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11 inspiring LGBTI celebrities who have battled depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses

11 inspiring LGBTI celebrities who have battled depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses

Miley Cyrus has spoken eloquently of her experiences with depression

It’s currently Mental Health Awareness Week – a time for improving our understanding of anxiety, depression and the many other kinds of mental illness that affect one in four of us during our lifetimes.

If you’re suffering from an affliction of the mind, or know somebody who is, you might find the Mind and NHS websites helpful; you might also find solace in some of the below stories.

From chart-topping pop stars to world-famous supermodels, here we look at LGBTI stars who have spoken openly about their battles with mental illness – proving it’s is an experience that affects all kinds of people.

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1 Cara Delevingne

Speaking at the Women in the World Summit last year, supermodel and actress Cara Delevingne said: ’I think I pushed myself so far [at school] that I got to the point where I had a mental breakdown. I was completely suicidal, I didn’t want to live any more.

‘I thought that I was completely alone. I also realised how lucky I was, and what a wonderful family and wonderful friends I had, but that didn’t matter. I wanted the world to swallow me up, and nothing seemed better to me than death.’

The brave star said earlier this year that she is working on learning how ‘not to pick apart my every flaw’, telling E!‘Mental illness goes unseen, but hopefully I don’t want it to be unheard. I want to speak up for it.’

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2 Ruby Rose

In 2013, the supermodel tweeted that she was ‘losing her battle with depression.’ Addressing the tweet in an Instagram post earlier this year, she said: ‘I chose to fight and I thought it meant I’d be able to live. I DIDN’T think it meant I’d be able to live my dream. I DIDN’T think it would result in this extraordinary life I get to be a part of now…

‘It just makes me wonder how many others are days, hours, seconds away from realizing their worth.. Their potential.. And once the dark cloud is lifted will be truly happy and free.. #wealldeservetobehere #wealldeservetobehappy’

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3 Frank Ocean

The rapper said in an interview with the Guardian: ‘With my art, it’s the one thing that I know will outlive me and outlive my feelings. It will outlive my depressive seasons.’ The following year he told the New York Times: ‘I hope not to define myself by suffering,’ adding that the Tumblr post in which he publicly addressed a past relationship with a man for the first time ‘cured’ his depression.

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4 Lady Gaga

The Born This Way singer said on stage on 2014: ‘I take medication every day for mental illness and depression and don’t feel bad about it.’ She elaborated on the subject to Harper’s Bazaar, saying: ‘I went through a rough time last year. I felt very taken advantage of by people I trusted. I became very depressed at the end of 2013. I was exhausted fighting people off. I couldn’t even feel my own heartbeat.

‘I was angry, cynical, and had this deep sadness like an anchor dragging everywhere I go. I just didn’t feel like fighting anymore. I didn’t feel like standing up for myself one more time – to one more person who lied to me.’

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5 Angelina Jolie

The actress, who is married to Brad Pitt and has spoken openly about her past relationships with women, has revealed she suffered from depression as a teenager, telling WSJ: ‘I grew up in LA, where focus is very inward. I didn’t know why I was so destructive and miserable. I didn’t appreciate or understand my life.

‘I was raised in a place where if you have fame and money and you’re decent-looking and have the ability to work in this industry, you have everything in the world. Then you attain those things and realize you still couldn’t be more empty. I didn’t know where to put myself.’

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6 Angel Haze

Pansexual, gender-fluid rapper Angel Haze opened up on her battle with mental illness in a column for Noisey: ‘Mental health problems are like a stain, once they happen in your life you’re scarred by it forever. You have to wake up every single day and make the decision to be better, and that’s not easy.’

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7 Olly Alexander

The Years and Years frontman opened up about his mental illness issues to the Guardian last year, saying: ‘The likelihood is that you or someone you know closely will suffer from a mental health condition in your lifetime. It’s like any other part of your body – your mental health gets sick, and it needs treatment.

‘If you’re invited to a party, and you say “I’m sick, I can’t go” – that’s totally accepted. But if you say “I’m having a depressive episode, I’ve got to stay in bed” – that feels much harder to say.’

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8 Miley Cyrus

The Wrecking Ball singer has admitted anxieties about her looks, work and relationships have worn her down in the past. ‘I went through a time where I was really depressed: I locked myself in my room and my dad had to break my door down,’ she told Elle.

She added that her fans ‘know that I’ve struggled with depression, and that helped them get over theirs. That gives me a big purpose – a reason to wake up in the morning that’s bigger than to put on my fucking feathers and my little outfits.’


9 Ellen DeGeneres

The chat show host [above, left, with wife Portia de Rossi] has spoken openly about hitting rock bottom during a career lull in the 90s, after having come out as gay on the cover of TIME.

‘Everything that I ever feared happened to me,’ she told Los Angeles Times Magazine. ‘I lost my show, I’ve been attacked like hell. I went from making a lot of money on a sitcom to making no money. When I walked out of the studio after five years of working so hard, knowing I had been treated so disrespectfully for no other reason than I was gay, I just went into this deep, deep depression.’

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10 Will Young

In 2012 the Pop Idol winner told Style magazine that he had sought help for depression and addiction issues: ‘It’s been horrendous. I had to go – and wanted to go – on pills. [It was] my second time. The first time I wasn’t so aware. I was still drinking, still smoking, to hide a lot of sadness. It got to the stage last year where I’d thought that I was on top of work, that I’d find a boyfriend and everything would be all right. But something was going wrong. On nights out I was getting obliterated. I was going out, getting shit-faced and I wasn’t enjoying it.

He added: ‘Addictions can be anything. Last year I moved into my new house, my album went to number one and I was miserable. And it doesn’t even help when you have loads of money. I’ve got money. I’d buy houses and get nothing from it. Bought cars – got nothing from it. I’ve gone out and spent £5,000 in Selfridges – and nothing. I don’t even wear the stuff. All those things I thought would bring me happiness, don’t… It never moved into sex addiction. For me, it was love addiction, and fantasy. I was probably addicted to porn.’

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10 Stephen Fry

The TV personality has talked extensively about suffering from mental illness, including manic depression and bipolar disorder. On his bipolar diagnosis at the age of 37, he stated: ‘I’d never heard the word before, but for the first time I had a diagnosis that explains the massive highs and miserable lows I’ve lived with all my life.

The Mind and Time to Change champion added: ‘I want to speak out, to fight the public stigma and to give a clearer picture of mental illness that most people know little about.’