As a member of the Grammy Award-winning, early 2000s iconic R&B triple-threat girl group Destiny’s Child, it’s hard to imagine that life would be anything but glitz, glam and pure glee.
However, as the saying goes, everything that glitters isn’t gold. And gospel songstress Michelle Williams, one-third of the former group, is speaking truth to that after revealing that she struggled with suicidal depression during those years.
Williams sat down with the hostesses of CBS’s The Talk to catch up on topics like her new love affair with boyfriend Chad Johnson and plans for her solo career. With open discussions of mental health, depression and suicide in the music industry raised to the forefront in recent years, it was only right that the Journey To Freedom singer share her experiences as well.
“At the age of 25, had I had a name for what I was feeling at the time, I would have disclosed that ‘I’ve been suffering from depression,'” she expressed. “I didn’t know until I was in my 30s what was going on.”
Alongside her fellow group members and longtime friends, Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland, Williams added that she figured it was just “growing pains,” as she was developing into womanhood. Those heavy feelings of sadness had been lingering since her teen years, though. Williams continued to explain the irony of suffering from depression while being a part of one of the top-selling female music groups of all time. In her next brow-raising reveal, Williams even admitted that she made another person involved with Destiny’s Child aware of it: the group’s manager at the time and Beyonce’s father, Matthew Knowles.
“And when I disclosed it to our manager at the time, bless his heart, he was like, ‘Y’all just signed a multi-million dollar deal! You’re about to go on tour! What do you have to be depressed about?’” she recalled. “So I was like, ‘Oh, maybe I’m just tired.’ I went to him but it’s kind of like, he could have been right at the time. I think he wanted me to be grateful, and I was, but I was still sad.”
For Williams, it’s important that the topic of mental health is growing into prevalence now that she's 37 years old. But while raised in the church, where mental health went overlooked, she believed praying the depression off was her only go-to.
“So it got really, really bad,” she revealed. “To the point that I was suicidal. I was to that place where it got so dark and heavy because sometimes you feel like, ‘I’m the provider. I take care of people. I’m not supposed to be feeling this way. What do I do?’ I wanted out.”
As someone who also saw and experienced a lot in her lifetime, Williams made it clear that she wasn’t blaming anyone for the depression. Particularly, Mr. Knowles, who may not have understood her battle at the time either and wasn’t the only person who tried reassuring her that she was OK.
We’re glad things are continuing to look up for Williams and encourage more open discourse on mental health for everyone — Hollywood starlets or not.
See how she opened up about her former depression with the ladies of The Talk below.