Emma Stone Opens Up About Anxiety And Reveals How Acting Has Helped Her Cope

"I think my parents saw that acting was the thing that made me fulfilled and happy."

Emma Stone is getting honest about her mental health. In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the Oscar-nominated La La Land star talks about her journey with anxiety. 

"It's just the way I'm wired," she said of the panic attacks and shyness she experienced growing up, for which her parents put her in therapy at age 7. It might seem surprising that she then decided to pursue acting, but Stone explains that participating in youth theater after school — embodying other people and interacting with her peers through improv comedy — actually helped her cope. 

"I think my parents saw that acting was the thing that made me fulfilled and happy," Stone told the magazine. That's why, when she made a PowerPoint presentation at age 14 asking to move to Hollywood, they agreed to help her pursue her dream. 

Still, the fame Stone gained as a young woman was difficult to handle at first. "Losing my anonymity after Easy A, it was like being 7 years old all over again. It terrified me," she said.


Although the actress has gotten better at being in the spotlight, she still struggles. Stone suffered something like a panic attack while filming Birdman in 2014. "The tightrope walk of that movie, the pacing and timing — I lost my mind a bit," she said. "I just got to a point where I snapped."

Stone still gets very nervous before interviews, and she has anxiety related to past experiences and injuries, including being lifted into the air, riding horses, and playing sports. But just like when she was a kid, acting continues to help her through some of her fears. She plays tennis icon Billie Jean King in the upcoming film Battle of the Sexes, and to prepare for the role she had lessons with King herself. "She reduced the game to straight hand-eye coordination and had me chasing a ball around the court," Stone said.

Stone's honesty, like that of many fellow celebrities who have opened up about their mental health, is a step toward ending the stigma associated with these issues and showing others who are struggling that they're not alone. Her positive experience with performing, meanwhile, is a testament to the importance of the arts, especially for young people.

(H/T: The Hollywood Reporter)

Cover image: Andrea Raffin / Shutterstock, Inc.


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