According to the American Psychological Association, one in seven mothers is likely to experience postpartum depression following the birth of a child. Given that stars have a platform to raise awareness about countless issues, celebrity provides a priceless opportunity to impact lives by letting their fans know that they have been in their position too. Here are 16 celebrities who are removing the stigma associated with postpartum depression.
Say what you will about celebs discussing politics and the idea that average voters would be influenced on election day by the opinions of Kylie Jenner. But if the reality star and business maven opened up about her struggles with depression after giving birth to Stormi, think about how many millions of moms would seek help knowing they were not alone. A number of our favorite stars have revealed their battle with postpartum depression. They all share the same modus operandi — informing sufferers that there is help, that they are not alone and above all else, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Some who have bravely opened up about their struggles even had to accept very public lashings from fellow celebrities, such as Brooke Shields. She came under fire from Tom Cruise. On the Today show, the action movie superstar slammed Brooke for taking antidepressants to alleviate the deep emotional turmoil that she experienced after giving birth. The Blue Lagoon actress was given the forum of the op-ed page of The New York Times to respond. “I’m going to take a wild guess and say that Mr. Cruise has never suffered from postpartum depression,” she said in the piece. “If any good can come of Mr. Cruise’s ridiculous rant, let’s hope that it gives much-needed attention to a serious disease.”
These 16 celebrity moms have spoken up for the sake of the countless women who have shared their post-birth experience. After all, stigmas are difficult to destroy. These mothers — including Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow and Grammy winner Adele — have also built understanding for the babies.
The birth of a child, particularly the first one, is a special time that is supposed to be filled with blissful joy. For Brooke, when Rowan Frances arrived in her world, there was little that was joyous due to postpartum depression. She sought treatment for it, which helped immensely. Then she wanted to help those who felt the same way but suffered under the stigma that prevented them from seeking desperately needed help. So, Brooke spoke up — even if it meant that Tom Cruise would famously criticize her for seeking help — as reported by Radar Online. For the woman who famously told the world that “nothing comes between me and my Calvins,” she took responding to the issue a step further. Brooke wrote an entire book in hopes of helping those who suffered from the same disorder, Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression. She also has given speeches across the world. When Brooke spoke to the Hope for Depression Research Foundation in Manhattan she stated, “We think, and we feel, that we should be able to handle it on our own. I finally had a healthy beautiful baby girl and I couldn't look at her ... All I wanted to do was disappear and die." Once she realized it was psychological, it became something that she could get help for and, in turn, control.
After her son Hank IV was born, the former Playboy bunny and star of The Girls Next Door reported that she had the blues for a whopping two years, as reported here in OK! Kendra Wilkinson felt immense pressure to get back to her pre-baby body ASAP. That scrutiny tipped the scale — literally and figuratively and intense depression followed. She shared her experiences with the ailment hoping to inform fellow and future moms of the importance of taking “me time.” She wrote a book about her experiences with PD (and much more), Being Kendra, keenly knowing that she could help many mothers.
She may recently be divorced from her husband, Simon Konecki, but he was there to help her with postpartum depression after her baby was born. But as she has pointed out, all the support in the world from your significant other does not matter. It’s a battle inside your head, and only professionals can truly help. She stressed, as quoted by Us Weekly, that the common misconception is that mothers want nothing to do with their child. For Adele, it was a completely different situation — further exposing the ailment strikes everyone uniquely. “I was obsessed with my child. I felt very inadequate. I felt like I’d made the worst decision of my life.”
“My life is not perfect,” so said Kylie in one of the more revealing and heartfelt Instagram posts from the reality TV star/supremely successful businesswoman. Kylie, like millions of women across the globe, suffered from postpartum depression after the birth of her daughter, Stormi. As documented in OK!, the Keeping Up with the Kardashians star revealed that she battled her own brain after the birth of her child. “I’ve struggled with anxiety my whole young adult life and after my baby I dealt with all the internal ups and downs,” Kylie admitted. “I felt like I had to find myself completely again.” It’s a fascinating reveal, especially from the one member of the Kardashian-Jenner clan that has mostly kept her emotional realities far from the TV cameras. Given the young billionaire’s age and appeal to so many, here is hoping that her admission helps others feel comfortable seeking help.
The Osmond clan had it all — an enormously successful singing career, a television show back in the ‘70s that was wildly popular and an immensely supportive (and enormous) family. Upon giving birth to her youngest son, Marie Osmond felt as if the world had pulled the rug from underneath her. She felt like she was failing her child, as reported by CNN. Osmond sought help and, thanks to that, was able to learn the tools to fight postpartum depression. Her fight with the ailment would not stop there. She sought to spread the word, so Marie wrote a book, Behind The Smile: My Journey Out of Postpartum Depression. Something extremely important that she explored in her book was that she stuck with counseling — even though the first few treatment plans did not work.
Superstar Drew Barrymore waited to have children later in life. The thing is, depression doesn’t care how old you are or where you are on the life success trail. The Never Been Kissed star even made it through her first child without any issues. With the arrival of her second baby, daughter Frankie, all that good fortune went right out the window. Thanks to the women who had spoken up before, Barrymore said that awareness had her ready to look out for the signs. “The second time, I was like, ‘Oh, whoa, I see what people talk about now. I understand,’” she was quoted in Glamour. “It’s a different type of overwhelming with the second. I really got under the cloud.”
