5 Celebs with Mental Illnesses

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Celebrities are often believed to be improved versions of us, regular people. Our society is so used to idolizing famous people that we regularly forget that they are just like every one of us – vulnerable to stress and diseases. That is probably the reason why we get so shocked when we find out that some of our celebrity favorites suffer from serious mental illnesses.

1. Jean-Claude Van Damme

It may be weird, but one of the most famous action movies stars ever, Jean-Claude Van Damme, probably wouldn’t achieve everything that he did if it hadn’t been for his mental illness.

During his teenage years Van Damme, who was depressed at the time, found out that he could successfully make himself feel better only with physical trainings and martial arts. He started doing karate and kickboxing, and quickly became an impressive fighter. But, Jean-Claude needed something more.

He later moved to the U.S. and became one of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood. It was in America where this Belgian actor tried to fight his condition with cocaine and quickly got addicted. Van Damme was spending over $10,000 a week on cocaine at one point! He tried rehab, but was able to turn his life around only after he had realized that he would have to commit suicide if he didn’t make radical changes.

That is when he finally decided to get checked by the best doctors available, who diagnosed him with Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder and helped him fight the condition with therapy and medication.

2. Jim Carrey

A whole generation of people grew up with the comedic adventures of Jim Carrey. This iconic actor made us laugh to tears so many times (just remember his roles in: Dumb and Dumber, Liar, Liar, Ace Ventura, and Bruce Almighty).

That is why the news of such a man struggling with Depression hit us all very hard. Although it is not uncommon for stars who are famous for their roles in comedies to suffer from this kind of mental illness, no one saw Jim Carey as a potential victim. There were rumors of his depression for a significant time, but those stopped being just rumors after Jim’s break up with “the love of his life” – Jenny McCarthy.

His friends reported that they were very worried about Carrey because he seemed to have lost the will to live. He stopped making plans for the future and completely shut down from his surroundings. Fortunately, it seems that Jim Carrey has overcome his depression and that we will once again be able to laugh at his jokes on the big screen.


3. Catherine Zeta Jones

When facing life difficulties, many celebrities try to avoid publicly exposing their troubles. Although it is understandable that they don’t want to share their problems with the world, perhaps if more celebrities spoke about them it would help spread awareness about these issues.

Catherine Zeta Jones is among the few celebrities who decided to speak loudly about their mental illnesses. The British actress suffered from a serious case of Bipolar Disorder. She was first diagnosed with the condition when her husband Michael Douglas got cancer.

The two beloved celebrities admitted that the troubles helped them get closer than ever, as they both supported each other in their darkest times. Of course, Catherine tuned down her professional life after getting diagnosed, leaving Hollywood producers without a chance to bring this amazing actress in their movies for some time.

Zeta Jones simply needed to help her husband and herself, but she also wanted to help others who suffer from bipolar disorder. She once stated that she would be happy if only one person decided to get help after hearing her talking about this condition to the media.

4. Brooke Shields

Brooke Shields has had a truly interesting life. She started her path towards becoming a star by being a model. Soon after, Hollywood discovered her as she started appearing in movies and TV shows. She even dated the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Strangely, Brooke decided to press pause on her career in order to get a degree in French literature at Princeton University. After finishing her education, Shields went back to acting, although playing mostly supporting roles or appearing in smaller movies and shows.

The real troubles for Brooke started shortly after the birth of her daughter in 2003 when she was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression. She later said it was the most terrible part of her life, when she needed to spend time with her baby girl, but was unable to shake off feeling down all the time.

Brooke reportedly didn’t see the point of living at the time, as her self-confidence dropped to a minimum. Fortunately, she got professional help which included medications, and eventually fought off postpartum depression for good. Ever since, Brooke dedicates a part of her public appearances to raising awareness about this issue which hits millions of women worldwide.

5. Mel Gibson

If you asked true movie fans about Mel Gibson, they wouldn’t talk about his extreme religious and political views. They also wouldn’t talk about his alcohol abuse and many problems it caused him. No, they would talk about the amazing job this actor and producer did over the years.

No troubles could ever overshadow his roles in Braveheart or Mad Max, or the job he did as a producer in Apocalypto and The Passion of the Christ. But, when talking about Mel Gibson, we must mention something about the struggles he had dealing with Depression and Bipolar Disorder.

He stated that his high moments were higher than those of regular people, but that it was also the case with his low moments. Gibson fought his condition with alcohol for many years, he used to shock people on movie sets when he drank five beers just for breakfast. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that Mel has managed to find the way to deal with his mental illness the right way to this day.