Ryan Philippe Opens Up On Depression Battle

Ryan Phillippe

Between a successful Hollywood career and being a father to three children, Ryan Philippe may appear to have it all. But the actor revealed his current life is the result of hard work to tackle depression he dealt with in his younger years.

Philippe, now 42, told People magazine that he “struggled much more with depression when I was in my 20s and 30s. However, the actor is now “not nearly as dark a person as I used to be or as at the mercy of my emotions” through finding techniques to cope with difficult emotions.

“I think the amount of reading that I’ve done, the work on myself and the ways that I’ve found to cope are healthier than when I was younger,” said Philippe. “I don’t know what that specifically amounts to other than being more careful and considerate about why you make the choices you do or where the feelings you have come from. And then ultimately, just breathe.”

It hasn’t always been easy for Philippe to do that, particularly when his 2006 split from then-wife Reese Witherspoon led to intense public scrutiny. Although he acknowledged that “we live in a time where being a private person isn’t really an option anymore,” he said the difficulties that come with being in the public eye have forced him to change his approach to handling them for the sake of managing his depression.

“There is a sensitivity that will never change and an empathy that will never change,” said Philippe. “But how you deal with those feelings and where you let them take you, that’s an individualistic journey for anyone who struggles.”

This isn’t the first time Philippe has opened up about his depression. In March 2015, he told Elle.com that he’s “innately kind of a sad person. I’m emphathetic, and I take on the feelings of others and transpose myself into the position of others.” However, Philippe also said he’d “prefer to suffer through the sadness than to be a complete moron with no feelings.”

It appears that he’s managed to find a happy medium as of late, though. With a current leading role as Bob Lee Swagger in the USA Network drama series Shooter, Philippe is aiming to keep his mental health as on-point as his career.

“I am happy. It hasn’t always been like that, so I’m hoping to keep it going. And I think from there too, giving back and sharing whatever I can [is important],” he said. “When you go through dark periods in life, or if you’re a person who has struggled with depression as I have, know that can decrease and it doesn’t have to be your defining characteristic. You can find ways to manage and cope and feel better.”