Self-harm is something that no one should have to deal with. Unfortunately, it is misunderstood by some people, and it is simply not a matter of just “stopping.” Self-harm comes from a place of darkness and it is usually paired with a mental illness, which is still looked down upon in our society. With stars like Demi Lovato speaking out about it, more and more people are understanding that mental disorders and self-harm are things that can happen to anyone and they do not make a person worth less.
This is our list of 20 celebrities with a history of self-harming. You may be surprised that some of these celebs have resorted to self-mutilation, disordered eating, or other destructive behaviors. Some of these stars have succumbed to their risky patterns of behavior, while others have managed to seek help and get better from treatment.
Self-harm is never a way out, and we hope that all of these stars and the other people who suffer from mental illness can get the help they so rightly deserve. We hope that this list sheds some light on this topic. Celebrities are not the only ones who suffer from self-harm. The good news is that there is help out there.
20. Megan Fox
It looks like even hot women like Megan Fox have their insecurities, maybe even more. After all, it is a dog-eat-dog world in Hollywood. Megan Fox revealed that she used to engage in self-harming, but hopefully that is all behind her now. Her poor sense of self left her feeling extremely insecure and that appearances held a lot of importance for her. It led to a ton of self-loathing which manifested in trying to control the situation through self-harm. We all know that those actions are quite the opposite of being in control. This revelation came as a shock considering that Fox always looks so confident and in command.
19. Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp was once quoted as saying that he felt just like he did when he was 17 years old. Um, if that is the case, then we really do not want to imagine what he feels like. What an insecure thing, being a teenager. Apparently it left Depp feeling the same way, and he admitted that some of the scars on his body are from self-inflicted injuries. He compares his body to a journal: the tattoos and scars are reminders of what he has gone through in life and they keep him centered. Wow, now that is deep.
18. Angelina Jolie
What could a gorgeous strong woman like Angelina Jolie have to worry about enough to resort to self-harm? Apparently the actress opened up about her past years, when she would be so fed up with things being “too easy” that she would cut herself. Sheesh, sorry that you are beautiful and independent and successful. Even so, we understand that it is a very serious thing, and that Jolie was looking for something to take the place of the hurt and insecurity. All of that pent-up energy ended up going into cutting and other risky behaviors. We hope that now she understands that she can use that energetic spirit in so many other ways!
17. Russell Brand
Yeah, no doubt that Russell Brand is a scary dude. Yet his rough exterior was actually hiding something else…when he was in his younger days he suffered from the depression and insecurity that strikes many soul-searchers. He succumbed to an eating disorder as well as cutting. He ended up being diagnosed with manic depression and bipolar disorder. He also has attention deficit hyperactive disorder, and that the drugs he was doing definitely did not help with getting help and treatment. Hopefully all of that bad stuff is behind him. Now that he is divorced from Katy Perry, maybe he can start focusing on his own health?
16. Lindsay Lohan
We all know that LiLo has been through some very tough times…and we have seen the dramatic pictures and tell-tale signs that something was seriously wrong with her. With all of the hype surrounding her, we do feel sorry for the young celeb. After she lost a ton of weight and was spotted with scars and scratches along her arms, the media and everyone else knew that she needed to get help. Lindsay previously claimed that she was not a cutter, but later admitted that she had engaged in self-harming activity. We sincerely hope that she can turn things around and just tend to her own needs for now.
15. Drew Barrymore
It is no secret that Drew Barrymore was one wild and crazy teenager. Yet she has managed to remain a tried-and-true movie star who continues to capture our hearts. Drew admitted that she was involved in self-harm as early as her days starring in the film E.T. Then came drugs, alcohol, and the heavier stuff. She attempted suicide and she attacked her wrists with knives. Fortunately, Drew admitted herself into a rehabilitation treatment facility, and she seems to be doing a lot better ever since that last visit. It may have taken multiple stays, but we are glad that this star was able to turn things around.
14. Colin Farrell
While he did not say that he had cut himself when he was younger, Colin Farrell had some self-inflicting behavior during his younger days. He spoke on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and said that he used to actually enjoy pulling out huge tufts of his hair. Along with that strange and painful behavior, Farrell also enjoyed biting his nails and he had an affinity for sneaking out late at night when he was underage. He would then go around like a Peeping Tom and look in on people’s windows. Weird! Call this a bit of oversharing, but it definitely made for some interesting late-night tv!
13. Princess Diana
The Princess of Wales had a dark and dangerous secret: she inflicted pain and harm onto herself. In a taped interview, Princess Diana admitted that she used to make slashes with a knife on her chest and thighs. She also flung herself down the stairs – while pregnant with Prince William! Princess Di was also a sufferer of an eating disorder and was very sensitive to the fights that she would have with her husband, Prince Charles. As if we did not suspect that being a part of royalty took its toll on a person, Princess Diana is certainly proof of it.
12. Sid Vicious
Sid Vicious was a musician for the band, the Sex Pistols. He was known for engaging in self-harm and self-mutilation on the stage. He was also one of the most drug-riddled rock stars in the history of pop culture. That vicious lifestyle took a toll on the rocker, who passed away at just 22 years of age. Shortly before his death, Sid Vicious had murdered Nancy Spungen, who died of stab wounds. He was heavily under the influence and police had to take him in for (confusing) questioning. He was later released on bail but was arrested again for assault charges. He died in 1979 after overdosing on heroin.
