Hayley Williams Reflects on Her Mental Health and Past Relationship: "I Shouldn't Have Ever Married My Ex"

Paramore singer opens up about a turning point in her life after struggling internally for years

By Samantha Schnurr Jun 01, 2018 8:37 PMTags
Hayley WilliamsGilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic

Hayley Williams has her old laugh back. 

Nearly a year after announcing her split from ex-husband Chad Gilbert, the Paramore songstress has penned an essay for Paper, in which she reflected on recent years through the lens of mental health. 

While she was hesitant to say she was depressed, the Grammy Award winner described the summer of 2015 as a time where she felt like a little girl twirling in the street when suddenly a piano came crashing down on her. 

As she described for Paper, she had newly moved, was engaged with a wedding approaching and anticipated slowing down, maybe becoming a mom and making more music. 

"Everything was finally going to be perfect and I was going to live happily ever afte— Oh," she candidly wrote. 

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After what she described as the piano crash, she had lost another bandmate (former bassist Jeremy Davis) and had tied the knot with New Found Glory guitarist Chad Gilbert. "I had a wedding ring on, despite breaking off the engagement only months before," she recalled. "A lot happened within a short time. But then I didn't eat, I didn't sleep, I didn't laugh...for a long time."

In the process of writing new lyrics, Williams came to terms with her internal struggle. As the star put it, writing forced her to be honest and kept her alive. 

"I didn't know the person behind those words. Probably because I never before allowed her to come out and say how she really felt. I never cared to get to know her," she described in the essay.

Ultimately, in the process of making their fifth studio album, After Laughter, she experienced a significant turning point. 

"[Writing] helped me understand that emotional wellness and physical health are actually related. It helped me realize that I shouldn't have ever married my ex and that love is not something we can just extract from one other. Writing opened my heart to healing," she explained. 

"I'm alive to both pain and joy now," the star concluded. "I have my old laugh back, as my mom says. The one that takes over my body and sends me out of myself for a few seconds. And only a couple years ago, I had hoped I'd die."

If you or someone you know needs help, call 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. You can also call the network, previously known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.