen Degeneres

After coming out as a lesbian in 1998, her TV sitcom was cancelled and she was the target of vilitrol, she felt alienated in Hollywood and fell into a deep depression. She told USA Today she overcame to become the icon she is today through “Meditation and being quiet.” She said she learned to shake off judgement and attacks and realized she didn’t have anything to be ashamed of: “I was fully honest with myself and that gave me confidence. I think that helps with depression. Depression eats away at your confidence and you get lost in that, and forget that you're enough just as you are.”

 

Eminem

The rapper’s tough upbringing was highlighted in “8 Mile” and he has never been shy about talking about his life in his music. The 2006 murder of a friend profoundly impacted him. “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,” he said in his book “The Way I Am.” Serious bouts with drug addiction, rehab and relapses were all part of his life, but the rapper found his redemption in music.

 

Jon Hamm

The Mad Men man himself experienced his first bout of chronic depression at age 20, shortly after losing his father. Work and college helped with his recovery, as did antidepressants and therapy, which, he told People magazine, give “you another perspective when you are so lost in your own spiral. It helps.”

 

Lady Gaga

The “Star is Born” star told US Magazine she struggles with depression and anxiety every day. But she has channeled her stardom and her energy into making a difference. In 2012 she launched her nonprofit for struggling teens, the Born This Way Foundation, to help teens coping with the pressures of life in a constantly connected society of cell phones, internet trolls and social media. "I’ve suffered through depression and anxiety my entire life, I still suffer with it every single day," she told US. "I just want these kids to know that depth that they feel as human beings is normal. We were born that way. This modern thing, where everyone is feeling shallow and less connected? That‘s not human."

 

Demi Lovato  

The star has been open about her bipolar disorder and has become a serious mental health advocate. After battling drug addiction, she has found sobriety and told Psychology Today  she now focuses on the importance of spreading love because people "have no idea what (others) are going through, and a single smile can change someone's future."  Jane Greer, in that same Psychology Today post, said “Demi has been open. She has shaken off the shame. She is a role model for seeking out and maintaining mental health. She is a real inspiration in her honesty and willingness to truthfully share her personal turmoil in order to educate the public to the toll it can take.”

 

Kevin Love

The Cleveland Cavaliers power forward had a panic attack after a game on Nov. 5. 2018. In a post at The Players Tribune titled “Everyone is Going Through Something,” the NBA star opened up about how he no longer wanted to carry his burdens alone. He said “was comfortable talking about basketball — but that came natural. It was much harder to share personal stuff, and looking back now I know I could have really benefited from having someone to talk to over the years. But I didn’t share — not to my family, not to my best friends, not in public. Today, I’ve realized I need to change that.”

 

Michael Phelps

It’s hard to believe, but the most-decorated Olympian of all time struggled with nearly debilitating depression. He told NBC’s “Today,” he compartmentalized his dark feelings rather than working through what was bothering him. He shoved down every bad feeling for years, which he said put him in a downward spiral until he found himself in a spot where he “didn't want to be alive anymore." Phelps credits finally being able to talk about what he had been storing away as ultimately saving his life.

 

Kerry Washington

Washington, best known for her starting turn on “Scandal,” told Essence magazine that much of her college experience revolved around a depression that included an "abusive relationship with food and exercise." "I used food as a way to cope," she said. "It was my best friend." A dance teacher intervened and Washington began what would become years of therapy to head her unhealthy cycle of binge eating, sleeping it off and exercising for hours to cope with the guilt. She has now joined forces with other celebrities such as Michelle Obama and Sarah Jessica Parker to call attention to the issue of depression and to remove the stigma from mental health.

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