Money, Fame & Depression – Celebs Who Couldn’t Handle Success

Despite success and fame, we’re all human and are not immune to emotional and physical struggles. Everyone wants to be rich and famous, but the two cannot buy happiness. Most of the rich celebrities we adore are struggling or have struggled with depression. The posh and perfect lives they portray on social media and other online platforms are usually different from the reality of their lives.

The assumption that money, fame, and influence cushions celebrities from stress are wrong. The three come with different levels of responsibility, tension, and other personal issues. 

Here are the top 5 stars who couldn’t handle success.

Matthew Perry

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Matthew Perry is a successful comedian best known for his role in the famous Friends Show that was aired for eight years (1994 – 2004). While most celebrities shy away from talking about their struggles, Matthew Perry openly discusses his struggles with depression and addiction.

In a 2012 The New York Times interview, he said, “when fame happens, it’s kind of like Disneyland for a while. For me, it lasted about eight months, this feeling of I’ve made it, I’m thrilled, there’s no problem in the world. And then you realize it doesn’t accomplish anything; it’s certainly not filling any holes in your life.”

Things started to snowball downhill after a jet ski accident in 1997. He turned to Vicodin to deal with the stress and depression of the accident. Eventually, he got addicted to it and upgraded to alcohol abuse.

Matthew has been in rehab 15 times, attended approximately 6,000 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and had a whopping 14 surgeries. He is optimistic that he won’t relapse. 

He says that his past near-death experiences, scars from the 14 stomach surgeries, and experiences at different depression treatment centers serve as reminders to stay sober.

Britney Spears

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Britney Spears is a famous and respected artist who has had a series of nasty brushes with mental illness and alcohol addiction at different stages of her career. She started her career in 1992 when she was featured in The Mickey Mouse Club film alongside other celebrities such as Ryan Gosling, Keri Russell, Christina Aguilera, and Justin Timberlake.

The media reported her struggles with alcohol and drug abuse countless times. Antidepressants were not enough to curb her depression and stress. In 2007, the court-appointed her father as a co-conservator after her public breakdown, which was hugely criticized online and offline. 

Like Matthew Perry, she openly discusses her mental health challenges in interviews and hopes that her story helps others struggling with the same issues get better. Notably, she checked herself into a wellness facility to focus on her health, particularly mental health and alcohol addiction.

Angelina Jolie

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Following the untimely passing on of her mother in 2007, Angelina Jolie is reported to have struggled with depression for months. This wasn’t her first time, though, dealing with depression. She experienced mental health issues in her teens and early twenties.

Before 2010, she had never admitted to going to rehab or doing therapy in an interview. In one interview, she revealed that she started abusing drugs and alcohol as a teen. She got addicted to them and ended up secluding herself from her peers to cope with depression.

“I knew little about the world, and I was completely self-absorbed. I was searching for something deeper, something more, I tried everything. I always felt caged…like I was punching at things that weren’t there. I always had too much energy for the room I was in,” Jolie told 60 Minutes.

Luckily, depression medication and mental therapy helped her deal with the issues. Will she manage to stay clean? Time will tell, but everyone hopes she doesn’t fall back on drugs and alcohol.

Lady Gaga

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Lady Gaga is another renowned celebrity who is not afraid to speak about her marijuana and cocaine addiction struggles. In several interviews, she openly admitted to having used the two to cope with the pressures of fame.

In an Oprah Winfrey interview, Lady Gaga confessed that she was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and fibromyalgia. For years, she relied on mental health medications and therapy to cope with depression. She also has a personal shrink therapist and established a foundation dubbed, Born This Way.

The foundation’s goal is to offer professional counseling and guidance to teenagers dealing with mental health issues, eating disorders, and substance abuse.

Justin Bieber

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In 2020, Justin Bieber shocked the world when he revealed his struggles with drug abuse in a YouTube documentary called Seasons. He confessed to being addicted to cannabis; at times, it was the first thing he would take when he woke up.

He started smoking cannabis at the tender age of 13 and then moved up the ladder to other hard drugs, such as cocaine. He said, “I was young, like everybody in the industry and people in the world who experiment.”

“My security was coming in at night to check my pulse. People don’t know how serious it got, he said. His engagement with Hailey Baldwin, his wife, and the realization that he was dying prompted him to change his ways. A personal marriage and family therapist also played a crucial role in keeping the couple together despite Justin’s ups and downs.

Final Thoughts

It’s no secret that thousands of young, rich, and famous people struggle with mental health and substance abuse. The bottom line is money and fame cannot buy happiness or guarantee a stress-free life.


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