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Missy Elliott’s experience of being “hospitalised for anxiety” before the Super Bowl is scary but relatable

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Hollie Richardson
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Missy Elliott Super Bowl anxiety

Ahead of performing at the Super Bowl with Katy Perry in 2015, Missy Elliott suffered a severe panic attack.

2019 has been Missy Elliott’s big year. The musician was recognised as an iconic artist when she picked up MTV’s Video Vanguard Award last month. She then gave an unforgettable performance as she delivered a medley of generation-defining songs that we’ve turned up over the last 20+ years. And in a revealing Twitter Q&A after the awards, it sounded like she’s well and truly living her best life. 

But, as a new interview proves, this amazing career journey hasn’t been without its bumps.

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Speaking to The Guardian, Elliott recalled her Super Bowl 2015 performance with Katy Perry. She discussed the severe anxiety that she endured the night before the show, and how it led to her being hospitalised.

“I ended up in the hospital for having an anxiety attack,” she says. “I think any artist who has had a break such as that one would be anxious. 

“I remember Katy saying, ‘This is the perfect time to perform your new record. It’s the biggest platform.’ 

“I was like, ‘I don’t even know if they remember the old ones so I most definitely don’t want to do a new one.’ I’m always anxious whenever I drop anything because you just never know if they’re going to get it. So I’m always biting my nails and pacing the floor.”

Missy Elliot at the VMAs
Missy Elliott at the VMAs 2019.

Anyone who suffers with anxiety will surely relate to just how debilitating it can be, especially when it comes to your career.

Elliott continued to reflect on how nobody in the industry talked about these issues during the 90s, adding: “Anxiety and depression, I’m not gonna lie, I rarely heard that back then.

“But now I hear it a lot. Before social media you really didn’t know what people thought of you but now it’s so in your face that I think it probably gives a lot of artists anxiety. You have a lot of people coming at you, good or bad.”

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With stars like Arianna Grande and Camila Cabello also recently being frank and open about their mental health, it’s almost reassuring to know that even big stars experience anxiety.

The more we talk about it, the less of a taboo it is in our everyday conversations.

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Hollie Richardson

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