How Ryan Reynolds' Daughters Inspired Him to Discuss His Mental Health Struggles

Ryan Reynolds recently opened up online about his struggles with anxiety. And now, he's explaining just how his three daughters encouraged him to publicly post his message.

By Alyssa Morin Jun 05, 2021 9:36 PMTags
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Ryan Reynolds is hoping to set an example for his kids.

To mark Mental Health Awareness month in May, the Deadpool actor opened up about his own mental health struggles on Instagram in order to "destigmatize talking about it."

Now, the 44-year-old star is explaining how his three daughtersJames, 6, Inez, 4, and Betty, 20 months—who he shares with his wife, Blake Lively, encouraged him to post his message in the first place.

"Part of it is that I have three daughters at home and part of my job as a parent is to model behaviors and model what it's like to be sad and model what it's like to be anxious, or angry. That there's space for all these things," Ryan told Entertainment Tonight's Nischelle Turner on Saturday, June 5. "The home that I grew in, that wasn't modeled for me really. And that's not to say that my parents were neglectful, but they come from a different generation."

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Furthermore, the Canadian native said that in order to "de-stigmatize things" surrounding mental health, you have to first "create a conversation."

"I know that when I felt at the absolute bottom it's usually been because I felt like I was alone in something I was feeling," he explained. "So I think when people talk about it, I don't necessarily dwell on it or lament on it, but I think it's important to talk about it. And when you talk about it, it kind of sets other people free."


At the end of last month, Ryan shared that he struggles with anxiety.

"May is almost over. It's also Mental Health Awareness month. Which brings me to this," he began his post at the time. "One of the reasons I'm posting this so late is I overschedule myself and important things slip. And one of the reasons I overschedule myself is my lifelong pal, anxiety."

He continued, "I know I'm not alone and more importantly, to all those like me who overschedule, overthink, overwork, over-worry and over-everything, please know you're not alone. We don't talk enough about mental health and don't do enough to destigmatize talking about it. But, as with this post, better later than never, I hope..."

In 2017, the Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard actor discussed his anxiety and how his upbringing may have contributed to his mental health struggles.

"I have three older brothers. Our father was tough. He wasn't easy on anyone. And he wasn't easy on himself," Ryan, whose father died following a battle with Parkinson's disease in 2015, told Variety. "I think the anxiety might have started there, trying to find ways to control others by trying to control myself. At the time, I never recognized that. I was just a twitchy kid."


The following year, Ryan opened up to The New York Times about how working on Deadpool helped him cope with his anxiety.

"I have anxiety. I've always had anxiety. Both in the lighthearted 'I'm anxious about this' kind of thing, and I've been to the depths of the darker end of the spectrum, which is not fun," he told the publication.

He explained that his comic book character allowed him to really disappear into his role, noting, "When the curtain opens, I turn on this knucklehead, and he kind of takes over and goes away again once I walk off set."