Although the Kardashians-Jenners have a life that everyone covets, from all those flashy cars they get as gifts every Christmas to flying across the world in private jets, there are downsides to being America’s most famous family. And struggling with anxiety seems to be one of them. Because the family’s job is to be in the public eye, whether they’re on the red carpet or taking revealing Instagram selfies, you’d think being anxious would be the last problem they’d have, but all the Kardashians have admitted to dealing with it. And according to Julie Siegel-Turner, a license clinical social worker at Kaiser Permanente, it’s actually not that surprising. “Forty percent of Americans report some kind of anxiety in the workplace, [so] it’s no wonder that celebrities experience the same rates,” she told Life & Style. “Celebrities are susceptible to higher rates of scrutiny by the public, which is a much larger entity than a single boss or manager at a traditional job site.”
For the Kardashians, Kendall Jenner has been the most outspoken about her anxiety, talking about her panic attacks on episodes of Keeping Up With the Kardashians and in interviews. “I have such debilitating anxiety because of everything going on that I literally wake up in the middle of the night with full-on panic attacks,” Kendall revealed to Harper’s Bazaar. As for big sister Kourtney Kardashian, she talked about her struggles in a 2016 blog post. “I also get nauseated; I feel like I can’t eat when it is really bad,” she wrote. “But I force myself to stay healthy. Still, when my anxiety is extreme, it feels like my body is constantly burning calories all day long.”
Khloé Kardashian opened up about her experience in a Twitter video. “Lord knows I’ve had stress and anxiety lately,” she said, alluding to her tumultuous 2015. “This year has been absolutely horrible, but it’s almost done.” And, not to be left out, Kim Kardashian also got candid about her struggles back in 2016, cosigning that she too suffered from it. “I’ve been having anxiety lately [about] every last thing,” Kim said in an episode of KUWTK. “Like even driving here, I tried to drive not all the way on the freeway because what happens if a car flips over and hits me? I think of every freak accident.”
And it doesn’t stop there. Back in 2015, Khloé revealed that Rob Kardashian suffered from social anxiety. “[I] just feel, especially over the last year, Rob has become very introverted and has a kind of social anxiety,” she said. “He’s definitely not at his happiest place that he once was.” Not even King Kylie Jenner could outrun the grasps of the condition. “I never went out,” she told Complex about the year 2015, which was a tough year for her. “If I tried to go to the movies or something, I would stop breathing in the middle and just cry. I’m surprised there aren’t videos of me out there. I felt super trapped, like everybody was watching me.”
What do the Kardashians have to be so anxious about?
Although the Kardashians-Jenners lives are spiked with lots of moments of success, money, and happiness, there’ve been lots of low points, too. The year 2016 was particularly tough for them, from Kanye West‘s public breakdown to Kim getting robbed at gunpoint in Paris. Plus, when you add the scrutiny of fame into the mix, it simply adds fuel to the fire. “Celebrities are not immune to the normal human experience of emotions,” Julie said. “Their challenge is how can they experience it in the healthiest way for them, whether privately or publicly. Most humans get to do it privately; celebrities don’t always have that choice.”
Although Kim has admitted to having anxiety even before the Paris robbery, the incident has definitely exacerbated it. “I just want to get past my anxiety and figure out a way just to live life like I was before,” she said on the show. In another episode, during a trip to Mexico, she explains that her fear of being robbed has fueled her nerves more than ever. “I just have anxiety,” she said while breaking down in tears. “It hit me right as we were getting off the plane that all of these people at the airport are gonna see 17 or 18 girls all with our Chanel bags, you know Louis Vuitton this, and it just like hit me. We’re the biggest target ever.”
Kendall has said her anxiety comes from a medley of issues, from a fear of the world to also being robbed (although fortunately not at gunpoint). “That’s why I don’t really like going out anymore. That’s why I don’t tweet, that’s why I don’t Instagram,” she said. “That gives me anxiety, too. I swear, it’s the craziest thing.” As for Kourtney and Khloé, most of their problems stem from being in the middle of tumultuous relationships. “I didn’t know that I would be going through a breakup and just an overall crazy year,” Kourtney said back in 2016. “Everyone deals with hard times in their lives differently.” Khloé, who was going through all her drama with ex-husband Lamar Odom, said in 2015, “I’m just praying that 2016 will be better. It has to be.”
Has fame taken its toll on them?
The family didn’t start talking about suffering from anxiety, nervousness, and panic attacks until 2015, which was when their celebrity star power truly took off. Although Kendall has admitted she’s “blessed” to be able to travel the world and walk in runway shows, she and the rest of her family have been leaving hints that they’re getting burned out on fame. In fact, many of them have spoken candidly about “leaving” society in return for quieter lives away from the public. Kylie admitted this back in 2015 (“When I’m, like, 30, I want to go off the map, have a family, and live in Malibu with a farm, and just raise my own chickens.”) and so did Kendall in 2018 (“Some days I just want to go live on a farm and not talk to anyone and just exist in the middle of nowhere.”)
But it’s not just the Kardashians-Jenners that suffer from anxiety. Many other famous people have opened up about it, including Lady Gaga and even Jennifer Lawrence. “You can say, ‘This [invasion of privacy] is part of my job and this is going to be a reality of my life,'” Jennifer said in 2014, “but what you don’t expect is how your body and how your emotions are going to react to it. [But] nobody wants to help us because it seems like, you know, ‘Shut up, millionaires!'”
But instead of telling celebs to be quiet, Dr. Tara Well, a professor of psychology at Barnard College of Columbia University, says we should be listening. “Celebrities have a unique set of pressures that may increase their vulnerability to anxiety and depression, but they also have more resources to get treatment,” she told Life & Style. “In the U.S., less than half of the people suffering from these disorders receive treatment. Celebrities speaking out about their own mental health issues help to raise awareness of the problem and the need for treatments for everyone.”
Fortunately, the Kardashians have all figured out ways to control their anxiety. For Kourtney and Khloé, they manage their stress with exercise. “I promise you, the gym has taken away so much of my stress,” Khloé has said. “It has helped calm me down. When I’m fidgety and I just feel like everything is closing in, I go to the gym.” For Kendall, she says being positive has helped her. “Anxiety’s all mental, so you have to try and find your ways around it,” Kendall said on an episode of KUWTK. “I try and remember sometimes it’s out of your control. But I think I’m very blessed to be in the situation I am in. Every year that I do fashion months, it gets a little crazier. It’s really exciting.”
However, Kylie’s viewpoint on the matter is sadly rather bleak. “My every move has been documented for the whole world and it’s been a nightmare trying to find myself through all of this, and I’ve absolutely lost a part of myself,” she admitted in an episode of Life of Kylie. “For me, this is expected. It comes with the territory.” Her outlook might seem grim, but much like the picture of her new $1.4 million Ferrari she shared on Instagram this week, most things in life come at a price — including fame.