Celebrity on the couch: 40 faces of depression in the spotlight

In the public confessional of the media, more and more household names have come out of the shadows to talk about their depression and mental illness. This is what they say about it. By Jonathan Owen


1. George Michael: Singer

"Twelve years of depression and fear and lots of other bad stuff. It was as if I had a curse on me. I couldn't believe how much God was piling on at once."

2. Uma Thurman: Actress

"Nobody seemed to have any perspective any longer. Those were low points. But we got through it."

3. Jack Dee: Comedian

"Depression is something that has always figured in my life but now I'm dealing with it. I wish I'd done this years and years ago because it's been really helpful."

4. Kylie Minogue: Singer

"You get such a kick and then suddenly it's all over. That's good ground for uncertainty and depression. I usually burst into tears."

5. Paul Gascoigne: Footballer

"Everywhere I looked life seemed to be full of problems and they were just going to go on and on. It was never going to get any better."

6. Katie Price/Jordan: Model

"I was a psycho woman. It felt like something in me that I had no control over."

7. Russell Grant: TV presenter

"It is a maze of total confusion... it can get to the point where you don't care if you live or die."

8. Frank Bruno: Ex-boxer

"It's like a kettle. If it's a kettle, you turn the kettle off, you know what I mean? I wish I could put a hole in my head and let the steam come out. The steam was getting so high and the pressure was just getting a little bit much for me."

9. Ben Stiller: Actor

"I have not been an easygoing guy. I think it's called bipolar manic depression. I've got a rich history of that in my family."

10. Meg Mathews: Noel Gallagher's ex-wife

On the recent news of her going into rehab: "I can confirm Meg is receiving treatment. She is suffering from depression and needs time out."

11. Lord Bragg: Broadcaster, author and president of Mind

"Occasionally now I feel a wang that goes in my head - once you've got it you've got it. The [illness] was quite severe, leaving me deeply unhappy and frightened."

12. Neil Lennon: Footballer

"It's a bit like walking down a long, dark corridor never knowing when the light will go on."

13. Carrie Fisher: Actress

"Mania starts off fun, not sleeping for days, keeping company with your brain, which has become a wonderful computer, showing 24 TV channels all about you. That goes horribly wrong after a while."

14. Keisha Buchanan: Singer, Sugababes

"With depression, you can go in and out of it and not really know whether it's still there or not. Sometimes I'd find myself bursting into tears for no reason."

15. Ben Moody: Musician

"I was horribly depressed, and I felt like I had failed as a band leader, a professional, as a person."

16. Jim Carrey: Actor

"I was on Prozac for a long time. It may have helped me out of a jam for a little bit, but people stay on it for ever."

17. James Dean Bradfield: Manic Street Peachers

"I became a completely dysfunctional, miserable person, completely uncommunicative and aggressive."

18. Trisha Goddard: TV presenter

"I was in danger of having my children taken away from me when I needed five weeks in psychiatric care... There is the smiling depressive which is the biggest time bomb and when they go they usually go with a bang, which was me..."

19. Linda Hamilton: Hollywood actress

"The lows were absolutely horrible. It was like falling into a manhole and not being able to lift the lid and climb out."

20. Bill Oddie: TV presenter

"Chemicals will help you and medication will help you perhaps overcome it initially, but it won't work permanently if you don't follow it up with quite intense psychoanalysis of some sort."

21. Melinda Messenger: Model and TV presenter

"I felt suicidal. I couldn't stop crying. I remember thinking, 'wouldn't it be great if the car crashed and I died?'"

22. Mel C: Former Spice Girl

"There is always a fear the depression could return but I do all the right things. I try to get the right amount of sleep because I know that I need sleep to function and I need to eat properly and to do some exercising."

23. Lenny Henry: Comedian

"That's where depression hits you most - your home life. It doesn't affect your work. I can't do this zany, wacky, funny thing any more. I haven't been like that for a long time."

24. Denise Welch: Actress

"I lost all sense of reality. I basically had what was a nervous breakdown."

25. Sophie Anderton: Model

"I think it backfired. It wasn't what I expected, it was difficult. I didn't expect them to throw so many mind games into it. I didn't expect to be so emotional, but I asked for it really. I'm a glutton for punishment."

26. Winona Ryder: Actress

"You have good days and bad days, and depression's something that, you know, is always with you."

27. Graeme Obree: Cyclist

"When you're depressed, everything becomes distorted."

28. Sarah Lancashire: Actress

"My twenties were a write-off. It's a cruel illness, because you can't see it and you can hide it so well."

29. Richard Dreyfuss: Actor

"I said to my doctor, 'You gotta test me, there's something wrong with me that I would be behaving this way.'"

30. Ruby Wax: TV presenter

"Depressions are very cyclical, they happen once every five years. When I was on TV, yes I was effervescent, you can't fake it. It [depression] comes like the pox."

31. Adam Ant (Stuart Goddard): Musician

"When I was sectioned for six months, that was one of the worst experiences of my life, not being able to go out and have freedom. Having experienced it, it's almost inexplicably awful."

32. Brooke Shields: Actress

"I just felt as though I would never be happy again, and as if I had fallen into a big black hole."

33. Gail Porter: TV presenter

"It's horrible, horrible, horrible. It took a year and a half until I found out that I had post-natal depression."

34. Tony Slattery: Comedian

"There's psychomotor agitation, where you're endlessly pacing, and you can't sleep and you're short-tempered."

35. Stephen Fry: Actor and director

"I may have looked happy. Inside I was hopelessly depressed."

36. Robbie Williams: Singer

"The depression isn't about anything, it's not about 'woe is me'. It's like the worst flu all day and you can't kick it."

37. Caroline Aherne: Actress

"I try to piece together what I did and why I did it, but it's just a big blackout."

38. Hugh Laurie: Actor

"I clung to unhappiness because it was a known familiar state."

39. Sinead O'Connor: Musician

"I had developed manic depression... the main symptom is the constant voice in the head telling you to kill yourself."

40. Dame Kelly Holmes: Athlete

"I became depressed and I cut myself with scissors and stuff."

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