20 Celebrities Who Have Battled Depression (PHOTOS)

Celebrities seem to have it all, but they're human just like everyone else. Many have battled depression, a serious illness that affects 1 in 10 Americans at one point or another. In some cases, their headline-making struggles have helped bring awareness to mental health issues that are more common than we think (in any given year, some 21 million people in the U.S. suffer from a mood disorder).

Here are 20 celebrities who have battled depression. If you need help coping with depression or any mood disorder, call 800-273-TALK (8255).

 

Image © Dan Himbrechts/epa/Corbis

  • Lady Gaga

    1

    The "Poker Face" singer says her depression began in 2013, when she felt "exhausted fighting people off," she says, referring to pressure from former associates to take on non-music projects she didn't believe in. She says she still fights depression every day and through her Born This Way Foundation addresses mental health publicly. What's helped her cope? "I started to say no...And slowly but surely, I remembered who I am."  

  • Jon Hamm

    2

    Having lost his mom at age 10 and his father at age 20, Jon Hamm says he felt "un-moored." Add to that the fact that the role of a lifetime — as anti-hero Don Draper in Mad Men — also drained him, and it's easy to see why Hamm has struggled with depression and alcoholism, recently completing rehab. "I did do therapy and antidepressants for a brief period, which helped," he says. "Which is what therapy does: It gives you another perspective when you are so lost in your own spiral." 

  • Demi Lovato

    3

    She'd felt sudden waves of depression and elation since she was 10, but it wasn't until Demi Lovato landed in rehab for severe depression, anorexia, bulimia, and cutting eight years later that she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Now she's outspoken about mental health, via the Be Vocal: Speak up For Mental Health campaign. "I"m healthier than I've ever been," she says.

  • Eva Longoria

    4

    Self-described optimist Eva Longoria says she didn't realize she was depressed after her 2011 divorce from NBA star Tony Parker. Subsisting on coffee, she says she got compliments on her skinny figure but felt awful. A trip to the doctor convinced her to cut sugar out of her diet and pack it with vitamins instead. The result: more energy to focus on her mental well-being.   

  • Wayne Brady

    5

    Funnyman and Let's Make A Deal host Wayne Brady said his decades-long battle with depression "ate at me daily," culminating in a breakdown on his 42nd birthday. Now on the path to recovery, he felt getting help was especially hard as a man taught to be tough. He recently joined Bring Change 2 Mind's #StrongerThanStigma campaign to encourage men, who commit suicide at three to four times the rate of women, to speak up about their pain.  

  • Owen Wilson

    6

    He may have cultivated a laid-back persona onscreen, but off it, Owen Wilson has a history of depression and substance abuse. "I think of myself as a doom person," he once said. "I'm a worrier. But I like the idea of being an optimist. Maybe I'm the kind of optimist who deep down knows it's not going to work." Wilson survived a 2007 suicide attempt but is one celeb who has kept his struggles to himself. 

  • JK Rowling

    7

    Author and Harry Potter creator JK Rowling is beloved for another reason: She is outspoken about the bouts of depression that hit her after her divorce as she struggled to adjust to the fame and pressure that came with her massive success. She created the Dementors in the Harry Potter series to portray what depression feels like and has even answered depressed fans personally on Twitter. 

  • Michelle Williams

    8

    The former Destiny's Child singer suffered moderate depression off and on since her teens, but had to break free of others' expectations that she "just go to church and pray about it." She says, "I believe God-gifted people, physicians, doctors, therapists, that's your healing. Depression is not OK, but it is OK to go get help." She partially credits positive thinking with getting her through. 

  • Cara Delevingne

    9

    The British top model and actress became depressed and suicidal as a teen, when she pushed herself hard in school to please her parents and struggled to accept her attraction to women. With the support of her family and therapy, she got past the pain. Her message to girls: "Depression is not something to be ashamed of. You're not alone. You're not an alien. My message has always been to accept yourself no matter what, to love yourself, to embrace yourself."

  • Miley Cyrus

    10

    Leaving Disney and breaking up with fiancé Liam Hemsworth left Miley Cyrus grasping for meaning. "Now I'm free of both those things and I'm fine, she says. "I lay in bed at night by myself and I'm okay, and that's so much stronger than the person...who thought they would have died if they didn't have a boyfriend." Time really is a healer. 

  • Dave Chappelle

    11

    Walking away from his own successful show on Comedy Central, where he felt overwhelmed, stressed, and betrayed by some people around him, left Dave Chappelle depressed. Not surprisingly, the comedian addressed his struggles during a stand-up routine in which he made fun of the self-help tome The Secret and other quickie remedies suggested by acquaintances. 

