You Are Not Alone: 15 Celebs Who Battled Depression
Depression is a serious illness that can strike anyone, even those that seem to have it all. Here’s a lit of 15 celebs who, despite their success, have battled with the disease.
Angelina Jolie rarely cracks a smile on the red carpet and for a while Jolie felt she had little to smile about. The U.N. Goodwill Global Ambassador battled with depression in her teens and early 20’s. When Jolie’s mother, actress Marcheline Bertrand, passed away in 2007, the Tomb Raider star once again fell into a dark period. Jolie agreed to star in the movie Wanted as a means of coping with the depression. “My mother had just passed away, and I wanted to do something physical to get it out of my head for a while,” she said in July 2008. “I felt I was going into a very dark place, and I wasn’t capable of getting up in the morning, so I signed up for something that would force me to be active.” Jolie recently announced she had undergone a preventative double mastectomy earlier this year.
Actress Uma Thurman had a Hollywood career most starlets dreamed of but while her star was rising, the twice-divorced mother of two was suffering from depression. Thurman’s marriages to actors Gary Oldman and Ethan Hawke left the Academy award-winning star empty inside. “My professional life was soaring but my private life was in ruins,” Thurman admitted. “I fell into acting and a life that didn’t give me the feeling I was doing anything substantial or meaningful.” Thurman tried several alternative methods to help cope with depression before settling on yoga to help her achieve a balanced state.
Jim Carrey got his start on Fox’s “In Living Color” in the early 90’s and became an instant favorite by playing characters Fire Marshall Bill and Vera de Milo. Since then, he’s gone on to star in numerous comedy films but after two failed marriages, the Ace Ventura star had little to laugh at. “I was on Prozac for a long time,” Carrey admitted in an interview on “60 Minutes.” “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 okay.” Carry shifted focus on his mental health by maintaining a healthy diet complete with supplements.
Sheryl Crow’s cheery songs and sunny disposition are a stark contrast to who the country singer really is. Crow has admitted that she has been plagued with depression since she was a child. “Depression has been part of my existence for as long as I can remember,” said the “All I Wanna Do” singer. “At its worst there was a six-month period in my twenties when I couldn’t dress, days when I couldn’t leave the house. Antidepressants helped and so did therapy, but depression is a chemical thing that some people go through. It’s always been part of my life.”
Faced with the choice of hiding her problems in secrecy or being the biggest celebrity news story of the day, Catherine Zeta-Jones decided to publicly speak about her struggle with mental illness. In 2011, the Traffic star sought treatment at Connecticut’s Silver Spring Hospital for bipolar II disorder. Several months ago, the married mother of two proactively entered another facility for more treatment. Jones spoke about how her illness affects the whole family: “I’m lucky but that’s not to say I don’t get down on myself. I don’t just bring myself down; I bring everyone around me down. It’s like a dark cloud, ‘Uh-oh, here we go,’ and I have to snap out of it.”
Comedian Russell Brand was a household name in the UK before winning fans over in the U.S. with the character Aldous Snow in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. However, the British comedian had little to laugh at growing up. At the age of 11, Brand began binge eating and purging. He soon graduated to self-cutting which was quickly followed by drug and alcohol addiction. At the urging of his agent, the funny man entered rehab and was diagnosed with manic depression and attention deficit disorder. Brand has been clean and sober since 2002.
It is not uncommon for someone diagnosed with cancer to also go through depression. That was the case for singer Kylie Minogue who battled breast cancer in 2005. The Australian superstar was forced to cancel her Showgirl concert to undergo treatment. The abrupt break from work helped trigger the depression. It took a long time for Minogue to come to terms with her new reality. “[Y]ou never go back to a normal state, instead you have to create a new normal state,” she said in an interview. Minogue was able to help her little sister Danni who also suffered from depression.
Demi Lovato started out in the entertainment business at a young age, joining the cast of Barney & Friends when she was just seven years old. The pressures of show business can weigh down on anyone but it can be especially hard for a child. In 2010, Lovato left touring with the Jonas Brothers early in order to check into a rehab facility for anorexia, bulimia and self-cutting. It was during the three-month treatment stay where the former Disney star was diagnosed with bipolar disorder Lovato revealed she was bullied during her childhood and suffered from depression growing up. The teasing and taunting grew so out of hand, Lovato chose to be homeschooled.
