It’s easy to look at the picture-perfect lives of the rich and famous and compare them to our own. I know I do it all the time. They seem to have everything! In reality, these glittering celebs have real struggles, too.
From family issues to addiction problems, even the most privileged looking lives have moments of relatability for us mere mortals. Here are the stories of a few Hollywood women going through some truly scary times—and how they’ve come back from those experiences stronger than before.
Did you look in the mirror this morning and wonder if maybe you've put on a couple pounds? That was Kate Winslet for most of her childhood and well into her acting career. Severely bullied throughout middle school, Kate Winslet was dubbed “Blubber,” laughed at for her acting aspirations, and even locked in cupboards (Harry Potter wasn't alone, apparently). Even when she was cast for the role of Rose in Titanic, Winslet remembers being mocked for her weight; James Cameron, the director of Titanic, nicknamed her “Kate-weighs-a-lot.” This is the beautiful Kate Winslet, just so we are clear. Regardless of her naysayers, she went on to star in one of the most popular films of all time, which garnered her seven Oscar nominations and a beauty ambassador contract with Lancôme.
Here’s a star who made her way by singing in a church choir until finally making it on American Idol. Her road to the top wasn't always easy, but even once she got there, tragedy found her. In recent years, Hudson has suffered the death of her mother, her 7-year-old nephew, and her brother. These three close family members were murdered in 2008 by Hudson’s brother-in-law, who now faces a life sentence. As unspeakably sad as the situation seems, Hudson resiliently went on to establish the Julian D. King Gift Foundation in memory of her nephew in an effort to "provide stability, support, and positive experiences for children of all backgrounds.”
We all admire Audrey for her classic poses, classy outfits, and timeless films. Did you know, though, that Audrey’s iconic slim figure may have been caused by starvation in World War II? According to her son, Lucca Dotti, Audrey very nearly didn’t survive the Holocaust. “By the end of the war, she was very close to death,” Dotti says. “She survived by eating nettles and tulip bulbs and drinking water to fill her stomach. She was almost 5’6” and weighed 88 lbs. She had jaundice and edema. She suffered from anemia the rest of her life, possibly as a consequence." We all know that Audrey went on to become one of the most iconic women in film of all time, but make no mistake—she endured great struggle.
It’s refreshing to hear someone like Emma Stone openly acknowledge something as scary as panic or anxiety attacks, especially since so many women know exactly what that feels like. "When I was about 7,” Stone told Rolling Stone, “I was convinced the house was burning down. I could sense it. Not a hallucination, just a tightening in my chest, feeling like I couldn't breathe, like the world was going to end." She went on to say that her anxiety was constant. "I would ask my mom a hundred times how the day was gonna lay out. What time was she gonna drop me off? Where was she gonna be? What would happen at lunch? Feeling nauseous. At a certain point, I couldn't go to friends' houses anymore—I could barely get out the door to school.” Stone ended up taking improv classes to help with her anxiety, something she says is helpful because it demands that you be present—a great combatant to anxiety.
Bell openly acknowledges that she’s struggled with anxiety and depression throughout her life. “I’m extremely co-dependent. I shatter a little bit when I think people don’t like me,” Bell said in an interview. “That’s part of why I lead with kindness, and I compensate by being very bubbly all the time because it really hurts my feelings when I know I’m not liked. And I know that’s not very healthy and I fight it all the time.” Bell also says that because she wants to be so well liked, it’s really hard for her to not conform to her friends’ interests and likes. Sound familiar, ladies? Fortunately for Bell, her mother is a nurse who recognized the signs of her anxiety and depression and has helped Bell deal with these things for her entire life. A lesson for us all: Don't be afraid to open up to a close friend about your struggles. None of us can do life alone.
This soulful singer’s father walked out on her family when she was 3 years old as a result of his alcoholism—an incident that Adele has said is extremely traumatic for her to this day. As an Adult Child of an Alcoholic (ACOA), the powerhouse singer struggled to escape the influence her father's addiction had on her, eventually resorting to alcoholism herself to help cope with several bad breakups. She has said that she began to see all her hard work as a singer begin to slip away; she would forget the words to her songs during live performances or simply be too hungover to leave her bed. Surgery on her vocal cords forced her to stop drinking for a time, and happily, the singer has decided to prioritize a healthier lifestyle ever since. Addiction is not an easy thing to overcome; it requires constant commitment. You don't have to be a world-famous performer to understand that, but it helps to see an inspiring woman setting an example.