Celebrities Who Worried Their Mental Illnesses Would Ruin Their Careers

STYLECASTER | Celebrities Who Worried Their Mental Illnesses Would Ruin Their Career
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Photo: Samir Hussein/WireImage, Kevin Mazur/AMA2018/Getty Images, Mike Coppola/FilmMagic. Design: Allison Kahler/STYLECASTER.

Amanda Seyfried, Lili Reinhart, Zayn Malik and other stars have been open about their struggles with anxiety, OCD, depression and other mental illnesses for years. But they weren’t always so comfortable talking about their mental health. Despite progress that’s been made, mental illness is still stigmatized—something these stars know well, which is why they considered keeping their mental illnesses a secret in fear that it would ruin their careers.

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But these celebrities aren’t remaining silent any longer. Ahead, we’ve collected a handful of stars who worried their mental illnesses would affect their careers negatively. Whether it’s about their worry that their anxiety would hinder their auditions or their fear that their bipolar disorder would taint their image, these stars have been honest about the stigma associated with mental health. But now, they’re using their voices to speak out against it and urge others to participate in the conversation too.

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Amanda Seyfried
Amanda Seyfried

Seyfried was diagnosed when OCD and anxiety after she moved to Los Angeles, following her film debut in 2004's Mean Girls. She was driving on the freeway when she became dizzy and got a severe headache, which led her to see a doctor, who diagnosed her. But not everyone was so happy about the diagnosis.

Seyfried's publicist warned her to not talk about her OCD, in fear that it would ruin her career, which she disagreed with. “At first, my publicist said, ‘Don’t talk about your anxiety.’ And I thought, Fuck you, actually. I want kids who are having weird thoughts to share them without stigma. And if that affects my career, so be it,” Seyfried told PorterEdit.

Photo: Getty Images.
Zayn Malik
Zayn Malik

After he left One Direction, Malik worried his solo career would be sidelined because of his anxiety. In his 2016 book, Zayn, the singer recalled cancelling several concerts because of his anxiety.“ I just couldn’t go through with it," he wrote. "Mentally, the anxiety had won. Physically, I knew I couldn’t function. I would have to pull out.”

A turning point came when Malik's team member suggested that he tell fans he was sick, instead of suffering from anxiety, which led him to become public about his mental illness. "One of my team members offered to write a statement saying that I’d been taken ill, but I didn’t want to do that. I was done with putting out statements that masked what was really going on. I wanted to tell the truth. Anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of; it affects millions of people every day," he wrote.

Photo: Getty Images.
Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey

There's a reason Carey has been silent about her bipolar disorder for almost two decades. The singer, who was diagnosed as bipolar in 2001, worried that the stigma around the disorder would ruin her career. It wasn't until 2018 that she came out as bipolar in hopes that her story will help end the stigma.

“I didn’t want to carry around the stigma of a lifelong disease that would define me and potentially end my career,” she told People. “I was so terrified of losing everything.”

 

Photo: Getty Images.
Rachel Bloom
Rachel Bloom

In an essay for Glamour, Bloom wrote about how her depression and sleep anxiety almost prevented her from pitching her TV show, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Because of her anxiety, Bloom struggled to sleep, which she worried would "ruin" her pitches for her show. "Every night before a pitch that week, I had sleep anxiety. I became delirious—and afraid that I wasn’t sleeping; ergo I would ruin everything. But the lack of rest didn’t ruin the pitches, and I was good at covering up my anxiety," she wrote.

In the end, Bloom learned to channel her mental illness experiences into her show, despite how triggering they were. "My co­creator, Aline Brosh McKenna, and I were writing [an] episode, [and] the anxiety and depression that had invaded my own brain like an alien when I was a kid came back in full force," she wrote.

Photo: Getty Images.
Maria Bamford
Maria Bamford

When Bamford was diagnosed as bipolar, which led her to a mental breakdown in 2010 and suicidal thoughts so serious she was in and out of psych wards, her main worry was about her career as a comedian.“ I was anxious I’d never work again. But eventually I got to a point where I didn’t care,” Bamford told People. “I didn’t feel immediately better, and the side effects from this medication are hair loss, weight gain and tremors, but it’s been manageable.”

Bamford ended up channeling her experiences into her Netflix show, Lady Dynamite.

Photo: Getty Images.
Lili Reinhart
Lili Reinhart

Reinhart's struggle with anxiety became so bad that she started turning down work—both side jobs and acting auditions—because of how crippled she felt. “I had to quit a few jobs in North Carolina because of how anxious they made me. My anxiety was so bad that I had to keep quitting jobs because I physically could not work,” Reinhart told W. “But I knew I needed to make money."

Photo: Getty Images.
Bella Hadid
Bella Hadid

On a 2018 episode of Making a Model, Hadid talked about how her social anxiety prevented her from doing interviews in her early career. Unlike her sister, Gigi, Hadid was more reserved, which led her to "cry" and "shake" whenever she had to do press.

“Believe me, I get it and I understand it,” she said. “I was totally there. My sister is very bubbly and very out there, and I was always very reserved. I would literally start crying and shaking if I had to do interviews at red carpet events. It was really nerve-racking and it’s scary, and it’s not only you.”

Photo: Getty Images.

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