Emma Stone opens up about her crippling shyness, panic attacks and phobias

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Sarah Biddlecombe
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She may be one of Hollywood’s most in-demand actresses, but Emma Stone still suffers from crippling shyness, anxiety and panic attacks.

Speaking candidly about her battles with mental health to The Hollywood Reporter, the actress revealed that she had been a “nervous child from early on, prone to panic attacks and debilitating shyness”.

“It’s just the way I’m wired,” she said.

The 28-year-old, who has just banked her second Oscar nomination for her role in the hit film La La Land, revealed that she had therapy at the age of seven to help her deal with shyness and panic attacks.

But it was a new-found hobby of acting, and particularly improv comedy, that really helped her tackle her shyness.

"I think my parents saw that acting was the thing that made me fulfilled and happy," she said.

Stone grew up in Arizona before convincing her parents to let her drop out of school at the age of 15 and move to Hollywood to pursue an acting career, a decision which she now calls “crazy” – but which clearly paid off.

However, she admitted that her Oscar-nominated role in 2014 hit film Birdman caused her to again suffer from anxiety.

"The tightrope walk of that movie, the pacing and timing — I lost my mind a bit," she recalls. "I just got to a point where I snapped."

Now, Stone says she is aware of the triggers of her anxiety, with interviews in particular causing her to suffer from anxiety.

"Before any interview, I have to sit with myself for five minutes and breathe and get centered because I get so nervous," she said.

"Interviews are kind of like therapy, except all your answers are being written down and printed. I always want to be on the other side of it. I don't want to be deconstructed for millions. I'd rather do the deconstructing."