10 Celebrities Who Live With Depression

by Therese Borchard Health Writer & Patient Advocate

In the four months following the suicide of comedian Robin Williams, there was a 10 percent increase in suicides. When Angelina Jolie underwent a preventative double mastectomy, there was a substantial increase in numbers of women doing the same. Celebrities have a profound impact on public health. We aspire to be like them and follow their examples. Here, then, are ten inspiring figures who have triumphed over depression. Their stories testify to the fact that despair is never permanent, that there is always hope.

Ashley Judd speaks onstage at 'Time's Up' during the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival at Spring Studios on April 28, 2018 in New York City.
Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Ashley Judd

In a 2013 Today Show interview, Ashley Judd told Matt Lauer, "I was absolutely, certifiably crazy and now I get to have a solution, and for those who are co-dependent or suffer from depression, there is a solution." Years earlier she went public in a Glamour magzine story about admitting herself into a Texas treatment facility for depression. Her book, All That Is Bitter and Sweet, talks about aspects of her childhood that contributed to her pain, but also the hope she feels going forward and the difference she hopes to make in the world.

Actress Emma Stone
Caroline McCredie/Getty Images

Emma Stone

When she was 9 years old, Emma Stone drew a picture of her anxiety, a scary green monster that Stephen Colbert showcased for his audience in his 2017 interview with the Academy Award-winning actress. Anxiety has been there her entire life, she explained, but it doesn’t stay indefinitely. She’s learned to cope. “Acting allows me to make productive use of my overly sensitive side and channel all that nervous energy which would otherwise be more of an obstacle in life,” she told Esperanza magazine in a 2017 interview.

J.K. Rowling attends the 70th EE British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) at Royal Albert Hall on February 12, 2017 in London, England.
John Phillips/Getty Images

J. K. Rowling

Even more gripping than her epic Harry Potter books is the British author’s 2008 Harvard commencement address where she explained how failure and times of darkness can guide you to a sense of purpose. “Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged,” she told the graduating seniors. “I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea.”

Actor Halle Berry attends the 24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 21, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Halle Berry

When her marriage to baseball player David Justice failed, Halle Berry became despondent and tried to commit suicide. In an interview with Parade magazine in 2007, the Oscar-winning actress revealed that she tried to gas herself. “I was sitting in my car, and I knew the gas was coming when I had an image of my mother finding me,” Berry told Parade. “She sacrificed so much for her children, and to end my life would be an incredibly selfish thing to do.” Therapy helped her find her footing and move beyond the pain.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex speaks during The Prince of Wales' 70th Birthday Patronage Celebration held at Buckingham Palace on May 22, 2018 in London, England.
Dominic Lipinski - Pool/Getty Images

Prince Harry (The Duke of Sussex)

Prince Harry, now the Duke of Sussex, was only 12 years old when his mother tragically died in a car accident. He buried his grief for nearly two decades, until, at age 28, it bubbled to the surface. In a 2017 interview with The Telegraph, he explained that after shutting down his emotions for so long, he “was on the verge of punching someone,” and experiencing anxiety at royal engagements. He now hopes that by being open about his past he can help shed some of the stigma that exists around mental health issues.

Brooke Shields attends Qurate Retail Group Reception on June 11, 2018 in New York City.
Ben Gabbe/Getty Images

Brooke Shields

In her memoir Down Came the Rain, Brooke Shields writes: “Sitting on my bed, I let out a deep, slow, guttural wail. I wasn’t simply emotional or weepy…This was something quite different. This was sadness of a shockingly different magnitude. It felt as if it would never go away.” An advocate for new mothers in the throes of postpartum depression, the actress speaks boldly about the importance of pursuing treatment and debunks misconceptions regarding the use of antidepressants.

Recording artist Lady Gaga speaks onstage during the 2018 MTV Movie And TV Awards at Barker Hangar on June 16, 2018 in Santa Monica, California.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Lady Gaga

In 2010, Time magazine named Lady Gaga as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, but success and power didn’t shield her from loneliness and depression. In a 2016 interview with Esperanza magazine, the Grammy-award winning musician talked about how music has helped her heal. “Music was my way of overcoming a lot of pain and anxiety,” she said. “If you give yourself to your creativity and imagination, it can help you overcome almost anything and really enable you to feel free and powerful.”

Adele performs at ANZ Stadium on March 10, 2017 in Sydney, Australia.
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images


Balancing a world tour and motherhood isn’t easy to pull off. Add a case of bad postpartum depression to the mix, and you’re left with feelings of guilt and inadequacy, among other things. In a 2016 Vanity Fair cover story, Adele opened up about “her dark side,” her “availability to depression,” and therapy. The soulful music artist described the unique symptoms of her postpartum depression, her fame, and what she learned from fellow moms about taking care of yourself.

Actress Mariel Hemingway attends the Tribute Luncheon during the Sarasota Film Festival 2013 at the Sarasota Yacht Club on April 12, 2013 in Sarasota, Florida.
Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images

Mariel Hemingway

The granddaughter of writer Ernest Hemingway has endured not one, but seven suicides in her family. As such, she has become a passionate mental health advocate. In a 2016 interview with the Miami Herald, she said, “There is so much darkness when you don’t speak about [depression], and there’s so much hope and light in recovery if you’re able to tell your story.” Although she has battled depression herself, the force behind her mission comes from witnessing over and over again the destructive power of addiction and depression.

Selena Gomez speaks onstage at WE Day California at The Forum on April 19, 2018 in Inglewood, California.
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Selena Gomez

Refreshingly candid about her struggles with depression and anxiety, Selena Gomez tells it like it is. In a 2018 interview with Harper’s Bazaar, she said, “There won’t be a day when I’m like, ‘Here I am in a pretty dress—I won!’ I think it’s a battle I’m gonna have to face for the rest of my life, and I’m okay with that because I know that I’m choosing myself over anything else.” This actress-musician uses her public platform to educate and inspire her fans, guiding them to a path of recovery.

Therese Borchard
Meet Our Writer
Therese Borchard

Therese Borchard has written for a variety of websites, including CNN, The Huffington Post, Everyday Health, and Psych Central, and is the author of Beyond Blue: Surviving Depression & Anxiety and Making the Most of Bad Genes and The Pocket Therapist. Founder of the online depression communities Project Hope & Beyond and Group Beyond Blue on Facebook. Therese advocates on behalf of those who live with depression and other mood disorders. You can find her at thereseborchard.com.