Felicity Huffman on Depression in Her 20s: 'I Just Wished I Was Dead'
"That dark time changed me, I think, for the better."
Felicity Huffman, star of Desperate Housewives and Transamerica, opened up in a big way to the Tribune News Service on Monday, speaking candidly about battling depression.
"I went through a very, very dark three years, and that deep despair and depression changed me," Huffman told the Tribune. "It was kind of the crucible, from 28 to 31. That dark time changed me, I think, for the better."
She recovered through "the love of my family, through therapy. I came out of it," she explained. "It was that kind of depression where I just wished I was dead, that kind of relentless—I just wished I was dead."
One of the stars of last year's Cake alongside Jennifer Aniston, Huffman has also previously been open about her struggle with anorexia and bulimia throughout her 20s. Though she's dealt with the ups and downs of mental illness, she's had at least one constant source of support over the years: her relationship with husband William H. Macy.
Huffman also shared why it took 15 years of dating for Macy to convince her to tie the knot, explaining that it was partly because she had to work on herself first.
"I was so scared of marriage that I thought I would've preferred to step in front of a bus," Huffman said. "Bill Macy asked me to marry him several times over several years. And I was finally smart enough to go: 'I'm going to marry this guy or really lose him for good.' It was the work I had to do in order to bring myself to the marriage and then the work that I did to be able to trust another person and see what comes out of that comfort and that safety. I was able to blossom out of that."
Huffman feared she would lose her identity, possibly as an actor, by heading to the altar.
"I thought I'd disappear,” she said. “Men's stock when they get married goes up. Women's stock goes down. Another thing, 60 percent of first marriages fail, 80 percent of second marriages fail. And if we applied that statistic to anything else like the post office or the military, we'd go, 'This isn't working.' Whereas with marriage we just go, 'See you all,' like that [she waves her hand in the air]. And I thought I would lose myself."
Today, the couple has weathered more than 30 years together and have been married since 1997, but there's no sign she's faded away: the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actress will star in the new ABC drama American Crime, which premieres March 5.