Mental illness, especially when it’s related to celebrities, has been in the news quite a bit lately. After Robin Williams‘ tragic suicide and the now-widespread knowledge of his battle with severe depression, substance abuse and alcoholism, the general public is talking more about mental health.
While there’s a popular train of thought that creative people have a higher prevalence of mental illness, that’s not the case according to Scientific American. They say that while there’s a slight increase in creativity among those with bipolar disorder, there isn’t much of a difference between creative and non-creative people with mental illness. Still, there are many famous people that have had battles with mental illness, just like the rest of us. In fact, some have had such a tough battle that they even spent time in psychiatric hospitals.
Read on for our list of 8 famous people who have spent time in psychiatric hospitals and mental institutions.
8. Susan Boyle Stayed at Priory Hospital
In 2009, Susan Boyle became a sensation when she auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent. Millions of fans were shocked to hear such an amazing voice coming from a seemingly average woman. She was welcomed onto the reality TV show with open arms after that first audition, but it didn’t all go swimmingly. According to an article in The Times, she exhibited some erratic behavior behind the scenes as the competition progressed. When she got second place on the show, that was apparently too much for Susan. She checked into Priory Hospital the day after the live finale episode. Many suspected she wouldn’t be able to travel with the Britain’s Got Talent concert series due to her hospital stay, but she proved them wrong. She was released from the hospital only three days later and was able to perform at most of the concerts.
7. David Foster Wallace Stayed at McLean Hospital
Some depression stories don’t have a happen ending. That’s the case with the award-winning Pullitzer Prize-nominated author David Foster Wallace. David had a long battle with depression and even spent time at the famous McLean Hospital in Massachusetts. According to Mental Floss, he stayed in the hospital for four weeks to treat his depression and substance abuse when he was only 27. Still, that depression was a lifelong battle that he eventually lost when he committed suicide in 2008 at the age of 46. His father told The New York Times that David had been using medication to stabilize his depression in the two decades before his death.
6. Carrie Fisher Has Been In and Out of Hospitals for Decades
Carrie Fisher is best known for her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise but has also had immense success as a novelist and screenwriter. While she battled Stormtroopers in the movies, she has battled bipolar disorder in her personal life for decades. According to an interview Carrie did with Herald-Tribune, she was first diagnosed with the mental illness when she was just 25. She would often self-medicate with drugs and alcohol, but she also found help in many psychiatric hospitals over the years. She still gets regular treatment from professionals. In the interview, she said “I take ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) and lots of medication.” Still, this is a lifelong battle for her.
5. Steven Tyler Reportedly Stayed at McLean Hospital
Psychiatric hospitals don’t just deal with depression and mental disorders–they also deal with addiction, which can also be considered a disorder. That was the reason why Steven Tyler reportedly stayed at McLean Hospital in 1986. After his Aerosmith bandmates confronted him about his drug use, he stayed in the rehab wing at the hospital. After that stay, he remained sober for decades until he fell off the wagon with painkiller addiction. He entered an unnamed rehab again in 2009 according to People Magazine. At the time, he said in an official statement, “With the help of my family and team of medical professionals, I am taking responsibility for the management of my pain and am eager to be back on the stage…”
4. Britney Spears Stayed in the Psychiatric Wing of UCLA Medical Center
While many of the entries in the list will surprise readers, few who paid any attention to Britney Spears‘ plights in 2007 will be surprised that she spent time in a hospital. At the time, her breakdown was highly publicized, including the pictures of her freshly shaved head as she wields an umbrella at the camera. Because of these events and the loss of custody of her children, she was involuntarily committed to the psychiatric wing of the UCLA Medical Center. According to the Los Angeles Times, she left the hospital less than a week later after the involuntary hold was over. Right afterward, her parents released a statement saying, “We are deeply concerned about our daughter’s safety and vulnerability and we believe her life is presently at risk.” Luckily, things seem to be back on track for Britney and she was listed as the highest paid female musician of 2012 by Forbes Magazine.
3. Roseanne Barr Stayed at Ohio State Hospital
Mental illness can be complicated. For someone living with a disorder, life can be filled with ups and downs. For Roseanne Barr, her troubles started early. According to the Philadelphia News, Roseanne spent eight months institutionalized at the Ohio State Hospital when she was only 16 after her behavior became erratic after a car accident. The story doesn’t end there, though. Over the years, she has had to deal with a lot. In 1991, she told People Magazine that she was an incest survivor and had been attending an incest recovery group. She also claims on her blog that she has multiple personality disorder and still experiences the symptoms on occasion.
2. James Taylor Stayed at McLean Hospital
Most people know James Taylor as the singer/songwriter who created songs for hit musicians such as Carole King and Carly Simon. He’s earned five Grammy Awards over the years and was even inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. Few fans realize that he has struggled with depression since he was a teenager. After sleeping 20 hours a day and worrying his parents and high school teachers, James was sent to the famous McLean Hospital in Massachusetts. He told the Boston Globe of his experience, “Above all, the day was planned for me there, and I began to have a sense of time and structure, like canals and railroad tracks.” He spent nine months at the hospital before being released. While staying at the hospital helped him get a handle on things, he considers his depression a lifetime affliction. He told the New York Times, “It’s an inseparable part of my personality that I have these feelings.”
1. Catherine Zeta-Jones Stayed at Silver Hill Hospital
Just because a celebrity is rich, famous and successful doesn’t mean they don’t deal with some of the same struggles as the rest of us. Catherine Zeta-Jones deals with a mental health issue that affects over 2% of Americans according to the National Institute of Mental Health: bipolar disorder. Because of her condition, she voluntarily checked herself into Connecticut’s Silver Hill Hospital in April, 2011. A friend of Catherine told People Magazine that she spent five days in the hospital. In an official statement, Catherine’s publicist said of her reasons for the stay, “After dealing with the stress of the past year, Catherine made the decision to check in to a mental health facility for a brief stay to treat her Bipolar II Disorder.”