11. Miley Cyrus
Back before Miley Cyrus chopped off all her hair, twerked on the stage with Robin Thicke, and took a liking to sticking her tongue out all the time, it seemed as though she had a chance to get her act together. Then she was suspected of self-harm and cutting herself. Scars on her wrists showed something that looked very much like self-inflicted wounds, and doctors, professionals, and family and friends of Miley were shocked and very concerned. This started her need for some serious help, and while she may have tried to say that the scratches were from her dog, nobody was buying that.
10. Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato was in the news a lot for her various struggles. She had an eating disorder and was then diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She checked into rehab in 2010 and has been flourishing ever since. This is definitely an inspiring, feel-good story of a celeb who got the help she needed and is not just surviving, but thriving. She is now a proponent of taking care of mental health and is a change of pace from the hush-hush of mental disorders in Hollywood. She even released songs that related to her struggles. We were very happy to see something good come out of this situation.
9. Marilyn Manson
Marilyn Manson’s story sure is a bit of a woe-is-me deal. He said that he was an extremely introverted and insecure teen, and that he was surrounded by contradictions everywhere he turned: family, school, church. He turned to drugs and self-harm, among other things, such as the dark arts. When he was just a freshman in high school he began cutting himself. He later cut himself while performing onstage, prompting some of his fans to walk in his dangerous footsteps. Marilyn Manson published a book and at the time of its release, he claimed to have about 450 scars on his body.
8. Christina Ricci
Christina Ricci engaged in some particularly harmful activities and behaviors in the past. She would experiment with drugs and she was an avid smoker. She even put out her cigarette butts on her arm. Ouch. According to Ricci, putting the cigs out on her own skin helped her to feel a “rush” and it may have been her way of dealing with all of the stress of Hollywood. After all, Christina Ricci is one of the many examples of what it is like to become famous at a young age. We hope that now that she is a mature adult, she has learned her lesson and got all of the risky behaviors and patterns out of her system.
7. Darrell Hammond
He may now be known for his funny work on Saturday Night Live, but Darrell Hammond had a history with self-harm and poor self-esteem. He began cutting himself, and digging into his skin became a bit of a past time for the celeb. Apparently the self-inflicted harm was the result of his tumultuous childhood in which he was exposed to electrical shocks, stabbings, and beatings from his own mom. He landed in the hospital and then took to harming himself. Pain and suffering was just a part of his life, and he spent a lot of time with psychiatrists. While performing on SNL, he often had to use drugs to keep himself under control and that he did cut himself on set.
6. Amy Winehouse
Singer Amy Winehouse’s struggles were perhaps some of the most high-profile examples of a celebrity downward spiral. She was involved in a number of self-harming episodes and activities, such as cutting and abusing harmful substances. She supposedly created a painting using her own menstrual blood, and she had some much-spotlighted scars in the form of a criss-cross on her arm. Many suspect that those scars were the results of her self-harm and cutting. Winehouse would often sing about her struggles, including in the very popular song Rehab, in which she sings “no, no, no.” Unfortunately, the singer passed away from her self-destruction.
5. Courtney Love
When Courtney Love would get super high on drugs, she would engage in self-harm and cutting. She had scars on her body as a result of her drug-intensive episodes. While we knew that the star was not afraid to speak her mind and do her own thing, we were appalled and deeply concerned about her destructive behaviors. Besides being accused of Kurt Cobain’s death, she tried to relieve her emotional pain through self-mutilation. She was quoted as saying that self-destruction gets “a really bad rap…it can also mean self-reflection and poetic sensibility.” No, Courtney. No. Her other behaviors included shoplifting and partying.
4. Fiona Apple
Fiona Apple is another singer who used her music to express her bouts with self-harm. The rather outspoken and wild singer released an album with a lengthy title: The Idler Wheel is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do. She also engaged in cutting as a means of feeling something more and getting to something deeper. She sang song lyrics that pertained to that, and later said that she hoped her fans would not think that she was supporting self-harm. You have to be careful what you sing about, Fiona!
3. Shirley Manson
Shirley Manson, who sang in the grunge band Garbage, says that she can definitely relate to people who participate in self-harming activities. The singer has fallen victim to such patterns of behavior in the past. She had very low self-esteem and felt like she was worth nothing. The good news is that she was able to rise up from those bad vibes and is now considered a “former self-harmer.” She is trying to be a source of light and hope for people who struggle with those feelings of self-hatred. The celeb spoke out about her struggles and said that she wants to urge people to get help and that no one deserves to feel like she did.
2. Paris Jackson
After Michael Jackson’s death in 2009, many people were concerned for his children. His daughter, Paris, was especially hard-hit in this situation. She resorted to self-harm by cutting her arms and then in 2013 she attempted suicide. She survived, yet the whole ordeal was very frightening. Apparently she had left a suicide note and then proceeded to hack at herself with a meat cleaver. Considering that Paris once stated that Kurt Cobain is Jesus, it was definitely scary to think of what else she would do. Clearly, the reality of her father’s death, combined with all of the media hype surrounding the circumstances had left her lost and confused.
1. Troian Bellisario
Troian Bellisario’s claim to fame came from the hit ABC Family show Pretty Little Liars. Bellisario was unfortunately the victim of various self-harming behaviors, such as an eating disorder, which left her feeling like a “fraud.” She opened up in a media interview and expressed the feelings she had at that dark point in her life. She began her self-destructive behavior in high school, and even at a more mature age, said that she still does struggle with feelings of questioning her self-worth. Hey, we all do. We hope that Bellisario was able to get through that tough time with the strength to stay away from them in the future.