Michelle Williams, Kelly Rowland, and Beyoncé were on top of the world—and the charts—while performing as Destiny’s Child in the late ’90s and early 2000s. But during an appearance on CBS’s The Talk this week, Williams revealed that her time in the girl group marked one of the lowest points of her life.
On Wednesday’s episode, Williams and the hosts of The Talk were discussing the bravery of various celebrities for coming forward about their mental health struggles in recent years when she revealed that she had suffered from severe depression starting in her early teens, but didn’t realize what was going on until her 30s. “So many people are walking around, acting like they’ve got it all together, and they’re suffering,” she said. “So, for years I just thought it was growing pains. I just thought, ‘I’m turning into a woman.'”
She continued, “I’m in one of the top-selling female groups of all time, suffering with depression. When I disclosed it to our manager at the time, bless his heart, he was like, ‘Y’all just signed a multi-million dollar deal and you’re about to go on tour. What do you have to be depressed about?’ So I was like, ‘Oh, maybe I’m just tired.'” Williams noted that she doesn’t harbor any ill will for that manager, Beyoncé’s father, Matthew Knowles. “It’s kinda like, he could’ve been right,” she said. “I think he wanted me to be grateful, which I was, but I was still sad, you know? And so I want to normalize this mental health discussion.”
Williams, 37, said that her depression likely stemmed from experiences she had throughout her childhood. “I just internalized everything. I didn’t have an outlet,” she said. “You know, you go to church, and you just sweep it under the rug, and then you pray about it.”
The singer shared that her condition worsened over time, “to the point of, I was suicidal.” She continued, “I was to that place where it got so dark and heavy, because sometimes you feel like, ‘I’m the provider, I take care of people. I’m not supposed to be feeling this way. What do I do?’ And I wanted out.” Luckily, she reached out for and received help in time. “It’s off. It’s released. I’ve released it,” she said.
Now, she’s on a mission to “normalize this mental health discussion.” Williams applauded Demi Lovato for being so open about her own struggles with her mental health, and added, “Depression doesn’t mean lazy. Self-harm don’t mean you want attention. It’s not any of that.”
Later on Wednesday, Williams thanked The Talk for allowing her to speak openly about her mental health. “Thank you @TheTalkCBS for being a safe place to talk about #depression #mentalhealthawareness!! Don’t be afraid to reach out for help!” she tweeted.