Depression is a serious mood disorder that impacts one’s ability to function in daily life. It’s more than just a low mood; it’s characterized by a persistent feeling of despair that can last for days or weeks at a time.
There are many causes of depression. The disorder can range from mild to severe, and symptoms can be temporary or persistent. It can be triggered by anything from the birth of a child to the change of seasons.
Here are 20 well-known faces from the entertainment and sports world who have battled depression, including postpartum and bipolar spectrum disorders.
Celebrities who have suffered from depression
Read about the following 20 celebrities who have suffered from depression and are open about it:
1) Amanda Beard
Amanda Beard, a teenage swimmer, had to quickly mature after she won the gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Nevertheless, Beard’s confidence took a nosedive after she experienced a growth spurt and gained 25 pounds. The former perfectionist started using bulimia and self-harm to cope with her emotional distress.
In 2005, Beard sought treatment for her depression with antidepressants. She has since gone off her medication and become a mother with the birth of her son in 2009, but she has acknowledged that her life is far from ideal.
2) Jon Hamm
On his father’s passing when he was only 20, “Mad Men” actor Jon Hamm suffered from severe depression.
Hamm was able to get back on his feet thanks to the routine of his job and college studies. Nevertheless, he also used take therapy and medication to help him get through the dark period.
3) Ashley Judd
Actress Ashley Judd wrote about her suicidal thoughts in middle school in her memoir All That Is Bitter & Sweet, published in 2011. Judd spent 42 days in a treatment center for depression in 2006.
She was able to gain perspective and let go of her past by reconciling with estranged family members and helping the less fortunate through charity work. According to People, Naomi Judd, Ashley’s mother and a country music singer, committed suicide in 2022 after suffering from the condition for quite some time.
4) Heath Ledger
It’s unlikely that we’ll ever learn the truth about the circumstances surrounding Heath Ledger’s untimely death in January 2008.
At age 28, the troubled actor fatally overdosed on a combination of sleeping pills, painkillers and anxiety medication. Ledger’s death occurred not long after he disclosed to The New York Times that he suffered from insomnia.
As People reported on Ledger’s death, the actor had been depressed and acting recklessly since splitting up with Michelle Williams, the mother of his two-year-old daughter.
5) Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama, the former first lady of the United States, has spoken about experiencing ‘low-grade depression’ during the COVID-19 pandemic and the renewed fight for racial justice.
Obama said that she felt better after disconnecting from social media and spending more time with her family.
6) Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow, who gave birth to her daughter Apple in 2004, has spoken about how much she enjoys being a mother. When her son Moses was born two years later, though, things were different.
Till her husband brought it up, Paltrow didn’t even consider the possibility of postpartum depression. For Paltrow, the symptoms of postpartum depression included constant crying and an inability to care for a child. However, it comes in a wide variety of tones and nuances.
7) Paulina Porizkova
Paulina Porizkova, a model and actor, suffered from anxiety attacks after being rejected from ‘Dancing with the Stars’ in 2007.
In an essay for the Huffington Post in 2011, Porizkova discussed how taking an antidepressant helped her deal with anxiety, but the medication also altered her temperament.
Eventually, Porizkova was able to wean herself off the medication through a combination of physical activity and sheer determination.
8) Gina Rodriguez
In 2019, Gina Rodriguez discussed her struggles with anxiety on screen. At the Kennedy Forum, an annual panel discussion on mental health, Rodriguez opened up about her struggles with anxiety and depression.
9) Brooke Shields
Actress and model Brooke Shields was a pioneer in discussing her experience with postpartum depression publicly. Shields documented her struggle with PPD in her 2005 book Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression.
Shields wrote an editorial for The New York Times in which she explained why she had chosen to take medication and how much encouragement she had received from other mothers in similar situations.
10) Kendra Wilkinson
Kendra Wilkinson, a Playboy Playmate and reality TV star, had a baby at the age of 24, and her life has never been the same since then.
Wilkinson struggled with depression for quite some time, and no amount of pressure to reclaim her celebrity figure helped. She said publicly two years later that PPD affects many people and ‘needs to be talked about’ because of its prevalence.
