Lili Reinhart is coming to terms with her lifelong struggles with depression and anxiety.
The Riverdale star, 25, appeared on Dax Shepard’s Expert Armchair podcast, where she discussed how her mental health journey continues to impact her life.
“Looking back as a kid, I didn’t want to go to sleepovers, I didn’t want to go to birthday parties,” she said, explaining that now, as an adult, she recognizes these habits as possible early signs of anxiety.
“I was very attached to my mother, like I was physically clinging to her,” she continued. “I hated school. I cried before school, I cried to my teachers saying, ‘I just want to be home. So I was a homebody. But I don’t think anyone really knew it was a form of anxiety, like, ‘She’s just a kid, she wants to be with her mother.’
She added: “I feel like I can handle my depression and sadness; it is the anguish that becomes unbearable. It’s like that engine inside of you is spinning and there’s nowhere to go. I’m working on it with my therapist. I have a channeler that I work with, like a medium, I call him my life coach.
Reinhart said her anxiety manifested in multiple ways as a teenager, including developing a tic as a way to cope with the anxiety.
“I had a weird tic growing up, it was OCD, where I had to touch different surfaces in three different ways,” she explained. “I should touch it with my fingertips, touch it with the back of my fingernail, then scrape it with the tip of my fingernail. So, I was leaning on the sidewalk and tapping, tapping, tapping. Very strange.”
Those obsessive thoughts hit an all-time high when she was cast on The CW Riverdale— only she went from social anxiety to obsessing over her own body image.
“I just started gaining weight naturally and felt like I couldn’t control it,” she explained. come back to it. So I felt like I was going through this very deeply personal thing with my body in a public way. And that was what was so difficult to navigate. I was going through these obsessive thoughts about my body, about what I was eating, about all these things, and I couldn’t do it in the privacy of my own home.
She continued, “I would have people staring at me, I would feel bad about myself after a fitting. I would text my mom immediately. I saw a trainer. I was trying to eat better. I was doing everything I could. It was obsessive. It was really sad that I couldn’t just walk away and take care of myself. I had to keep showing myself on camera, and it was like a big betrayal to my body almost like, I’m so sorry we can’t go through this trip privately.”
The comparisons she made about herself to other CW stars were also becoming destructive.
“I don’t have a perfect CW girl body,” she explained. “I grew up in the time of Gossip Girl, where [they] had these beautiful perfect bodies. I never had that. I’m not built that way and I was trying to fabricate myself and fit into a box that genetically I wasn’t inclined to be in.”
“It’s been difficult,” she added, “but that’s why I talk about [body image issues] and I’m bringing it up because I think it’s so weird that not many celebrities are talking about it. It’s such a problem because not everyone is safe. How is there not a more collective conversation, especially in an industry that is so obsessed with being thin, having that ass, having whatever.
Indeed, Reinhart has spoken regularly about her own body image struggles in her efforts to help other women, which has also landed her in hot water.
In May, she slammed Kim Kardashian after she said she “starved” herself to lose 16 pounds so she could fit into Marilyn Monroe’s iconic dress at the Met Gala.
“So f****d on hundreds of levels,” the actress wrote on Instagram at the time. “Openly admitting that you starved yourself for the Met Gala. Ignorance is otherworldly and disgusting. Please stop supporting these stupid, harmful celebrities whose whole image revolves around their bodies.”
Looking back on the post, Reinhart told Shepard that Kardashian’s comments were extremely “triggered” and that she wanted to call him out for the sake of others struggling with eating disorders.
“I was currently struggling with an eating disorder and I saw red,” she explained. “I honestly thought it was so triggering. It was like normalizing eating disorders by saying that – ‘I’m starving.’ Authentically, these words were spoken: ‘I’m starving. For what reason?”
The past two years have certainly been eye-opening for Reinhart. In August, during a conversation with Jay Shetty on his podcast, On purposeshe talked about her intentions to find true happiness in her life.
“I feel like the last two years have been a really big spiritual awakening for me,” she explained. “I really woke up to the spiritual side of life and what wellness really means. I thought I knew who I was before and was confident, but really a big part of my identity was based on the fact to please others and put my identity in other people’s hands.”
“I feel like I’ve been in fight or flight mode for most of my life,” she continued. “And what it’s done to my brain and my body, my mental well-being, is if I keep going at this rate, it’s catastrophic. I’m going to lose my brain power. I’m basically on this journey right now in my life to try and calm that down and just try to exist and sit in silence without feeling like I need to fill a void.”
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