Michelle Williams has spoken about the severity of the depression she suffered while part of Destiny’s Child in order to “normalise” discussing the issue openly.
The singer – part of the hugely successful all-female group, alongside Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland – referred to her mental health while recently guest-hosting on American chat show The Talk with other celebrities including Sharon Osbourne.
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Revealing that her depression started in her teens and continued into her 30s, Williams said she never fully understood what was wrong, thinking it was just “growing pains”.
“I’m in one of the top-selling female groups of all time, suffering with depression,” Williams said. “When I disclosed it to our manager [Beyoncé’s dad, Mathew Knowles] at the time, bless his heart, he was like, ‘You all just signed a multi-million dollar deal. You’re about to go on tour. What do you have to be depressed about?’”
“So I was like, ‘Oh, maybe I’m just tired,'” she continued.
However, Williams’ depression only continued to get worse: “It got really really bad… to the point of I was suicidal [...]
“I was at that place where it got so dark and heavy because sometimes you feel like, ‘I’m the provider, I take care of people, I’m not supposed to be feeling this way – what do I do?’ I wanted out.”
Williams’ recollection highlights the fact that mental health issues can affect anyone, regardless of career success or status, and she said she was bringing up her own experiences to “normalise this mental health discussion”.
She went on to praise musician Demi Lovato for covering her own mental health issues in a recent documentary, Simply Complicated, at the age of 25.
“I think at the age of 25, had I had a name to what I was feeling at the time, I would have disclosed that ‘I’ve been suffering from depression,'” she said.
After her appearance, Williams took to Twitter to clarify a few points she had made during the show, and to urge others suffering from depression to seek help.
“I’m so thankful for the support! I just ask that the headlines and quotes reflect what I said. I didn’t say I ‘wanted out of the group’.”
We salute you, Michelle.
Images: Rex Features / Getty