Corinne Foxx on Growing Up in Hollywood With an Anxiety Disorder

It’s never easy growing up with an anxiety disorder, but it’s even harder to do so in the spotlight. Corinne Foxx is opening up about being diagnosed with anxiety in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month and hopes to encourage others to prioritize their mental health above all else. 

The 27-year-old daughter of Jamie Foxx spoke with ET’s Melicia Johnson about being diagnosed with anxiety and how growing up with a famous father led to her developing an “intense perfectionism” at an early age. 

“I felt like people were always looking at me, were always expecting me to turn out a certain way. Because of that, I went the opposite realm,” Corinne shares. “I became very focused on perfection and always being in this very cookie cutter type of way, and that put a lot of pressure and anxiety on me to uphold this standard of never messing up. That definitely affected my mental health, and I’m still working through to unlearn those behaviors and those patterns and giving myself the grace to just be a human.”

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The actress noted that she’s lucky to have friends and family that she can rely on. She explained that having people who genuinely listened to her and understood what she was going through helped her immensely. She also shared that she’s been in therapy since she was 14 years old and has had the same therapist for over 10 years. As she’s gotten older, her challenges have evolved and with them, so have her coping methods. 

“I think it’s tough with social media nowadays. A lot of people assume things about you, assume that you don’t have your own struggles, and of course I’ve been incredibly, incredibly privileged,” she adds. “I’m aware of that, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not a human being. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have my own past and things I’ve went through and then also just genetic predispositions to things that are out of my control.”

Breaking the Stigma: The Celebrities Leading the Conversation About Mental Health

Breaking the Stigma: The Celebrities Leading the Conversation About Mental Health

Corinne said that despite how confident and put-together she seems on the outside, it takes a lot of “prep work” and “self-talk” to get her to that point. She explained that she’s created a “toolkit” on her phone titled “Corinne’s Guide to Wellness.” It’s a list of ways to combat her anxiety and narrow down the source and appropriate solution. She gets nervous often, especially with new projects like serving as executive producer for Netflix’s Dad Stop Embarrassing Me! 

“Yeah, that sounds really cool, but I was terrified the whole time,” she admits. “I was learning on the job, and so I think you can’t really judge a book by its cover. You also can’t assume that just because someone’s at a certain level that they haven’t struggled to get there.”

Her anxiety goes hand-in-hand with imposter syndrome, which Corinne said she has suffered from many times before. Using her position at Netflix as an example, she told ET that her way to combat imposter syndrome is to remind herself that if she’s invited to be part of something, it means she deserves it. 

“It means that they see something in me that maybe I don’t see in myself right now, but it’s there,” she explains. “You have to trust that if you’re getting the opportunity to do something, it’s because you are worth it and you deserve it. It’s tough. It’s really tough to remind myself that, but I do. It’s a good and a bad thing because that also means that you’re pushing yourself to do something that’s uncomfortable.”

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Explaining that she gets “anxious about everything,” Corinne said she wanted to be transparent about her struggles because she understands that social media makes it all seem more glamorous than reality can be. She referred to social media as “the highlight reel” of life that doesn’t convey the hard work done to get people to their successes. 

“My confidence used to come from being perfect and always put together and then [I realized], wait, I am loved and I am valued even if I’m not all put together, even with the messiness of life,” she says. “I think that gave me a lot of confidence because now I believe in myself in all realms, even on the days that I’m having good days and even on the days I’m having bad days. So, I think talking about your mental health is not a weakness. It’s a sign of strength because so many people are afraid to do it… that shows that you’re emotionally aware enough to ask for that help.”

Citing her advocacy work with the National Alliance on Mental Illness and her podcast, Am I Doing This Right?, Corinne told ET that she wanted to give people an authentic look at what it’s like to have an anxiety disorder because she grew up when there was no self-care movement and no mental health advocates in mainstream media. “I desperately needed somebody who was talking about it publicly. So, in a way, this is my own therapy,” she says. “I’m becoming the person I needed when I was a child, and now I have two sisters that are 12 and 13 who are right about the age that I was when I got diagnosed, and I am in their face about mental health.” 

“I think mental health issues can feel so isolating,” she adds. “You can feel like nobody understands you, and that is a thinking pattern that I’d really love to combat and to overcome because there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Even if it’s so, so small, you can’t see it, knowing it’s there, for me, was something that kept me going. I think community is healing.”

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