20 Celeb Parents Who’ve Opened Up About Their Experiences With Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is incredibly common. In fact, it affects up to 15 percent of people after having a baby, according to Cleveland Clinic. And while society would have you believe that celebrities just snap back after having a baby, the truth is, they’re no different from the rest of us. Postpartum depression can affect anyone.
One celeb that’s been particularly vulnerable about their experience with the mental health condition is Chrissy Teigen. After having her first daughter, Luna, with husband John Legend, Teigen became more open about her postpartum journey. “Most days were spent in the exact same spot on the couch, and rarely would I muster up the energy to make it upstairs for bed. John would sleep on the couch with me, sometimes four nights in a row,” Teigen shared in Glamour‘s April 2017 issue. “I started keeping robes and comfy clothes in the pantry so I wouldn’t have to go upstairs when John went to work. There was a lot of spontaneous crying.”
Teigen is far from alone in this experience. Hayden Panettiere, mama of Kaya Evodokia, voluntarily sought treatment for her postpartum depression at a professional facility, and other celebrity moms, from Drew Barrymore to Ayesha Curry, have also been open about their struggles. No new mom should suffer in silence. Ahead, these 20 celebrities have been open about their own experiences in an attempt to remove the stigma of a very real illness.
– Additional reporting by Melanie Whyte
Drew Barrymore didn’t experience postpartum depression after the birth of her first daughter, Olive, so she didn’t know why she felt off after delivering her second daughter, Frankie. “I didn’t have postpartum the first time, so I didn’t understand it because I was like, ‘I feel great!’ The second time, I was like, ‘Oh, whoa, I see what people talk about now. I understand,'” she shared in an interview with People. “It’s a different type of overwhelming with the second. I really got under the cloud.”
Chrissy Teigen first revealed her experience with postpartum depression in an open letter published in “Glamour” in 2017. “Before the holidays, I went to my GP for a physical. John sat next to me. I looked at my doctor, and my eyes welled up because I was so tired of being in pain. Of sleeping on the couch. Of waking up throughout the night. Of throwing up. Of taking things out on the wrong people. Of not enjoying life. Of not seeing my friends. Of not having the energy to take my baby for a stroll. My doctor pulled out a book and started listing symptoms. And I was like, ‘Yep, yep, yep.’ I got my diagnosis: postpartum depression and anxiety.”
Since then, Teigen has been an open book about all things motherhood. In March 2023, Teigen spoke with POPSUGAR about finding new self-confidence after welcoming her third baby. “We’re going to dive head first and it’s going to be crazy, but everything’s going to work out,'” she said.
The “Nashville” star’s character suffered from postpartum depression, which is something Hayden Panettiere can closely relate to. She told USA Today in 2015 that she wished more women knew about the condition. “When you’re told about postpartum depression, you think it’s ‘I feel negative feelings towards my child, I want to injure or hurt my child’ – I’ve never, ever had those feelings. Some women do. But you don’t realize how broad of a spectrum you can really experience that on. It’s something that needs to be talked about. Women need to know that they’re not alone and that it does heal.”
At 33 years old, Panettiere also opened up about how postpartum depression played a role in her substance abuse. After realizing she hadn’t formed an immediate emotional connection to her child, Panettiere blamed herself and tried to self-medicate instead of seeking professional help. “I just thought there was something seriously wrong with me, so I thought, you know, Fireball will fix this – duh. And it didn’t. It does for a moment, but then it makes everything worse,” she shared in a March 2023 interview with “E! News.”
In July 2018 the rapper gave birth to her first child, Kulture. Soon after her daughter was born, she started to experience symptoms of postpartum depression. “I thought I was going to avoid it,” she shared in the March 2019 issue of Harper’s Bazaar. “When I gave birth, the doctor told me about postpartum, and I was like, ‘Well, I’m doing good right now, I don’t think that’s going to happen.’ But out of nowhere, the world was heavy on my shoulders.”
