In the 1990s, Brad Pitt went from playing unfeasibly handsome characters in low-budget films, to playing unfeasibly handsome characters in big-budget blockbusters. He enjoyed critical and commercial success in such hits as Interview With The Vampire and Fight Club and embarked on a well-publicised romance with Gwyneth Paltrow.
But the actor's admission that he suffered from depression during his rise to fame has highlighted the fact that even those who appear to have it all are not immune to the condition.
Pitt, 48, opened up in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter this week, in which he spoke of heavy marijuana use. "I was hiding out from the celebrity thing; I was smoking way too much dope; I was sitting on the couch and just turning into a doughnut. I really got irritated with myself."
"I got to, 'What's the point? I know better than this'. I used to deal with depression, but I don't now, not this decade – maybe last decade. But that's also figuring out who you are. I see it as a great education, as one of the seasons or a semester – 'This semester I was majoring in depression'."
A trip to Casablanca in the late 1990s, where the actor said he saw "poverty to an extreme I had never witnessed before", shocked him into seeking help. He was also counselled by the U2 singer Bono. "I sought out Bono and sat down with him a few times and got involved in some of the stuff he was doing. But it all started before that. It started with private acts," Pitt explained.
The actor was praised by mental health charities for speaking about the condition. The London-based Rethink Mental Illness said it would help other sufferers. "When people in the public eye talk about mental illness, it sends a powerful message to all who face it in their lives," said its spokesman, Mark Davies. "Brad Pitt's story shows it is possible to recover, which will give many people renewed hope. Mental illness can happen to any of us at any time, whether famous or not, rich or poor. It can sometimes be difficult to talk about, even though people with mental illness need as much compassion and support as people with physical health problems."
Bright stars: dark times
Winona Ryder: The actress suffered from depression after splitting from her husband Johnny Depp. "I had everything in the world. I had no reason to be depressed. But inside I was completely lost," she said.
Stephen Fry: Since being diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age 37, the comedian, actor and author has spoken openly about his condition in the hope of breaking taboos surrounding mental health.
George Michael: The singer suffered from 12 years of depression before eventually seeking help. He later said that writing music had helped him on the road to recovery.
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