Goldie Hawn Opens Up About Battle With Depression in Her 20s

by Chris Haney

For actors trying to make it in Hollywood, the entertainment industry is not always a kind or forgiving place. Some people work hard for years without anything to show for it on-screen. Others arrive in Tinseltown and become a hot commodity seemingly overnight. The latter is what happened to actress Goldie Hawn in her early 20s, but that doesn’t mean she was thrilled about her quick rise to stardom.

In 1966, a 21-year-old Hawn was an aspiring dancer who moved to California to pursue her chosen career. By 1968, she landed a regular role on the sketch comedy show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. Yet just one year later she was already featuring in movies. Hawn became highly sought-after out of nowhere, which most actors would kill for.

However, for Hawn, it was the last thing she wanted at the time. In her early 20s, the dancer and actress battled severe depression as she rose to notoriety. During a recent interview with Good Morning Britain, the Hollywood star opened up about the difficulties of dealing with depression while being thrust into the limelight.

“When I was young, I became depressed,” Goldie Hawn said during her Tuesday appearance on Good Morning Britain. “I was 21 and I was rising to success. I know it sounds terrible, but it’s a very, very difficult thing – I didn’t necessarily want that. Now in doing so, I was very depressed. And I had a lot of these issues where I couldn’t even go outside in public. This is something I worked through. I went to a doctor. I went to a psychologist.”

Goldie Hawn ‘Didn’t Want To Be a Big Deal’

Nothing could have prepared Goldie Hawn for her meteoric rise to fame. She went from dancing and goofing around on a sketch comedy show to winning Oscars within less than two years.

Hawn starred in 1969’s Cactus Flower as Walter Matthau’s suicidal fiancée. In her first major film role, Goldie Hawn earned an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance. As if things weren’t already taking off for her, she was now an “It” girl in Hollywood at just 24 years old.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t want to be a big deal,” Hawn explained. “I wanted to go home… I didn’t have delusions of grandeur on any level, I was extremely realistic. The problem was that I was a dancer and then things changed.”

Following her Oscar win, Hawn went on to become one of the most popular leading ladies of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. She starred in numerous hit movies over the next few decades, but her depression went unchecked for years.

Although she eventually saw a psychologist and worked through her depression, her experiences motivated her to create MindUP. In 2003, she launched the initiative with the goal of improving children’s mental health. The mother of three says there’s zero shame in admitting you may need help. In addition, Hawn says there’s no reason to feel “embarrassed” because mental health issues are very “real.”

“So, for every one of us, we may have a different reason why we feel low, depressed, anxious… a lot of these things,” she said. “If you really are unhappy, we do need to be able to tender ourselves and go to a doctor. Don’t be embarrassed. Mental health is real… we never [should] be ashamed to say, ‘I’m feeling sad.’”