Keira Knightley is opening up about the way fame negatively impacted her mental health, and the hard work she put in to rise about the spotlight's glare. Her early years of stardom gave her Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, she said, but she found a way to keep doing what she loves.
Knightley first spoke about her PTSD diagnosis back in October of this year, but the news is making the rounds again in light of a new profile, published today in The Sunday Times.
"It was very intense and lonely," she revealed, per Refinery29. "If there’s a camera at a party, I don’t think that’s a party, so I was never interested in being in that scene. I always wanted to be top of the class, and I always wanted to be perfect, and I always thought that I could just do fame right. I tried being 5lb heavier, but then people say you have cellulite, and then 5lb lighter, and then you’re anorexic and causing people to die. It was just so much. But in a funny way I think I was quite lucky in that it was so insane that I sort of recognised it."
All the negative attention came between Knightley and her work, but not her support system, she said, explaining, "I literally couldn’t work for a year and I didn’t know whether there would be an end to that. I have a super-solid background and thank f--- for that. My family and my small but very close group of friends just wrapped me up. And I think, without that, it would have been a very different story. I knew I always had somebody there to cuddle me who didn’t want anything from me."
"I literally felt like I was worthless," Knightley revealed back in October, reflecting on hearing so much criticism when she first rose to superstardom at a young age. "I felt pretty much like actually I didn't exist and I was this weird creature with this weird face that people seemed to respond to in quite an extreme way, and I couldn't quite figure any of it out." The BBC reported at the time that "At one point Knightley did not leave the house for three months. She also had to have hypnotherapy to prevent a panic attack in order to be able to attend the Baftas in 2008, where she was nominated for Atonement."
Now married with a daughter and a busy career, Knightley has found a way to stay out of the public eye when she needs to. Last Thursday, she was even awarded the OBE, or Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
Not bad not bad.
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Photographer: Tim Walker
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