Since the earliest of times, public figures and celebrities have been a source of inspiration for admirers. Being in the public eye 24/7 with even their smallest actions being accounted for, celebrities become a point of contention.
People assume them to be (rightly) privileged people who are living a constant life of luxury. These perceptions make celebrities seem synonymous with someone living unrealistic lifestyles where they have everything and have to worry about nothing.
But the reality is that celebrities like anyone else are real people with very real problems that we face. In fact, many celebrities have become very vocal about their strife and troubles to show they are just like anybody else.
From minute everyday struggles to severe depression, addiction, anxiety, and other mental health issues, they see it all. Instead of considering their lifestyles as something unrealistic, we can look at their experiences as a chance to learn something.
This is especially important for celebrities that identify differently than heterosexual. It’s no hidden fact that the industry has not been friendly and representative of LGBTQ identities in the past. But having celebrities like Elton John, Ellen DeGeneres, Ellen Page, Freddie Mercury, and such have brought a much-needed change.
These LGBTQ celebrities have been inspirational in sharing their stories with their fans and admirers. With them opening up with their struggles with mental health and how they deal or are dealing with them, mental health has become less stigmatized.
People, especially young teenagers who identify differently than what is considered the norm, have become more aware of mental health and the importance of seeking out help. This is definitely a positive trend that has come out of celebrity culture in the past decade.
Here we take a look at some of the many LGBTQ identifying celebrities that have shined a light on their struggle and coping with mental health issues.
From the time she came out and her appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s show, Ellen DeGeneres has been a very prominent figure in the LGBTQ community. She came out during a time when different sexual or gender orientations were not accepted as widely.
Unfortunately, this intolerance caused her trouble. In an interview with Good Housekeeping in 2017, Ellen revealed how she endured intolerance and bullying in the industry after coming out, especially when her show got canceled.
She went into severe depression and had to start seeing a therapist and taking anti-depressants. Ellen told the magazine how she felt completely alone, out of her comfort zone, and angry at the unfairness. Eventually, she started coming out of it as she began writing and working out again. Now, she is one of the highest paid women in Hollywood with her own show and married happily to Portia de Rossi.
The musical legend that is known for global hit songs like Tiny Dancer, Rocketman, Your Song, and The Circle of Life for the Lion King, Elton John has been candid about his mental health.
He has revealed in several interviews how he was in denial about his sexual orientation and mental health. In fact, he says he thought he could help himself and left his issues ignored for more 16 years.
Eventually, in 1990 John sought treatment for his bulimia and addiction to cocaine. He started getting better and revealed in a 2002 interview that it was the best thing he did. To be more precise, he said that the words “I need help” were his saving grace and he wished he could’ve said them sooner than later.
Even through his struggles with mental health issues, Elton John has brought joy to people with his voice. By addressing his issues, Elton has definitely helped others in similar situations to address their own troubles.
The openly bisexual singer, Lady Gaga has attracted her share of public interest ever since she became the enigmatic personality that she is. During the time she performed songs like Poker Face and Bad Romance, Lady Gaga was most famous for her outrageous and unusual outfits.
But over the years, Lady Gaga has become more active in social causes, including fighting for LGBTQ rights, politics, feminists causes, and bringing awareness for mental health issues.
She has been very openly candid about her sexual harassment and how it impacted her mental health and caused her PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). Besides that, she has also been open about struggling with other mental health issues.
She has been heard to say that her own trauma has helped her understand the trauma of others. Because of this, she has been at the forefront of several movements to help the youth. In fact, some of her songs released within the last 5 years have been centered on her own experiences. Overall, she has become an inspiration for many, especially millennials who consider themselves as her ‘Monsters’. Because of her openness, many young people have become aware of how important it is to care for their mental health and ask for help.
Coming out as a lesbian in 2002, Rosie O’Donnell is one of the many celebrities that have been an activist for LGBTQ rights. She began attracting attention in 2002 when she came out after playing the role of a lesbian mom in Will & Grace. She then began working to bring attention to the issue of gay adoption.
She saw that many adoption agencies in Florida rejected gay and lesbian couples from adopting. Being a foster parent herself, O’Donnell delved deeper into the cause and, unfortunately, became the subject of criticism.
In 2007, Rosie said in an interview how she has been battling depression and seasonal affective disorder all her life. She said that she reached her breaking point in 1999 after the Columbine school shooting. The event truly disturbed her and triggered a deep depression that she decided to ask for help and started taking medication.
Along with medication, Rosie also informed the interviewer that she practices yoga and does inversion therapy to manage her mental health.
