Chrissy Teigen is a model and is married to singer-songwriter John Legend, but the main thing she’s known for, the thing that she was able to leverage into writing cookbooks and a gig as a television personality, is that she’s really, really good on social media. Whether she’s making fun of her husband for his resemblance to PBS’s Arthur or roasting Piers Morgan, she always finds a way to play to the internet’s endless hunger for sass tempered by self-awareness. After she had a baby last year, she added shaming attempted mom-shamers to her clapback repertoire and continued her reign of social media dominance. Cool mom seemed to fit seamlessly into her already-established identity, adding another facet to her growing brand. Or that’s what it looked like, anyway.
What happens when a star who built her brand on being hilarious on Twitter doesn’t feel so hilarious anymore? It turns out that for much of the last year, after her daughter Luna was born in April, Teigen was dealing with postpartum depression and anxiety. She talks about her struggle for the first time in an essay for the April issue of Glamour, which is available to read online now. When she went back to her job at Lip Sync Battle in August, she reveals, she had back pain and could barely eat. She also found herself snapping at people and bursting into tears more frequently. Soon, she never wanted to leave the house. But it was still months before she got a diagnosis, she writes: “I had everything I needed to be happy. And yet, for much of the last year, I felt unhappy. What basically everyone around me—but me—knew up until December was this: I have postpartum depression.”
Even though lots of celebrities (and noncelebrities!) had spoken out about PPD before her, until she experienced it herself, she didn’t fully understand it or have the words to talk about it. After visiting a doctor late last year, Teigen started taking an antidepressant and pretty quickly started to feel better—well enough to share her story in a national magazine. But even as she writes with the goal of making other women with PPD feel less alone, Teigen’s words reveal the guilt and ambivalence she still faces: “I know I might sound like a whiny, entitled girl,” she writes at one point.
Chrissy Teigen is the type of woman who, up to now, you always pictured lounging around in a bikini while eating wings or some other really indulgently unhealthy food and not GAF, or “giving a fuck,” as the saying goes. When you follow people on social media, where everything is curated, it’s easy to get the impression that their lives are perfect and nothing is wrong, and Teigen was no exception to that. Even as she privately struggled, her life continued to look amazing from the outside. So if she, the very epitome of #goals, can be open about the fact that, like a lot of people, she gets depressed and anxious and got especially so in the period following having a baby, that’s worth applauding.
Teigen writes that she “hated hiding this from you,” and the idea that she or anyone feels like this is something to hide is pretty sad. Maybe one day, mental health troubles will be just another new aspect of a social media star’s persona, another talking point to go along with the usual fire tweets. If anyone can do it, it’s Teigen. As of Monday, she was already off to a good start.