Hayley Williams talks frankly about taking a Paramore hiatus and mental health

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Amy Swales
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Hayley Williams, lead singer of Paramore, has discussed in a new interview why she took a brief break from the band, describing debilitating bouts of depression that saw her spend days in bed.

Mississippi-born Williams, 28, said one of the worst periods was in 2015 and led her to privately quit the hugely successful group for a spell.

Speaking to Fader magazine, she said she eventually turned to a therapist to get through the period, but described one of her lowest points.

“For the first time in my life, there wasn’t a pinhole of light at the end of the tunnel. I thought, I just wish everything would stop. It wasn’t in the sense of, I’m going to take my life. It was just hopelessness.

“Like, what’s the point? I don’t think I understood how dangerous hopelessness is. Everything hurts.”

Williams was 15 when she signed a record deal and 16 when the band’s debut album All We Know is Falling was released in 2005.

On the break two years ago, she told the magazine: “I just was done. I thought, ‘There’s gotta be something else that I’m good at in my life. Maybe it’s time for me to find that.’”

However, she slowly began working again with songwriting partner Taylor York, whom the article says suffered depression himself in the past, and eventually an album started forming.

“I told her she didn’t have to do stuff. But I just kept writing, and then there was this time that she got it again,” he explained.

New album After Laughter was released in May this year, and Williams describes how she didn’t exactly feel jubilant when it came out, because she realised that working on it had been what had kept her going through such a dark time.

“It was a heavy day because we were letting go of this thing that we felt kept us alive,” she said. “And I do think it kept me alive.”

Other women in the public have discussed about their mental health struggles in the past in the hope of showing others experiencing the same thing that they’re not alone, and opening up the conversation for those who might otherwise find it difficult to talk about it.

Recently, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Emma Stone, Lena Dunham, Ellie Goulding and Katy Perry have talked frankly about suffering from, variously, depression, OCD, anxiety and postnatal depression.

If you or someone you know if struggling with a mental health issue, information and support can be found at

Images: Rex Features


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Amy Swales

Amy Swales is a freelance writer who likes to eat, drink and talk about her dog. She will continue to plunder her own life and the lives of her loved ones for material in the name of comedy, catharsis and getting pictures of her dog on the internet.