Mother of two, Vanessa Lachey wrote about her experience with “baby blues” that set in a few weeks after her son Camden’s birth in 2012, per ABC News. “I was feeding Camden and crying my eyes out. I felt like I had officially come undone,” Lachey said. Taking care of a newborn was nothing like what she’d pictured and she never could have imagined the mental health toll it would take on her. “I was sorry for the weeks of losing myself. I was sorry for the weeks to come when I won’t be myself, and I am sorry I can’t do it all like I thought I could,” Lachey said.
Reese Witherspoon shared that childbirth and becoming a mother was the biggest stressor to her mental health. “After each child, I had a different experience,” Witherspoon said in a 2020 episode of Jameela Jamil’s “I Weigh” podcast. “One kid, I had kind of mild postpartum, and one kid, I had severe postpartum where I had to take pretty heavy medication because I just wasn’t thinking straight at all. And then I had one kid where I had no postpartum at all.”
Ayesha struggled after the birth of her and Steph Curry’s second child in 2015. “Looking back now, I can say without a shadow of doubt, I had postpartum depression with Ryan, but I didn’t know what that was at that time,” she shared in an episode of the “Because Life” podcast hosted by her sister-in-law Sydel Curry-Lee. “It was the worst three years of my life. I feel like I lost three years of my life because life started to become blurry. When I look back at that time, I was always tired . . . I just wasn’t much fun to be around.”
After giving birth to her son, Moses, in 2006, Gwyneth Paltrow realized something was wrong when she wasn’t feeling like she did after having her daughter, Apple, in 2004. “I had terrible postnatal depression, which I think was really shocking to me because I never thought that I would be a person who got postnatal depression,” Gwyneth said on The Goop podcast. “I was so euphoric when Apple was born, and I assumed that would happen with Mosey, and it took a while. I really went into a dark place.”
Olivia Munn opened up about postpartum depression in a vulnerable Instagram post for her first Mother’s Day. “Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, but especially to the moms who are struggling with post partum depression/anxiety, still wearing their maternity clothes because you’ve realized that the snap back is bulls–t and so unreal, and feel insecure as they scroll through Insta today realizing they don’t have the energy, creativity or brain power to post a beautiful pic of motherhood,” Munn said.
Four months after giving birth, she filmed a scene for a spin-off series of “The Walking Dead” and thanked the cast on social media for the support through her postpartum symptoms. “I had really bad post partum anxiety and being just 4 months post partum I doubted myself a lot, but the producers, crew, my capoeira teacher and stunt trainers were beyond wonderful. Thank You,” Munn wrote in an Instagram post.
While many experience emotional pain from postpartum depression, Alanis Morissette was surprised by the physical symptoms she endured after having both of her children. “There are days I’m debilitated to the point where I can barely move,” she told People adding, “It’s very isolating. I’m used to being the Rock of Gibraltar, providing, protecting and maneuvering. It had me question everything. I’ve known myself to be a really incredible decision-maker and a leader that people can rely on. [Now] I can barely decide what to eat for dinner.”
In a 2016 Vanity Fair cover story, the singer opened up about her experience with postpartum depression. “I was obsessed with my child. I felt very inadequate; I felt like I’d made the worst decision of my life,” she said. “I had really bad postpartum depression after I had my son, and it frightened me. I didn’t talk to anyone about it. I was very reluctant.” Since then she’s learned to lean on her friends.
In 2018 she used her social media platform to spread awareness of postpartum psychosis, the most severe postpartum psychiatric disorder, after her best friend went through it. “This is my best friend. We have been friends for more of our lives than we haven’t,” Adele wrote. “She had my beautiful godson six months ago and it was the biggest challenge of her life in more ways than one. She has written the most intimate, witty, heartbreaking, and articulate piece about her experience of becoming a new mum and being diagnosed with postpartum psychosis. Mamas, talk about how you’re feeling because in some cases it could save yours or someone else’s life.”
Celine Dion alluded to a struggle with postpartum depression after the birth of her twin sons in 2010. She told People, “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.”
