Jada Pinkett Smith Revealed Why She Had an ‘Emotional Breakdown’ and ‘Collapse’ That Made Her Feel ‘Utterly Out of Control’

When Jada Pinkett Smith’s career was taking off in her 20s, she admitted during a 2018 Red Table Talk, she was having a tough time, despite the success. The actor shared how she suffered an “emotional breakdown” at the time and explained how she worked through her mental health struggle.

Jada Pinkett Smith at the 'Angel Has Fallen' premiere at the Regency Village Theatre on August 20, 2019
Jada Pinkett Smith | Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

Jada Pinkett Smith said she had a ‘complete emotional collapse’

During a 2018 Red Table Talk discussion about mental health with her mother and daughter, Willow Smith, Pinkett Smith opened up about her own journey and admitted that she suffered an emotional breakdown and depression even as she was having professional successes.

“I would say, for me, I had an emotional breakdown that definitely I feel like affected my mental stability,” she explained. “I had gotten to L.A. and gotten a certain amount of success and realized that that wasn’t the answer. That that wasn’t what was gonna make everything OK.”

She continued, “It actually made things worse and I became extremely suicidal and I had a complete emotional collapse.”

“When you just don’t have control over your emotions, your thoughts, you feel completely and utterly out of control,” Pinkett Smith explained.

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The actor said she felt ‘guilt and shame’

Pinkett Smith explained how she thought that when she had success and money, her problems would go away, but that wasn’t the case. At the time, she didn’t understand what she was feeling, sharing that “now I know that it was what people would consider a nervous breakdown.”

Pinkett Smith also shared how she felt she needed to keep things in check “because every minute I was just bursting into tears and didn’t know why.” 

“I got stuck in a mentality that even with success it was very hard for me to get out of, meaning, like, not really being able to embrace the opportunity that I had,” she explained. “I was still holding on to the idea of deprivation and loss. And having a lot of guilt and shame that came with my success. Like, you have to leave so many people behind and that was depressing.”

Jada Pinkett Smith attends the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2019
Jada Pinkett Smith | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Pinkett Smith tried Prozac and therapy

The women discussed using medication for depression and Pinkett Smith shared her experience with taking Prozac. When she experienced side effects that she wasn’t pleased with, however, she stopped taking it.

“I was severely depressed, severely. And that was something that I battled with for years,” she added. “Waking up in the morning was like the worst part of the day.”

The actor shared how she went on a journey after taking Prozac, which included seeing therapists, but said that didn’t work for her either. She discovered how to manage her depression and “let go.”

“Once I got off the Prozac, I went on a long, long, long journey,” the actor said. “I learned how to manage it to a certain degree but it was a struggle.”

“I just had to find my path, which is why it probably took as long as it did. Now, thankfully, I don’t get depressed. I also think that I had to uproot some false beliefs,” she added. “I had to just let go and just come to terms with just what life is.”