She Hit The A-List In A Huge Way
By the time she was 22 years old, Keira Knightley had cemented her position on the A-list. With a massive franchise and an Oscar nomination under her belt, Knightley was firmly in the spotlight. While that can be great for an actress's career, it can also be a source of major stress.
In a new interview with The Telegraph, Knightley opened up about the extreme stress that fame caused her, particularly because of the celebrity culture of the mid-2000s.
"The value of photographs of any famous young women at the time went up if they were of a very negative nature. So if you weren’t already having a mental breakdown, they were trying to push you into doing things that kept your value as high as those who were."
The Stress Was Too Much
At the time (and honestly still today), the paparazzi felt no qualms from endangering the subjects of their photos, even to the point of extreme endangerment. Knightley explained,
"I remember Scarlett Johansson getting forced off the road in Los Angeles, then someone trying to do the same to me in Kentish Town. I told them I was going to kill somebody; they said they’d get more money if I did…I don’t know how things are now…but it was definitely a moment I wanted to run away from. It did not feel like it would end anywhere well."
Pushed To The Breaking Point
Things got so dire that Knightley ended up taking a year off from Hollywood and entered therapy. She told The Hollywood Reporter last year:
"I did have a mental breakdown at 22, so I did take a year off there and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder because of all of that stuff. I went deep into therapy and all of that, and she [the therapist] said, 'It's amazing — I normally come in here and have people that think people are talking about them and they think that they're being followed, but actually they're not. You're the first person that actually that is happening to!'"
Changing Her Life
Luckily, that break didn't harm Knightley's career, who continued to establish herself and earned a second Oscar nomination. Focusing more on indie film than the blockbuster scene, Knightley has also settled into a new role as a mom to two children with her husband James Righton.
Hopefully by speaking out about her experiences, the stigma surrounding mental health can be erased, as well as the damaging role of the paps. Even people in the public eye deserve their privacy.