With six nominations, Billie Eilish looks poised to win big at the 2020 Grammy Awards on Sunday. Critical acclaim and the stardom that followed, however, haven’t diminished her longstanding mental health concerns.
In a new interview with CBS’s Gayle King, the singer-songwriter revealed she spent months leading up to the release of her hit album, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” navigating depression.
“I was so unhappy last year,” she said in the interview, which aired as part of “The Gayle King Grammy Special” on Thursday. “I was so unhappy, and I was so joyless.”
Many of Eilish’s longtime friends couldn’t relate to her newfound fame and, as a result, she became increasingly isolated and prone to self-harm, even as her songs were riding high on the charts. In her chat with King, she recalled contemplating suicide during a tour stop in Germany.
“I don’t want to be too dark, but I genuinely didn’t think I would make it to 17,” said Eilish, who turned 18 in December. “I think about this one time I was in Berlin and I was alone in my hotel … And I remember there was a window right there … I remember crying because I was thinking about how the way that I was going to die was … I was going to do it.”
Eilish told King she referenced her struggles in the song “Bury a Friend,” which features the lyrics: “Today, I’m thinkin’ about the things that are deadly, the way I’m drinkin’ you down/Like I wanna drown, like I wanna end me.”
These days, the Los Angeles native finds herself in a much healthier state of mind and credits her mother, Maggie Baird, with convincing her not to end her own life. In addition to securing a therapist for Eilish, Baird said she immediately scaled back her daughter’s performance schedule and show business-related commitments to allow more time for self-care.
Eilish told King she’d like to use her own experiences to pay it forward to her young fans, many of whom might be grappling with mental health concerns of their own.
“I just grab them by the shoulders and I’m like, ‘Please take care of yourself and be good to yourself and be nice to yourself,’” she said. ”‘Don’t take that extra step and hurt yourself further.’”
If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HOME to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.