Billie Eilish says she was ‘really, really depressed’ as a young teen

Kerry Justich
·4-min read

Billie Eilish seems to have it all at just 19 years old. But the California native is opening up about how having success isn't always as great as it seems, admitting that she suffered depression during her early years as a performer.

"I was 14, 15 and then 16 touring for the first time and I was also very depressed because I was 14, 15, 16 as you are," she said on the Smartless podcast hosted by Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes and Will Arnett. "You’re just doing so much and I also was new to fame and suddenly I didn’t have any friends because I was famous and I was leaving all the time and it was weird. It was really weird."

Eilish, who makes music with her older brother Finneas O'Connell, pointed out that her age made the experience all the more difficult as she was spending most of her time with people much older than she was. "When you’re that age, you don’t really know how to talk to grown ups and they don’t really know how to talk to you. And other kids my age that I was friends with back home, like they’re not gonna pause their life and wait for me to get back and do things with me again," she said of losing touch with friends along the way. "Obviously nobody should do that. Things happen and you move on with your life with or without somebody. But it was really hard for me because I just didn’t know how to talk to anybody I worked with. Everybody was over 40 and I was 14, 15 and I just didn’t. It was just not good."

Her rigorous work schedule also took a toll on her health, explaining that she would often get sick and have to power through for press and performances. Ultimately, she got to a point where she "resented" both the work that went into making her dreams happen and the notoriety that came with her success.

"I just talked s*** about it. All I could do was be like, ‘F*** fame. I hate being famous. I hate all of this.’ And I couldn’t go anywhere. And I was 14 not being able to go out in the world and that was super weird because I wasn’t used to it because I was a little kid," she said. "Fame in general. I used to just despise it, I hated everything about it. I hated being recognized, I hated not being able to go out, I hated not being able to post a place because then people would show up at that place wherever it was because they’d just figure out where it was. I really hated everything about it and I felt stupid because I was like, wow I have this thing that is really cool and people would kill for this and I don’t like it at all. I was also forgetting that I was really, really depressed and that could make you hate almost anything."

After a few years of coming to terms with her life as the Billie Eilish that 76 million people follow on Instagram alone and working through all that comes with that, the 19-year-old explained that she's experienced a major switch in her mindset.

"I don’t really know what changed but I f***ing love fame. I gotta tell you, I love it," she admitted. "I definitely like what I’m doing with it and I feel more confident in it. I think that there were some years like the years I’m taking about where I felt like I had to prove myself all the time, especially to kids that I grew up with."

But even more so than the perks that seem to come with fame, Eilish seems to most appreciate being able to turn her passion into a job and the positive impact that she can make with her platform.

"I think it’s like, we should be aware that we have an incredible thing that we get to do," she said.

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