Paramore's Hayley Williams opened up about her mental health in a new interview with the Guardian. The 31-year-old musician's new solo album, Petals for Armor, touches on her depression and divorce, both of which therapy helped her wrap her head around.
"One of my biggest healing moments was realizing that a lot of my depression was misplaced anger," she explained. "I really forced it inward, on myself, and it made me feel shame all the time."
Williams explained she discovered anger could be a recognition of self-worth.
"It helped me understand things that happened throughout my life that weren’t right," she noted.
In 2017, the singer announced her separation from husband Chad Gilbert. They were married for two years, but together for a decade. She realized she was in "a very unhealthy relationship."
"And I just kept thinking: 'I can fix it this time,'" she recalled.
Williams didn't go into detail about the New Found Glory guitarist, but talked about how their relationship took a toll on her mentally and physically.
"He probably looks at me like the villain," she declared. "Throwing around my version of someone else’s story doesn’t feel fair, which is funny because I don’t necessarily think it should be fair. Especially not after the s*** I went through."
Williams knew at the time she didn't want to get married, but went through with it anyway.
"I wanted the whole thing — the family — and I thought I might even stop doing music for a while to do that," she revealed. Looking back, she's shocked it's something her partner would allow her to consider. "Give up the thing that’s the most precious to me? Are you kidding me?"
During their divorce she was 91 pounds, which coincided with the promo cycle for Paramore's album, After Laughter.
"It wasn’t until I saw the pictures that I was like, there’s no hiding that I’m not OK now," she recalled. "And part of me enjoyed that — if people know I’m not OK, they won’t get too close."
Her bandmates convinced her to eat when the tour started, but she also found comfort in tequila "looking to break free from a prison that I’d put myself in and to also forget at the same time."
Williams said she was reluctant to label herself depressed.
"What I hated was at the time it was still sort of new to see the word 'depression' – it became such a hot-button word, almost clickbait?" she declared. "And it scared me to become part of that conversation, especially if I wasn’t even sure what was actually going on with me."
The songwriter said vulnerability has now become her greatest "weapon of protection," taking the pressure off, adding, "You don’t gotta expect me to be great!"
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