Having a fluid sexual orientation, Kesha has recently become one of the many celebrities that are active in supporting liberal politics and LGBTQ rights. Along with that, Kesha has also been active in creating mental health awareness among young fans.
Before going on a hiatus in 2012, after releasing her album Warrior, she was known for her party-girl persona. But in 2014, she checked into rehab to seek treatment for bulimia nervosa. After filing a lawsuit against Dr. Luke for sexual harassment and battery, emotional abuse, and gender violence, she opened up about how his bullying played a part in causing her eating disorder to worsen when he compared her figure to a refrigerator.
In 2017, she released her album Rainbow that features numerous songs centered on topics such as mental health, feminism, forgiveness, etc. Besides that, she has been an activist for both LGBT and animal rights. In fact, she became an ordained minister and has officiated several same-sex and opposite-sex weddings.
Her continuous support for these rights and her struggle with the case against Dr. Luke had put Kesha in the spotlight. Like Lady Gaga, she has also become a prominent figure of inspiration for many young fans.
The star of the series Prison Break, Wentworth Miller has been vocal about his struggle with mental health. After the show ended in 2010, the actor fell into depression and gained a significant amount of weight. This grabbed attention online and became the subject of ridicule by internet trolls.
In several interviews Wentworth revealed that his weight gain was caused when he turned to food as a comfort when he dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts.
He came out as gay in 2013 after denying the claim in an interview in 2007. Later on, he explained that he struggled with accepting his sexuality since his childhood. In an interview a few months after he came out, Wentworth said that denying his sexuality pushed him deep into depression during his teenage years. He also added that at times it got so bad that he attempted suicide several times.
However, since 2016, he has been vocal about his struggle and creating mental health awareness. He also became a part of the Active Minds charitable organization as an ambassador – pushing people to seek help when they’re struggling. He also encourages that if people see someone else struggling, they should extend a helping hand.
Demi Lovato has recently been in the public eye after the release of the song Sober, in which she revealed that she had relapsed after years of sobriety. Not long after, she overdosed and was admitted into a facility.
Before this incident, Lovato has been open about her struggle with body image and how it triggered several mental health issues. In several interviews, she explained how this caused her bulimia, self-harm, depression, and addiction.
After an incident in 2010, she took full responsibility for it and checked herself into a mental health facility. She was then diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She also revealed in 2017 that her stint in rehab was not entirely successful and her struggle with cocaine and alcohol still existed.
All through her journey, Lovato has been open with her struggles and what she’s doing to cope with it. Besides being vocal herself on social media, she also became a spokesperson for a mental health awareness campaign called Be Vocal.
Her journey as a young celebrity with several mental health issues shows others in the same boat that it is possible to overcome them.
Openly bisexual, Cara Delevingne is another young celebrity that has been a part of breaking the taboo of talking about mental health. During a summit i 2015, she shared how she had been battling depression since she was 15.
She shared that when she discovered her mother’s addiction to drugs, she went into depression. But recognizing the symptoms, she sought help at the age of 16, took a 6-month break from school and went on medication.
In 2017, she stated during an interview that she wasn’t first open about her mental health as she felt guilty. She said that having been raised in a privileged home, she felt that she should be ashamed to feel that way. But since then, she has been open about her struggles.
Famous for her role as Bella or Isabella Swan in the Twilight series, Kristen Stewart is also a young celebrity open about their struggles with mental health.
In an interview, she revealed that she struggled with depression from the time she was 15 until she was 20. She explained that her obsession with getting all the details right and being a control freak made it all very intense. In fact, she told the interviewer that she would go to the point of making herself ill with worry. Eventually, she broke out of it and got better.
In an interview with ELLE, Miley Cyrus explained that people don’t know how to talk about depression. She said that this might be the reason why people don’t talk about it, to begin with.
She revealed that like many others, she too faced a time where she felt depressed to the point that she would lock herself in her room and her father had to break the door. And even though she doesn’t like to medicate, there was a time that she did need medication.
She also said that being in the public eye for being a celebrity, people thought that she was just being ungrateful. But her depression was real and she couldn’t help what she was feeling.
These celebrities are only a few examples of many who have been open and very honest about their struggles with mental health. Whether they are heterosexual or identify somewhere in the LGBTQ community, they are examples that all people can be subject to mental health issues. Being a celebrity or growing up with a certain privilege doesn’t mean that life is perfect for them.
They have their own share of troubles that can sometimes cause different disorders, such as depression, anxiety, severe panic attacks, eating disorders, and so on. But them being open about seeking treatment just goes to show that you are not alone. There is probably someone out there who might be going through the same strife. And finding a celebrity to relate to your mental health issues makes it easier for you to ask for help.