Keke Palmer says 'having so much responsibility at a young age' led to 'a lot of depression and anxiety'

Keke Palmer opened up about how being a child star led to mental health issues. (Photo: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images )
Keke Palmer opened up about how being a child star led to mental health issues. (Photo: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images ) (Dave J Hogan via Getty Images)

Nope star Keke Palmer is opening up about her mental health struggles.

The 28-year-old former Nickelodeon actress — who first got her start in the industry at 10 years old with a role in Barbershop 2: Back in Businessspoke to British Vogue this week about how she dealt with “a lot of depression and anxiety” earlier in her career. Palmer explained that these issues stemmed from “not being able to process my emotions” and “having so much responsibility at a young age.”

“I realized the power of positivity when I was fighting depression so young, before even knowing what I was fighting,” the True Jackson, VP alum continued. “I thought, ‘Well, if I make others laugh, I feel good. That’s enough for me to get through the day.’”

Palmer has spoken about her mental health before. In 2017, the Scream Queens actress shared her struggles in her self-help book I Don’t Belong to You: Quiet the Noise and Find Your Voice. She told Cosmopolitan of what inspired the book, “If you grow up in the industry, it forces you to be agreeable at all times…When it came to saying, ‘I’m tired and I want to figure out how to balance my life better,’ ‘I feel lonely, ‘I’m afraid of my stardom’ — those things I could not say.”

In May, Palmer also spoke about struggling with fame on the Call Her Daddy podcast.

“I felt so alone, I'm telling you. It's such a loneliness I would not wish on my worst enemy,” she told host Alex Cooper. “There's no way out of this. It was just a sense of hopelessness as it pertains to human connection and interaction, and that's something that I thrive on, that's what made me love performing. And now, I can barely connect to people and people can barely connect to me. Oh no, I can never go back. You can never go back. Once you're famous, you can never go back."

In addition to her candor about her mental health issues, Palmer has shared her battle with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), which she said led to acne and unwanted body hair. She first posted about the health issue on Instagram in December 2020, and in November 2021, she appeared on The Tamron Hall Show to explain why she wanted to be open about it with her followers.

“It’s a responsibility, and sometimes it can be pressureful, and other times it can happen naturally. I do try to be thoughtful about my platform,” she said at the time. “I’ll be honest, though, when it came to PCOS and my acne struggles, it was to empower myself. It was to give myself the opportunity to say ‘You know, just own who you are. Love yourself.’”

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