11) Catherine Zeta-Jones
Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, then 41, disclosed in 2011 that she suffered from bipolar II disorder, which she said left her severely depressed. The manic high that characterizes bipolar I disorder is uncommon in those with bipolar II.
By speaking out, “the actress put a very public face on a mental illness experienced by millions,” People magazine wrote. Experts agree that alternating periods of elation and depression are diagnostics of bipolar II.
12) Owen Wilson
Actor Owen Wilson presents himself to the public as a cool, affable guy. However, in 2007, reports surfaced that the actor had attempted suicide at his California home, revealing a darker side of his personality.
Friends of the then 38-year-old Wilson said that he had “battled his share of demons, which have included drug addiction”. While some were shocked, others were not.
13) Andre Waters
Andre Waters, a former professional football player, shocked his loved ones in November 2006 by taking his life at the age of 44. Postmortem examinations linked Waters’ brain damage and depression to the concussions he suffered while playing football.
Over a dozen football players’ deaths have been attributed to the condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy since then.
14) Winona Ryder
Ryder told the San Francisco Chronicle in January 2000 that after her high-profile relationship with actor Johnny Depp ended, she began abusing alcohol, experiencing anxiety attacks and spiraling into depression. She was 19 at the time.
Ryder sought temporary treatment in a mental institution with a private therapist after she set herself on fire by sleeping with a lit cigarette.
15) Princess Diana
According to the Daily Mail, Kate Middleton sought professional help before her wedding to Prince William in 2011.
Diana had experienced loneliness and depression in her role as Prince Charles’ wife, so Kate’s counseling was probably preventative. Diana suffered from both PPD and anorexia. PPD ‘hit hard’ after William was born, the magazine reported. Princess Diana believed she was rejected by the British royal family.
16) Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka, a professional tennis player, withdrew from the 2021 French Open, as she was nervous about doing press interviews.
Osaka said in a Twitter post that she had “suffered long bouts of depression” since the 2018 US Open. Osaka also said she was finding it “really hard to cope with that.”
17) Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato, a former Disney star and singer, made headlines in 2010 when she entered a facility to deal with ’emotional and physical issues’. Then, during a Jonas Brothers concert tour, Lovato got into a fight with one of the dancers.
Lovato came clean about her struggles with eating disorders, bulimia and bipolar disorder after she left the treatment center and got her life back on track.
18) Andrew Koenig
Actor Andrew Koenig, who played Boner on the hit 1990s sitcom “Growing Pains,” struggled with depression for most of his life. That’s what Koenig’s dad told reporters right after his son had committed suicide in February 2010.
The actor’s sister claimed that Koenig had stopped taking his prescription drugs. The Koenigs have been very public about their son’s mental health struggles in the hope that their words will help others struggling with thoughts of suicide.
19) Paige Hemmis
During her tenure as host of ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (2004-2009), the vivacious and empathetic Paige Hemmis never failed to crack a smile for the cameras.
However, in September 2009, the businesswoman and carpenter disclosed her condition to People. Hemmis revealed that, at the show’s onset, her condition triggered crying jags, binge eating and sleeplessness.
She claimed that she found great satisfaction in her work on ‘Extreme Makeover’, a show that helped disadvantaged families by renovating their damaged or destroyed homes.
20) David Arquette
David Arquette and Courteney Cox announced their divorce in late 2010. It was said that the actor was seen dancing and acting strangely in nightclubs. During an interview with radio host Howard Stern, Arquette admitted that he had been drinking heavily and behaving erratically.
Rapidly recognizing his alcoholism and mental health problems, Arquette checked into a treatment facility. He admitted that he had been acting strangely in April 2011, saying that he had been sober for over a hundred days and felt more in tune with his feelings.
Depression is a common mood disorder characterized by a range of negative emotions, including sadness, anxiety, hopelessness and guilt.
It’s characterized by a loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities, disturbed sleep patterns and even suicidal ideation or attempts. Tips to reduce depression can help, but you should consult a healthcare professional if you believe you have the condition.