Former Destiny’s Child member, Michelle Williams, has revealed that she battled depression and suicidal thoughts right at the height of her fame with the chart-topping group.
“I didn’t know until I was in my 30s what was going on,” Williams said while guest cohosting The Talk with hosts Julie Chen, Sara Gilbert, Sheryl Underwood and Sharon Osbourne. “I just thought it was growing pains. I just thought, ‘I’m turning into a woman.’ I’ve been suffering since the ages of between 13 and 15. At that age, I didn’t know what to call it.”
The singer said that at the time she didn’t quite understand why she felt the way she did, thinking, “I’m in one of the top-selling female groups of all time, suffering with depression.”
Williams remembers that she tried to reach out for help to the group’s manager, Mathew Knowles, Beyoncé’s father, about how she was feeling. “When I disclosed it to our manager at the time, bless his heart, he was like, ‘You all just signed a multi-million dollar deal. 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 said. But the singer admitted that she only got worse from there “to the point where I was suicidal. 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”.
“I think at the age of 25, had I had a name to what I was feeling at the time, I would have disclosed that ‘I’ve been suffering from depression,” she said.
Williams says she’s sharing this experience because she’s inspired by Demi Lovato’s bravery in talking about her battles, and that she wants women to be more open up about their private struggles with mental health. “I just want to normalize the discussion,” she said.
After her appearance, she wrote on Twitter to thank the show. “Thank you @TheTalkCBS for being a safe place to talk about #depression #mentalhealthawareness!! Don’t be afraid to reach out for help!”