Celebrity Moms Who Battled Postpartum Depression

7:00 AM 10/25/2015

by THR staff

Brooke Shields, Bryce Dallas Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow and more have all spoken out about overcoming postpartum depression.

drew barrymore hayden panetierre Split - H 2015
AP Images

drew barrymore hayden panetierre Split - H 2015

Hayden Panettiere recently entered rehab for postpartum depression and Drew Barrymore also spoke out about battling the mental illness.

These actresses aren't the first to be open about their experiences, and postpartum depression groups say that the more prominent women that speak up, the better.

"For Hayden first to publicly share her experience with PPD and then to be open about deciding to seek out further professional treatment, is important," Katherine Stone of Postpartum Progress told The Hollywood Reporter.  "The more of us who speak publicly, including female business executives, entertainment industry stars, community leaders and others, about how real maternal mental illness is, the better."

In addition to Panettiere and Barrymore, celebrities like Brooke Shields, Amanda Peet and Courteney Cox have also spoken out about postpartum depression. Here's a look at what they had to say.


  • Bryce Dallas Howard

    "Post-partum depression is hard to describe—the way the body and mind and spirit fracture and crumble in the wake of what most believe should be a celebratory time," Bryce Dallas Howard wrote on Goop

    "My mom and best girlfriend rotated sleeping in the bed beside 'Theo' and myself, whom at that point I mysteriously referred to as 'it,' even though we had named him. I should have taken that as a sign," she said.

    "It is strange for me to recall what I was like at that time. I seemed to be suffering emotional amnesia. I couldn’t genuinely cry, or laugh, or be moved by anything. For the sake of those around me, including my son, I pretended, but when I began showering again in the second week, I let loose in the privacy of the bathroom, water flowing over me as I heaved uncontrollable sobs."

  • Courteney Cox

    "I went through a really hard time — not right after the baby, but when (Coco) turned 6 months," Courteney Cox told USA Today while speaking about her delayed postpartum depression. "I couldn't sleep. My heart was racing. And I got really depressed."

    She said she went to the doctor and found out her "hormones had been pummeled." She took progesterone and relied on friends like Brooke Shields and Jennifer Aniston as she recovered.


  • Gwyneth Paltrow

    “When my son, Moses, came into the world in 2006, I expected to have another period of euphoria following his birth," Gwyneth Paltrow wrote on her website. "Instead I was confronted with one of the darkest and most painfully debilitating chapters of my life.” 

    In an interview with Good Housekeeping she said she "felt like a zombie." She said, "I couldn't access my heart. I couldn't access my emotions. I couldn't connect. It was terrible. It was the exact opposite of what had happened when Apple was born. With her, I was on cloud nine. I couldn't believe it wasn't the same [after Moses was born]. I just thought it meant I was a terrible mother and a terrible person."

  • Brooke Shields

    Brooke Shields wrote a book about her experience, called Down Came the Rain: My Journey With Postpartum Depression.

    "At first I thought what I was feeling was just exhaustion, but with it came an overriding sense of panic that I had never felt before," writes Shields. "Rowan kept crying, and I began to dread the moment when Chris would bring her back to me. I started to experience a sick sensation in my stomach; it was as if a vise were tightening around my chest. Instead of the nervous anxiety that often accompanies panic, a feeling of devastation overcame me." 

    She added, "I also didn’t feel like I wanted to get too close to Rowan. I wasn’t afraid she was too fragile; I just felt no desire to pick her up. Every time I have ever been near a baby, any baby, I have always wanted to hold the child. It shocked me that I didn’t want to hold my own daughter."

  • Vanessa Lachey

    Vanessa Lachey wrote about the "baby blues" she experienced on her blog. "I started crying. I was feeding Camden and crying my eyes out. I felt like I had officially come undone," wrote Lachey. "I imagined blissful days, tired nights, but quiet loving moments. I imagined family dinners with the 12 casseroles I prepared ahead of time, and a beautiful post-pregnancy glow that embodied me 24-7. But This was none of that."

    She added, "I didn’t feel like myself. Where was the super woman who always thought and knew she could do it all? Where was the organized Vanessa who had it all under control no matter what the obstacle? She was gone, and I thought… forever."



  • Amanda Peet

    "I had a fairly serious postpartum depression," Amanda Peet told Gotham magazine. "I think it was because I had a really euphoric pregnancy." She said she felt "sleep-deprived beyond belief" and her euphoria "came crashing down" when her daughter was born.

    "I want to be honest about it because I think there’s still so much shame when you have mixed feelings about being a mom instead of feeling this sort of ‘bliss.,’" said Peet. "I think a lot of people still really struggle with that, but it’s hard to find other people who are willing to talk about it."

  • Hayden Panettiere

    “It’s something a lot of women experience," Hayden Panettiere said on Live with Kelly and Michael. "When [you’re told] about postpartum depression you think it’s ‘I feel negative feelings towards my child, I want to injure or hurt my child’ — I’ve never, ever had those feelings. Some women do."

    "But you don’t realize how broad of a spectrum you can really experience that on," she continued. "It’s something that needs to be talked about. Women need to know that they’re not alone, and that it does heal.”

    The actress is now voluntarily seeking professional help at a treatment center.

  • Alanis Morissette

    “The degree and intensity of my post-natal depression shocked me," Alanis Morissette told You magazine. "I am predisposed to depression, but what surprised me this time was the physical pain. I hadn’t realized the depths to which you can ache – limbs, back, torso, head, everything hurt – and it went on for 15 months. I felt as if I was covered in tar and everything took 50 times more effort than normal."

    On Good Morning America she said, "It was just a really intense time and if I could share anything with anyone who's going through it, it would be to encourage them to seek help and reach out a little earlier than I did."

  • Drew Barrymore

    “I didn’t have postpartum the first time [I had a baby] so I didn’t understand it because I was like, ‘I feel great!’" Drew Barrymore told People. "The second time, I was like, 'Oh, whoa, I see what people talk about now. I understand.' 

    “It’s a different type of overwhelming with the second. I really got under the cloud.”



  • Lisa Rinna

    “After having my first daughter Delilah, I had severe postpartum depression,” Lisa Rinna told HLN's Dr. Drew. "I kept it a secret. I didn't say a word to anybody in the world. [My husband] thought I was just nuts. He had no idea what was going on and I was so hopeless and felt so lost.”

    "Ten months later, [I] opened up to him and told him how worthless I felt," she said. "My self-esteem was gone. I didn't want to have sex. It was opening up something that I felt so much shame about was the most valuable thing that I could have done.”