Billie Eilish has always been open about her experiences with depression. But it turns out that the singer was struggling much more than she let on. During an interview with Gayle King for The Gayle King Grammy Special, Billie Eilish revealed she contemplated suicide while dealing with mental illness in the early days of her career, after finding worldwide fame at such a young age.
After King asked the Grammy nominee if one of the lyrics in her song, “Bury A Friend” — in which Eilish sings, “I want to end me” — was based on her real-life experience, the singer revealed that she has had suicidal thoughts in the past. “I think about this one time I was in Berlin and I was alone in my hotel, and I remember there was a window right there,” Eilish recalled. “I remember crying because I was thinking about how the way that I was going to die was, I was going to do it.”
In fact, Eilish explained that things were so difficult for her in 2018, with her sudden rise to fame and her intense touring schedule, that she “genuinely didn’t think I would make it to 17.” Recalling that period of time, the now-18-year-old added, “I was so unhappy, and I was so, like, joyless.” However, thanks to therapy and support from her family and friends, Eilish was able to take control of her mental health and is now in a much better place.
Because of her own experiences with depression, Eilish is determined to reach out to fans who are struggling with their own mental health and encourage them to ask for help. “I just grab them by the shoulders and I’m like, ‘Please take care of yourself … Don’t take that extra step and hurt yourself further,'” she said. That kind of connection to her fans is important to Eilish, who told Rolling Stone in July, “Sometimes I see girls at my shows with scars on their arms, and it breaks my heart,” and that she wants to reach out because “I know” what they’re going through.
In the same interview, Eilish explained that her lowest point came after she was forced to quit dancing at the age of 12 due to a hip injury, which “sent me down a hole.” The singer explained that her experiences with depression affect her memories of her adolescence, saying that “when anyone else thinks about [me] they think of all the good things that happened. But all I can think of is how miserable I was.” She also revealed that she had to make accommodations to her tour — including adding more breaks to her schedule and chartering a “friends bus” to keep her support system around — to combat the “nightly panic attacks” that can come with being on the road.
That support system includes her brother and producer, Finneas, who she has described as her “best friend.” On Jan. 23, Eilish released the music video for her song, “Everything I Wanted,” which is an ode to her brother and his never-ending support. “Finneas is my brother and best friend,” a text card at the top of the clip — which shows Eilish and Finneas on a Thelma & Louise-style car ride — reads. “No matter the circumstance, we always have and always will be there for each other.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. You can also reach out to the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 or the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386, or to your local suicide crisis center.