Bryce Dallas Howard
Bryce Dallas Howard was thrilled when she learned about her pregnancy and carried that joy with her through the birth of her son, Theodore Norman. But her emotions quickly changed, and she struggled to hide how she felt from friends and family. “It is strange for me to recall what I was like at that time,” she described to Goop during an interview. “I seemed to be suffering emotional amnesia. I couldn’t genuinely cry, or laugh, or be moved by anything. For the sake of those around me, including my son, I pretended, but when I began showering again in the second week, I let loose in the privacy of the bathroom, water flowing over me as I heaved uncontrollable sobs. Worst of all, I definitely felt I was a rotten mother – not a bad one, a rotten one. Because the truth was, every time I looked at my son, I wanted to disappear.”
Carey Mulligan felt “very alone and very scared” dealing with postpartum depression after giving birth to her first baby, she told People in Nov 2022. While filming the movie “She Said,” she related deeply to her character who was also struggling with PPD. “One of the parts of the script that of hit me initially the most was Megan’s experience with postnatal depression. I had a very similar experience with my first child seven years ago, and felt very alone, and very scared, and also very confused by the whole experience,” Mulligan told People.
Courteney Cox described her experience as a delayed case of postpartum depression after giving birth to Coco in 2004. “Do I believe in post-natal depression? Yes. Did I have the worst case of it? No. Women have hormones. It’s not easy and as we get older, it gets harder. But there’s ways to deal with it and stay in balance. I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with therapy. Post-natal depression can be devastating. Luckily, I was able to get through it,” Cox said, per People.
Sarah Michelle Gellar
“Having kids is wonderful, and life changing, and rarely what you’re prepared for,” she captioned the photo. “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. To those of you going through this, know that you’re not alone and that it really does get better.”
Brooke Shields has been open about her struggle with postpartum depression since welcoming her daughter Rowan in 2003. She told People in a 2009 interview that she wanted to “disappear and die.” Fortunately, Shields sought out help and was prescribed medication. “I learned what was going on inside my body and what was going on inside my brain,” she told People. “I learned I wasn’t doing anything wrong to feel that way. That it was actually out of my control.”
Kendra Wilkinson experienced post-baby blues after the birth of each of her children, Hank Jr. and Alijah. “After giving birth, I never brushed my hair, my teeth, or took a shower. I looked in the mirror one day and was really depressed. I thought, ‘Look at me!’ I had this glamorous life in LA, and now [in Indianapolis] I didn’t. A couple of times, I even said, ‘I just have nothing to live for,'” Wilkinson told Ok Magazine.
Lisa Rinna hid how she felt from her husband, Harry Hamlin, after giving birth. She opened up about how suffering silently led to a difficult time in their marriage.
“I, after having my child, my first daughter Delilah, had severe postpartum depression. I kept it secret. I didn’t say a word…to anybody in the world,” she told HLN’s Dr. Drew. “He [my husband] thought I was just nuts. He had no idea what was going on and I was so hopeless and felt so lost.” Ten months later Rinna opened up to him and told him how worthless she felt. “[It] was the most valuable thing that I could have done,” Rinna said.
Melissa Rycroft’s husband, Tye Strickland, suspected postpartum depression after they welcomed daughter Ava but didn’t want to be the first one to say anything. Eventually, Rycroft told told the Bump, “I thought I had a really bad case of the baby blues. I was three months into it before I realized it could be postpartum depression. I had a massive case of denial, though. I thought women with postpartum depression wanted to hurt their babies. But for me, it had nothing to do with Ava. I had this big emptiness that you shouldn’t have right after you have a baby. I was like, I don’t want to seem like I’m not happy – it’s just that there’s something chemically wrong. I would get frustrated and angry really easily. Usually I’m very in control with my emotions, and that had changed. I found out that I actually had a classic case of postpartum depression. Only 1 percent of the cases are the more extreme kind. Most cases are like what I’d been going through. It’s just that a lot of people don’t talk about it, and I felt like the only person going through it.”