Taraji P. Henson Gets Candid About Mental Health And Her Own Struggles With Depression & Anxiety

Taraji P. Henson poses during the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards on February 23, 2019, in Santa Monica, California.
Amy Sussman / Getty Images

Empire star Taraji P. Henson is opening up about her fight to preserve her mental health.

According to E! News, the actress, 48, shares in an interview with Variety that the more her star rises, the more she has found herself facing issues pertaining to her psychological well-being. She also said that her fame made her audience portray her in a certain way that wasn’t true for her.

“[Fame] was fun at first, but the older I get, the more private I want to be,” Henson tells Variety.

“I think there’s a misconception with people in the limelight that we have it all together, and because we have money now and are living out our dreams, everything is fine. That’s not the case. When they yell ‘Cut’ and ‘That’s a wrap,’ I go home to very serious problems. I’m still a real human.”

The What Men Want star also told the magazine that she has depression and anxiety, which she says she deals with every day. To combat her symptoms, she admits that she regularly sees a therapist after realizing that opening up to her friends and family alone wasn’t working for her. She also said that having a professional by her side helps her to better manage, and also helps her with exercises.

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Henson has been vocal about the need for mental health awareness to be more mainstream. In 2018, she started the Boris Lawrence Henson foundation in honor of her late father. Boris struggled with mental health issues shortly after serving in the Vietnam War.

The Acrimony star said she decided to seek help for her and her son after dealing with the death of her father and also the sudden death of her high school sweetheart and the father of her son, William Lamar Johnson. She said that when she didn’t see any therapists that looked like her son and could help him, she knew she had to do some research and provide more people of color an opportunity to seek help from people in their community.

“We’re walking around broken, wounded, and hurt, and we don’t think it’s OK to talk about it,” she said. “We don’t talk about it at home. It’s shunned. It’s something that makes you look weak. We’re told to pray it away.”

The Hidden Figures star’s Variety cover headlines the publication’s Power of Women New York issue, which was released on Tuesday. Bette Midler, Gigi Hadid, Kacey Musgraves, and Christiane Amanpour are also featured.