Keira Knightley Opens Up About Mental Breakdown & PTSD In Her 20s

Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.
Now 33, Pirates of the Caribbean star Keira Knightley has been in the acting game since she was just a teenager. However, while her Disney franchise — and a slew of other movies, including Love, Actually, Atonement, and Pride & Prejudice, the last of which earned her an Academy Award nomination — rose her to the top of the A-list, it wasn't always easy navigating fame.
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter's "Awards Chatter" podcast, Knightley — whom critics are currently praising for her role as feminist author in Colette — admitted that she once dealt with mental health issues that were exacerbated by her fame.
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Knightley admitted on the podcast that she felt intense pressure during the press circuit for Pride & Prejudice, because "you're getting all these nominations for all of these things, but press-wise, when I'm going into interviews, people are still saying, 'Everybody thinks you're shit,' or focusing on your looks, or focusing on what's wrong with you."
When it came time to do the awards circuit for her film Atonement, she was struggling with panic attacks, Knightley revealed to The Hollywood Reporter.
"I hadn't been out of the house for three months when the BAFTA nomination [for her performance in Atonement] happened, and I remember having conversations with my agent and going, 'I can't get there,' and everyone going, 'If you don't get to the BAFTAs, the heat on you is going to be ten times more.' So I actually did hypnotherapy so that I could stand on the red carpet at the BAFTAs and not have a panic attack."
She added:
"I did have a mental breakdown at 22, so I did take a year off there and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder because of all of that stuff."
This is not the first time that Knightley has addressed the downside to fame. In 2015, while promoting her Oscar-nominated The Imitation Game at a TimesTalk and TIFF panel, she shared that living in fear of the paparazzi isn't exactly fun.
"Having 20 to 30 men who you don't know on a 24-hour surveillance outside your house calling you a 'whore' every time you leave the door to try to get a reaction from you is quite a difficult thing to deal with," she said during the talk.
By the way, if you're surprised about Knightley's frankness — don't be. This is the woman who, in October of 2018, penned a women-empowering essay about giving birth. It's very first line? "My vagina split."
While we may think that celebrities have it made, Knightley's candidness about her own struggles is a reminder that mental health issues can affect everyone.
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