Famous Faces of Depression
Learn about those who rose to fame despite feeling extremely low.
Famous People With Depression
Despite their fame, celebrities are not exempt from the feelings of low self-worth and sadness, restlessness, irritability, and apathy associated with depression. Many stars suffer from bouts of crying and fatigue, and have difficulty concentrating. They lose sleep, weight, and interest. They withdraw. But their depression isn’t just juicy tabloid fodder—they are insights into a condition that affects 19 million Americans every year. Here’s a look at some familiar faces of people with depression.
Jim Carrey made a career on making people laugh, yet Carrey’s humor was born out of “desperation” while growing up with an ailing mother and an unemployed father. To help make ends meet, he dropped out of high school and went to work full time. Depression was a constant battle for Carrey, and he was medicated off and on for years. These days, he relies on his spirituality to get him through the valleys.
Before becoming a wildly successful author and creator of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling contemplated suicide while a single mother in a cramped apartment after her marriage dissolved. She thought of suicide, but instead Rowling used her daughter as motivation to rise above grim circumstances and began writing what would become a multi-billion-dollar franchise. She often reflects back on those darker days, but doesn’t blame herself.
After returning from the moon, Buzz Aldrin was coping with a marriage in disrepair, trapped in the clutches of alcoholism, and in the depths of depression. He’d been to the moon and back—what was left? After his second marriage dissolved, he admitted he needed help and joined Alcoholics Anonymous and began therapy for the depression. Now happily married for the third time and sober for over thirty years, Aldrin calls his recovery “a never-ending process.”
An award-winning journalist, Mike Wallace has interviewed hundreds of legendary figures—from politicians to cultural icons. Yet in the midst of his career, he’d found himself in a clinical state of depression. Unable to eat or sleep, he called his situation “copeless.” After denying it long enough, Wallace started seeing a therapist. He got his depression under control and began speaking openly about it in the hopes of helping others.
The talented six-time Grammy winner has long struggled with a depression that frequently coincides with alcoholism and failed marriages. In 1970, Joel attempted suicide, later turning his suicide note into the song “Tomorrow Is Today.” Although he’s had a scattered history of stints of sobriety and relapses, Joel has everything mostly in control these days, noting that it’s an ongoing battle for the piano man.
The news of this lovable, funnyman’s suicide attempt in 2007 shocked America. On camera with his big smile and charisma in numerous comedies, Wilson seems farthest from someone who might be suffering from depression. But behind the scenes, Wilson had quietly been battling depression.
Following a career as a model and actress, Brooke Shields became known as a poster-child for postpartum depression. Shields tried having a child before becoming pregnant in 2002. Instead of the elation she expected to feel after delivering the child she’d always wanted, she experienced severe sadness. Shields speaks openly about her depression, having thoughts of suicide, and difficulty bonding with her first child. She wrote a book on it as a way to bring the condition into public awareness. Learn more about postpartum depression.
Terry Bradshaw may have four Super Bowl rings, but perhaps his toughest match has been depression. Bradshaw was drinking to self-medicate before seeking help. After talking to his pastor, Bradshaw found that a combination of talk therapy and medication worked for him. Now, he’s using his experience to advocate for addressing depression head-on and let people know they aren’t alone.
As these celebrity stories have illustrated, money and fame can’t buy happiness. Depression can strike anyone. Like many celebrities did, getting the right support is important to overcoming depression. If you’re suffering from depression, or know someone who is, you are not alone. It’s important you know how to get the right treatment.
Get more information, and learn how to manage symptoms of depression.