Even Oscar winners aren’t immune from suffering from the disease that seems to strike women at random. After giving birth to her first child, Apple, Gwyneth was as happy as a first-time mother could possibly be. When she gave birth to her second child, Moses, with then-husband Chris Martin, she was overcome by major postpartum depression. Behind the blinding spotlighted smiles Gwyneth was suffering immensely. “There are different shades of it and depths of it, which is why I think it’s so important for women to talk about it,” she was quoted by Radar Online. The celeb spoke out — like so many on this list — with the hope that if she could reach even one woman, it would be worth it.
2007 was a rough year for Amanda Peet. "I think there's still so much shame when you have mixed feelings about being a mom instead of feeling this sort of 'bliss,'" she was quoted in Us Weekly. "I think a lot of people still really struggle with that, but it's hard to find other people who are willing to talk about it." Thanks to women like her, others can understand postpartum from the beginning and hopefully better enjoy their time with baby.
Bryce Dallas Howard
Just as postpartum depression can strike women differently in terms of when they get it, the length of the ailment can vary as well. When Bryce Dallas Howard gave birth to her son, Theo, her PD struck her almost immediately and lasted a whopping year and a half. "It was so weird because he was born, and it was just like this wave of nothingness. It went untreated for 18 months, because I was just so ashamed and frightened," she told Us Weekly. As the Jurassic World star was ready to give birth to her second child, she said she felt much more prepared and knew what signs to keep an eye out for in order to seek help sooner rather than later. "I don't think there's any way that I can guarantee that I won't go through it, but all that I can do is to take steps to make sure that I have the support in place should I show any symptoms."
When Canadian singer Celine Dion gave birth to twins in 2010 (with her late husband René Angélil), the woman who once sang “My Heart Will Go On” began to wonder if she could even go on. She told French magazine Gala, “One moment, tremendous happiness; the next, fatigue sets in, and I cried for no reason, and then that took care of itself. It’s for things like that after having a baby that mothers really need emotional support.” She said she hoped that by speaking up she would help some mothers out there who were themselves walking down a dark road.
For former Friends star Courteney Cox, postpartum depression reared its ugly head months after Coco (with then-husband David Arquette) was born. “I went through a really hard time — not right after the baby, but when Coco turned 6 months,” she was quoted as saying in Us Weekly. By her speaking out, women learned that there was an aspect of the disease that could be treated rather easily. For Courteney, it was caused by hormonal changes, which can set off the so-called baby blues.
Hayden Panettiere had a severe case of PDD when her daughter, Kaya, was born in 2014. The normally bubbly outgoing personality completely withdrew into herself. She went on Live with Kelly and Michael and shared her experience. “It's something that I can very much relate to, and it's something that I know a lot of women experience," she was quoted by Radar Online. "When they tell you about postpartum depression, you think about, 'Ok, I feel negative feelings towards my child, I want to injure my child, I want to hurt my child' — I've never ever had those feelings, and some women do." She checked herself not once, but twice into rehab for the ailment and as reported in Radar Online, tweeted, “The postpartum depression I have been experiencing has impacted every aspect of my life. Rather than stay stuck due to unhealthy coping mechanisms I have chosen to take time to reflect holistically on my health and life. Wish me luck!"
Wilson Phillips singer Carnie Wilson hoped that her interview with People would help women who were grappling with postpartum depression. “You're overwhelmed with love and joy, then sadness and fear. You're so afraid you're going to fail this baby,” Wilson reported in the People interview. She also stated that she would cry for no reason at all, had no energy, was sleeping all the time and would alternate between eating too much and eating not at all.
For Lisa Rinna, her postpartum depression was so severe that it got scary. In her book, Rinnavation: Getting Your Best Life Ever, she revealed that her experience with PD was “soul crushing.” Sadly, for the former star of Melrose Place, it occurred after the birth of both her children. She admitted to having haunting thoughts involving weapons (as quoted at CBS News) and spoke up about it so that more mothers would get treatment and enjoy what should be some of the greatest moments of a person’s life.
After the birth of her first child, Chrissy Teigen stopped eating and wouldn’t leave the house for days. She had the support of her husband, John Legend, but it wasn’t enough. Nothing helped except seeking professional therapy. “Most days were spent on the exact same spot on the couch and rarely would I muster up the energy to make it upstairs for bed,” she told Glamour — as written by Us Weekly. “John would sleep on the couch with me, sometimes four nights in a row … There was a lot of spontaneous crying.”
Immediately after giving birth to her son in 2010, the Grammy-winning singer slipped into a dark place. "I just felt like I woke up underwater every day and that tar was being poured all over me, and I just didn't want to be alive," she said in a chat for Oprah's In Deep Shift. Paraphrasing one of her songs, “You Ought to Know,” she spoke up so that fellow mothers would be armed with the information needed to triumph over PT. Alanis Morissette’s lead-up to seeking help was a little more challenging for her as she admitted that she suffered from depression her whole life (as reported in OK!), so she wondered, why are these feelings any different? They were, and thankfully, she got help and spoke up about it so others might as well.
Sarah Michelle Gellar
For millions upon millions of fans, Sarah Michelle Gellar will always be Buffy, an inspirational character who slayed demons, vampires … you name it. She was a woman who kicked major butt. For the emboldened actress, there was one demon that kicked her behind — postpartum depression. When her daughter (with Freddie Prinze, Jr.) Charlotte was born in 2009, depression slayed her. "Having kids is wonderful, and life-changing, and rarely what you're prepared for," she posted to Instagram (and was quoted in Us Weekly). "I love my children more than anything in the world. But like a lot of women, I too struggled with postpartum depression after my first baby was born. I got help and made it through, and every day since has been the best gift I could ever have asked for.”