Kim Basinger reveals when her irrational fear of leaving home took over
Oscar-winning actress Kim Basinger has struggled with crippling anxiety since she was a child. Despite being a Hollywood star at the peak of her career, Basinger became so exhausted from agoraphobia and anxiety attacks that she could barely leave her house. Opening in her first interview in 14 years, Basinger details her troubled past, the generational cycle of anxiety and how her daughter with ex-husband Alec Baldwin, Ireland Baldwin, helps keep her worst fears at bay.
Kim Basinger overcame childhood anxiety to become a star
Long before she was a true Hollywood icon, Kim Basinger was a typical Athens, Georgia girl who grew up in a time when anxiety was little understood. Following in the footsteps of her mother, who was also an actress-model, Basinger dropped out of the University of Georgia for New York and quickly found success as a model. But his early success also came at a cost. Like she said Charlie Rose in 2000, she was so insecure about her appearance that she had trouble looking at herself in a mirror.
But Basinger wasn’t going to let his anxiety and insecurity get the better of him. After much success as a publicity model in the 1970s, she landed minor television roles before moving to the big screen in the early 1980s. Basinger had a career moment with Sean Connery in James’s film Jump Never say never in 1983 and capped off the 80s with a major role in Batmanone of the greatest films of the decade.
When Basinger was a star in the early 1990s, she met her second husband, Alec Baldwin, on the set of The married man. The wedding bells rang in August 1993.
But even though Basinger and Baldwin seemed happy together, their union ended in a separation in 2000 and a public divorce in 2002.
Elaborating recently on the Jada Pinkett-Smith talk show, Red table discussionBasinger described the divorce as “heavy,” which ultimately had a big impact on their daughter, Ireland.
Kim Basinger’s battle with agoraphobia has been going on for decades
As Kim Basinger’s star status and acclaim rose, she privately fought a devastating battle with agoraphobia, an anxiety disorder linked to the fear of being trapped in certain situations. As detailed by the Seattle TimesBasinger explained that her trauma dated back to her school days, when she was sometimes so nervous she thought she would pass out while speaking in public.
The same inhibiting fears invaded her in March 1998 when she reached a major milestone in her career. That year, Basinger was up for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in LA Confidential.
“I was just completely freaked out,” she recalls. “And I knew that next year I had to give the award to the next winner. I don’t know if I was more thrilled to win or more painful to know that I had to come back!
Basinger got over his nerves by calmly handing out the Best Supporting Actor statuette at the 1999 Oscars to James Coburn for Affliction.
Speaking in front of millions of viewers was also far from the only time Basinger struggled to control his anxiety. She explained on Red table discussion that she once had such an intense anxiety attack in a grocery store that she then had trouble leaving her house.
“People don’t really understand these things,” Basinger said of the stigma of anxiety disorders. “So when you really feel like you’re alone, it’s a horrible feeling.”
The anxiety of that time at the grocery store got so bad that she stopped driving for months and had to relearn everything behind the wheel.
Ireland Baldwin was a huge lift for her mother
For Kim Basinger, the anxiety she experiences dates back to her childhood, when she became obsessed with the desire to protect her mother. Basinger even found ways to get kicked out of school and escape to her mother’s side, laying the groundwork for her agoraphobic fears.
When Pinkett-Smith asked Basinger to acknowledge his daughter’s anxiety, the 68-year-old actor appeared emotionally devastated by the thought of Ireland inheriting similar challenges.
But Ireland, which also appeared on Red table discussionwas also an important source of strength for his mother.
“She brought me out of my shell,” Basinger said, explaining an essential part of her ability to live with agoraphobia. According to Mayo Clinica close friend or family member is often essential in confronting agoraphobic fears and overcoming associated anxiety.
Ireland’s support also juxtaposes heavily with Basinger’s marriage to Alec Baldwin. Speaking about his father’s view on anxiety, Ireland said: “He grew up in a family that would suppress it or say he’s weak.” Ireland had its own bouts of anxiety over the controversial divorce between Basinger and Baldwin, CNN reported.
But with a strong support system, Kim Basinger seems to have found answers to her longstanding issues with anxiety attacks and agoraphobia. Although she still doesn’t go out much, the actor was spotted in January at a Los Angeles restaurant with her hairstylist boyfriend Mitch Stone, according to Daily Mail.
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