Catherine Zeta-Jones ‘Never Wanted to Be the Poster Child’ for Depression
(NEW YORK) — Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones was known as one of the hardest working and most glamorous women in show business until a diagnosis of bipolar II disorder put her in another spotlight: as the public face of the mental health disease.
Now, two years after Zeta-Jones was “outed” with the disease — her husband, Michael Douglas, told Oprah Winfrey in 2011 — the actress says it’s not a mantle she wants to hold.
“You know what, I’m sick of talking about it because I never wanted to be the poster child for this,” Zeta-Jones, 43, said Friday on ABC’s Good Morning America. “I never wanted this to come out publicly.”
Zeta-Jones announced to the world in April 2011, through a statement issued by her publicist, that she had sought treatment for the disease, a manic-depressive illness most known for the unusual shifts in mood and energy that those with it experience.
“It came out. And so I dealt with it in the best way I could and that was just say, ‘Look, hey, I’m bipolar,’” she said on GMA.
Zeta-Jones made the announcement after a year in which Douglas, 68, was treated for throat cancer, was sued by his first wife over proceeds from the Wall Street movie sequel and saw his eldest son, Cameron, sent to prison on drug charges.
“I must say, Catherine’s being quite open about it because she was outed, you know,” Douglas said in an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show the same month Zeta-Jones issued her statement. “She went to go get some help and some other patient probably in there said, ‘Hey, you won’t believe who’s in here now.’ And, so, once that happens, I think she felt [it] best to kind of get out the story.”
Zeta-Jones spent five days in the mental health facility and then went on medication, according to reports at the time.
In her statement then, the Welsh star said, “if my revelation of having bipolar II has encouraged one person to seek help, then it’s worth it.”
Today, Zeta-Jones, out promoting her new romantic comedy Playing for Keeps, says she is ready to move forward with her personal life and acting career.
“Everyone has things going on and we deal with them the best we can,” she said on GMA. “We can’t jump from the rooftops shouting about, ‘I have this, look at me, victim.’ No. We all have issues in life and I’m really happy that I have great friends, great support and that’s all I can do.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio