We know that Michelle Williams is living her best life right now, finding love with boyfriend Chad Johnson and turning heads with her fashions these days. But while hanging out with the ladies of The Talk this week, the singer admitted things haven’t always been rosy. The 37-year-old was struggling so much with depression at times while in Destiny’s Child that she “wanted out” of life.
The conversation started after the hosts discussed Demi Lovato opening about her own past substance abuse and mental health issues in her now documentary. As for Williams, she stated that she hadn’t heard many people talk about depression during the early ’00s and when she tried to go to the group’s manager with her feelings, Mathew Knowles, he didn’t understand what her deal was.
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“At the age of 25, had I had a name for what I was feeling at the time, I would have disclosed that ‘I’ve been suffering from depression,’” she said. “I didn’t know until I was in my 30s what was going on. I just thought it was growing pains. I just thought, ‘I’m turning into a woman,’ so I’ve been suffering since between the ages of 13 and 15. Like I said, at that age, I didn’t know what to call it.”
“So many people are walking around acting like they’ve got it together and they’re suffering,” she continued. “So for years, I’m in one of the top-selling female groups of all time, suffering with depression. And 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! 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.’ I went to him but it’s kind of like, he could have been right at the time. I think he wanted me to be grateful, and I was, but I was still sad. So I want to normalize this mental health discussion.”
She went on to say that she felt like her depression was brought on by rough things she’d seen growing up. But because it wasn’t something people talked about a lot, and she didn’t have an outlet to get it off of her chest, she just went to church, prayed about it and then swept it under the rug for quite some time.
“So it got really, really bad,” she said. “It was to the point that 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?’ I wanted out.”
While it was something she was able to work through after being in the group, Williams doesn’t fault her former band manager or anyone else in her life for not knowing how to handle her feelings. But she also wanted to make it clear that depression isn’t someone’s cry for a little bit of attention.
“And this is not to say anything bad about him. That’s something normal,” she said. “He’s not the only person in my life who said, ‘What do you have?! No, you’re good! You’re ok!’”
“Depression doesn’t mean lazy,” Williams added. “Self-harm doesn’t mean you want attention. It’s not any of that.”