10 Times Celebrities Got Real About Mental Illness

Mental illness can affect anyone, no matter how fabulous your life looks on Insta

Even if you’re not interested in celeb culture it’s obvious that they have a huge influence on society. So when celebs open up about their personal struggles with the once-taboo subject of mental illness it’s a big deal. To end the stigma towards people with depression, anxiety or other mental illnesses we need to normalise talking about them and about treatment, like medication and therapy.

Here are ten famous faces who have made a brave decision to share their mental health journey with the world:

Read: The 8 Types of Depression and When to Get Help

1 Chrissy Teigen

Just when you thought you couldn’t love Chrissy Teigen any more, she goes and writes a super personal essay for the whole internet to read about her struggle with depression. Mothers often feel ashamed to discuss postpartum depression out of fear of judgement, so it was really brave of Chrissy to share her story. Even someone with what looks like the most perfect life on earth/Instagram can be hit with depression. In her essay she got real about her symptoms and treatment in a touching (and funny ‘cos, duh, it’s Chrissy) way.


‘Be honest about everything, explain what makes you feel uncomfortable, [and what] you’re cool with’- Zayn Malik

2 Gabourey Sidibe

The Empire star’s book This Is Just My Face: Try Not To Stare details her battle with depression and an eating disorder. She dealt with the common struggle when telling her mom, who couldn’t understand why Gabourey couldn’t just ‘feel better’. Gabourey encourages everyone to go to therapy: ‘We all should see a therapist. If only for the hour a week that you can talk about yourself and not worry about monopolising the conversation? F—ing do it, it’s worth it!’. You can listen to her reading an excerpt from her book here:

3 Zayn Malik

Zayn Malik shared that he suffers from anxiety in his autobiography, so much so that he’s had to cancel shows because of it. When asked how he deals with it, Zayn had these pearls of wisdom to share: ‘Just being straight up. Just being honest about everything, explaining what it is that makes you feel uncomfortable, what it is that you’re cool with.’

4 Abigail Breslin

The girl who became famous for being the adorable dancer in Little Miss Sunshine shared a personal post on Instagram for Domestic Violence Awareness Month last year. The photo was of a bruise she got from her PTSD (which she developed from being a domestic abuse survivor) being triggered:

#TRIGGERWARNING It’s #domesticviolenceawarenessmonth. I’m a domestic violence and sexual assault survivor. While I now am no longer with my abuser, In the aftermath of what happened to me, I developed Complex PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) . I took this pic of my ankle a few hours ago right after one of my “episodes” as I call them. I was so freaked out and disoriented I slipped and fell on a piece of glass. Usually they occur right after I’ve been triggered… problem is, triggers are often very hard to detect. Which is exactly why #domesticviolenceawarenessmonth is so important. We must keep the discussion open. While at first i felt this was very awkward and uncomfortable to post, I reminded myself of something I say often: PTSD is absolutely NOTHING to be ashamed or embarrassed about. PTSD is the result of an uncontrollable scenario. Never feel like you are less than because you have a condition that you didn’t cause. You are still beautiful, you are still important, you are still WORTHY.

A post shared by Abigail Breslin (@abbienormal9) on

5 Kim Kardashian

Whether you love them or hate them it’s undeniable that the Kardashians have a huge reach and influence. After being held up during that robbery in Paris Kim has understandably struggled with anxiety and feeling safe. Many people applauded Kim for allowing cameras to film her having an anxiety attack while trying to relax on holiday:

6 Jay-Z

Shout-out to Jay Z for casually dropping the fact that he sees a therapist in his song Smile with the lyrics ‘Society shame and the pain was too much to take; My therapist said I relapsed’. Therapy is beneficial to literally everyone, but is still weirdly stigmatised. Someone in the rap world, which hasn’t been the particularly loud on mental health issues in the past, speaking about going to therapy is a big step forward.

‘[I was] so ashamed of how I felt because I had such a privileged upbringing’- Cara Delevingne

7 Ellen Degeneres

It’s hard to imagine a time where people weren’t obsessed with Ellen Degeneres. But back in 1997 when she came out, Hollywood was actually a pretty homophobic environment. Ellen found the industry turned on her, which had negative consequences for her mental state: ‘I moved out of L.A, went into a severe depression, started seeing a therapist and had to go on antidepressants for the first time in my life,’ she said. Thanks to medication, therapy and meditation Ellen got back on track and became the powerhouse we know and love today.


8 Cara Delevingne

Sadly having a day where you hate yourself and your appearance is something we can probably all relate to. Cara Delevingne has what is considered one of the most beautiful faces on earth, and even she struggles with bad days. In 2016 she shared a series of tweets detailing her period of depression and self-hatred, thanking her family and friends for helping her through. She also said that she was ‘so ashamed of how I felt because I had such a privileged upbringing,’. It’s easy to feel like you ‘shouldn’t’ be depressed or don’t have a ‘good reason’ to be, but remember it really can affect anyone, no matter their circumstances.

‘I want to be proactive and focus on maintaining my health and happiness’ – Selena Gomez

9 Michael Phelps

Even one of the greatest athletes in the world struggles with self-doubt and anxiety. Michael Phelps has often spoken about feeling depressed and anxious. He was recently featured in indie documentary Angst, a film about anxiety disorders. ‘If something was bothering me… and I was angry or depressed or upset, I would almost ignore it. I would shove it even farther down — so I wouldn’t have to deal with it, so I never had to talk about it. Once I opened up about that, and things that I had kept inside of me for so many years, I then found that life was a lot easier, I got to the point where, I understood that it’s okay to not be okay,’ he said.

Read: 5 Steps to Enjoying Where You’re at Right Now

10 Selena Gomez

You probably already knew that Selena had Lupus (remember when her best friend donated a kidney to her?), which can come with some bad side effects. When Selena announced she needed to take some time off from the industry she didn’t pull a ‘for personal reasons’, she got real: ‘I’ve discovered that anxiety, panic attacks and depression can be side effects of Lupus, which can present their own challenges. I want to be proactive and focus on maintaining my health and happiness and have decided that the best way forward is to take some time off.’

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