Michelle Williams portrayed herself as a thriving “Survivor” in Destiny’s Child, but the reality is she was suffering from depression throughout her picture-perfect rise to fame in the 2000s.
In an emotional segment on The Talk Wednesday, the guest-host admitted that achieving success alongside bandmates Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland did little to alleviate her struggle. “I’m in one of the top-selling female groups of all time, suffering with depression,” the singer, 37, explained. “When I disclosed it to our manager [Mathew Knowles, Beyoncé’s father] 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?'”
Looking back, Williams believes that Knowles “wanted me to be grateful, which I was, but I was still sad.” Things were so bad, Williams eventually reached “the point where I was suicidal” and “wanted out.”
At first, Williams had no idea what to call her condition. “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,'” the singer said. “I didn’t know until I was in my 30s what was going on; I thought it was growing pains. I just thought, ‘I’m just turning into a woman,’ so I’ve been suffering since between the age of 13 to 15.”
Williams was filled with gratitude following the appearance, tweeting, “Thank you @TheTalkCBS for being a safe place to talk about #depression #mentalhealthawareness!! Don’t be afraid to reach out for help!”
Moved by a viewer who said her openness “knocks the stigmas down a flight of stairs,” Williams shared her reaction to the outpouring of support on Instagram. “I truly didn’t know what to expect by discussing depression and how dark it was for me!” she penned. “Letters like this comfort me letting me know it’s ok to CONTINUE sharing my story that I actually share with millions of others! Lord I thank you for this opportunity to use my platform to save lives and let people know they’re not odd, crazy, WEAK, or alone…..they just need help and guidance!!”
Read the social media posts below, and watch Williams share her battle in the video above.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).