  • Brad Pitt

    12

    Hard to picture the gorgeous, rich, and talented Brad Pitt having a bad day, ever, but celebrity is no guarantee of happiness. Pitt says his rise to super stardom left him disoriented and depressed, smoking too much pot, sitting around on his couch, and turning "into a doughnut." A trip to Morocco, where he saw extreme poverty, helped him step outside himself and seek help, partly by using the very fame he'd been wary of, to help others. 

  • Amanda Beard

    13

    Winning Olympic gold is nice. Really nice. But if you're a 14-year-old swimming wunderkind handling the spotlight -- plus intense competition and criticism -- as Amanda Beard did, it can leave you feeling isolated. Beard hid her insecurities and ended up depressed, cutting herself, and developing bulimia. Things turned around when she met her husband and he encouraged her to seek therapy.

  • Pete Wentz

    14

    A therapy veteran who started seeing a shrink at age 6, Pete Wentz, who is bipolar, has survived a lifetime of depression and two suicide attempts. A bad bout of depression even cost him his marriage with Ashlee Simpson. Nowadays, he and his Fall Out Boy bandmates talk and support one another through difficulties. "We therapize each other," he says. "There's no shame in talking about that kind of stuff." 

  • Tipper Gore

    15

    A 1999 car crash that nearly killed her son thrust Tipper Gore, wife of former vice president Al Gore, into clinical depression. She climbed out of it with the help of therapists, and in a bid to destigmatize mental illness, she spoke out on her experience and treatment during the 2000 presidential campaign. 

  • Carrie Fisher

    16

    She was one of the first celebs to be vocal about mental illness, opening up about being bipolar and manic. But before she could get to that point, Carrie Fisher had to get off the things that were masking her condition: drugs and alcohol. She wrote about it all in a memoir, but she thinks there's still a stigma around mental illness, though awareness and acceptance are improving. "I think that there's more understanding of it than there ever was," she says.

  • Kanye West

    17

    The self-described "Voice of a Generation" and "Soldier of Culture" considered silencing himself and laying down his arms more than once via suicide. Kanye West once said that losing his mom and three other parental figures in the span of three years made him want to give up. He bounced back by creating music and says, "I will not give up on life again."  

  • Halle Berry

    18

    Therapy has helped Halle Berry through two divorces (and since news of her split from Olivier Martinez, possibly a third) that robbed her of her self-esteem, and a suicide attempt. Getting past depression has meant acknowledging her own mistakes in past relationships and trying to learn from them in order to feel worthy of being loved, she says. "As you get older," she says, "you realize you have a right to feel better." 

  • Angelina Jolie

    19

    Her early struggles are the stuff of legend: She had a live-in boyfriend as a teen, cut herself, experimented with her sexual identity, and seemed to be all over the place, including when it came to her emotions, says Angelina Jolie. "I went through heavier, darker times and I survived them," she says. "I am so very lucky." She has one estranged parent, her father, and another, her beloved mother, who died of cancer; she's undergone two preemptive surgeries, for a double mastectomy and a hysterectomy. She credits the support of hubby Brad Pitt to keep her sane. 

  • Jim Carrey

    20

    After a tough childhood that included living in a van with his family, working to help keep them afloat, and clowning for his seriously ill mom, Jim Carrey sought a refuge for his emotions in comedy. But he was in too much pain and eventually sought therapy and Prozac. He got off meds as well as drugs and alcohol and keeps himself on an even keel thanks in part to his spirituality. "There are peaks, there are valleys," he says. But "life is too beautiful."

  • Scarface

    21

    Considering the often rough backstories and sudden successes of some rappers, it's no wonder that stars like Kid Cudi, A$ap Rocky, 2Pac, Notorious B.I.G., and Eminem have talked (and rapped) about depression. But Brad "Scarface" Jordan has been the most outspoken, detailing his experience with manic depression and suicidal thoughts in his memoir, Diary of a Madman: The Geto Boys, Life, Death, and the Roots of Southern Rap. Diagnosed and heavily medicated at age 12, Scarface says life is still day-to-day: "Some days are better than others, but I know I want to live."

  • Kirsten Dunst

    22

    A model at age 3 and an actress by age 6, Kristen Dunst got into the habit of swallowing her feelings to please people around her and conform to Hollywood's "ridiculous" expectations. At 27, she entered rehab for depression and emerged stronger, with a new attitude: "All you can do is be yourself," shes says. "Just be who the hell you are."

  • Alexa Ray Joel

    23

    Singer-songwriter Alexa Ray Joel, daughter of Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley, hit rock bottom after breaking up with a longtime off-and-on boyfriend to whom she says she was addicted. After taking too many homeopathic antianxiety pills, she landed in an emergency room -- and on front pages everywhere. She emerged from a stint in rehab with a new attitude about self-worth and forged ahead with the help of new music and better communication with her parents. "I'm in a Zen place now," she says.

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