Actor Zach Braff starred on the hit comedy show “Scrubs,” but before he became famous for playing a doctor, the New Jersey native wrote, directed and starred in 2004’s Garden State. Braff admitted he suffers from mild depression and resembled the depressed character he played in the coming-of-age movie. Luckily for him, the reception he received from fans of Garden State helped Braff cope with his own struggle. “[T]o have millions of people go, ‘I watched your movie and related,’ was the ultimate affirmation that I’m not a freak,” he said in a 2007 interview.
Just a mere weeks after ex-flame Zach Braff admitted he suffered from mild depression, actress/singer Mandy Moore stepped forward to reveal her own struggles. In an interview with Jane magazine, the star said there was a period in her life after the breakup where she questioned her purpose in life and wondered if she was living up to her full potential. “A few months ago, I felt really low, really sad, depressed for no reason,” Moore said. “I’m a very positive person so it was like someone flipped a switch in me.” Using her music as therapy, Moore credits songwriting with helping her recover. The License To Wed star is currently married to musician Ryan Adams.
Like many musicians, Pete Wentz went through a dark period, but the Fall Out Boy frontman went through this period well before he became a poster boy for the emo trend. Wentz revealed in an interview with Playboy magazine he suffered from depression as a child. Having been in therapy since he was six years old, Wentz was so severely depressed, he thought about taking his life. Twice. “The hardest thing about depression is that it is addictive,” said Wentz. “It begins to feel uncomfortable not to be depressed. You feel guilty for feeling happy.” Wentz credits his then wife Ashlee Simpson for being there for him during his lowest periods.
Voted the “Most Beautiful Woman” by People magazine, life for Gwyneth Paltrow hasn’t always been picture perfect. The star has dealt with several bouts of depression; once after her father passed away in 2002 and then again after the birth of her son in 2006. Paltrow opened up about her struggles in the newsletter for her website. “I expected to have another period of euphoria following his birth, much the way I had when my daughter was born two years earlier,” she wrote. “Instead I was confronted with one of the darkest and most painfully debilitating chapters of my life. For about five months I had, what I can see in hindsight, as postnatal depression.”
Anne Hathaway shot to stardom with the movie The Princess Diaries but before she became a household name, Hathaway battled depression and anxiety as a teenager. Refusing medication, the Brooklyn native eventually worked through her problems on her own. “I said to mom the other day, ‘Do you remember that girl? She has now gone, gone to sleep. She has said her piece and she is gone,” Hathaway said. “But then I thought, ‘I so remember her, only she is no longer part of me.’ I am sorry she was hurting for so long. It’s all so negatively narcissistic to be so consumed with self.'”
Throughout much of her career, Christina Ricci has one common thread for much of the projects she’s starred in: they were dark. In an example of art imitating life, Ricci herself was in a dark period of her life battling both depression and anorexia. In 2008, The Addams Family star opened up about her past. “These are things you can’t always deal with alone, so I went to therapy,” she says in an interview. “Sometimes people need to seek professional help. Along the way I discovered that you can choose to be happy. If you choose to let go of your self-consciousness and insecurities about physical appearance, then you’ll get to a place where you are present to see the world and enjoy yourself.”
Actor Owen Wilson has starred in numerous comedy films in his career but behind closed doors, the You, Me and Dupree star suffered from depression. In 2007, the 46-year-old blonde-haired actor made headlines after he slit his wrists and was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Wilson was forced to drop out of Ben Stiller’s upcoming movie Tropic Thunder. Stiller spoke about his famous friend’s battle. “It’s impossible to understand that kind of pain, depression or anything like that, until you’re in it.” After receiving treatment for depression and drugs Wilson continued with his career picking up right where he left off at. Up next for Wilson is the comedy The Internship costarring Vince Vaughn. Finally finding happiness, Wilson and his current girlfriend Jade Duell have one son together.