Anne Hathaway opens up about having an ‘anxiety attack’ during lockdown: ‘I had to learn that it was okay to talk about being anxious & being scared’


Oscar winner Anne Hathaway has put herself through various challenges in her twenty year-long career since donning her tiara for The Princess Diaries. She’s sung, slipped into a catsuit, hustled and learned exactly what the difference is between blue and cerulean blue.

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WATCH: Anne Hathaway opens up about her journey with her mental health over the last year

Now in her latest movie, Locked Down, Anne deals with a new challenge – being locked down. The mental health messaging of the film presented her with another challenge, confronting her own mental health. In the new movie, Anne stars as Linda who is struggling to cohabit with her former criminal husband, Paxton (Chiwetel Ejiofor), and battle the demons of feeling isolated in locked down London. Their plans to alleviate boredom and bring them closer together? Organising a heist of Harrods. It’s definitely a little more high energy than a jigsaw, isn’t it?

Here, Anne opens up about her own experiences of lockdown, managing her mental health and candidly opens up about the anxiety attack she experienced during lockdown…

I found Locked Down quite triggering as it made me reflect on the last year and the times I have struggled. What was probably the most triggering aspect of filming it for you and how did it make you reflect on your lock down experience?

I loved screaming into the pillow. That felt great and it was not in the script. It was just one take. I was just like, “Well, let me just do this thing that I have done this year.” That part was, just business on top, bedtime on bottom. That felt very true. But in terms of what you were talking about and in terms of being triggering, the hardest scene to film was the scene where I had to fire a bunch of people on zoom. That part was a really painful day, just because I know people have gone through it, on both sides of it and just knowing that we were representing something that was way too real. That one was hard.

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I really discovered a new level of gentleness with myself and with other people. I’ve always been very driven and I still am, but I think sometimes the way that I would get myself motivated, it wasn’t always the healthiest approach and the most gentle approach. I just feel like I’m just softer with myself. My understanding of what it means to be a human being has expanded. I used to seek to define myself by my best days, and now I don’t do that anymore. I accept all of it. And certainly in the beginning of lockdown, I was putting all this pressure on myself to be fine.

Look, I don’t want to draw too thick a line under it, but I’m not having the same problems as other people. I wasn’t worried about where my next meal was coming from. I wasn’t worried about having a roof over my head and because of those things, I thought that it meant that I didn’t have the right to feel anxious or scared or any of those things and that was putting an extra layer of pressure on me that I couldn’t take. I had to learn that it was okay to talk about being anxious and being scared and all of those things and then I was going to have to just be nicer to myself and make room for myself to feel those things.

Locked Down really picks up on the feelings of being isolated and being alone, we really need to talk about those feelings openly…

I do think so. I’m just going to be very open about it. Early on in lockdown, I was supposed to be on a group zoom and I had an anxiety attack. I couldn’t make it. I decided to write everybody afterward as it was unusual that I wouldn’t be on it. I just had to write everyone afterwards and just be honest about what had happened. My people were there for me and they opened up and they shared their own experiences with it. They shared with me their tips. They offered, they reached out, they followed up and I just realised that I was more loved than I had actually realised because of that. If I just papered over and said, “Oh no, everything’s fine. Something came up or the kids needed me.” If I’d done that, I wouldn’t have had that understanding of how extraordinary the people that are in my life really are.

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I had a breakdown over a Murder Mystery Zoomand it was actually refreshing to be honest about it rather than lie…

Yes! Look some days we are fine and you know what, enjoy those days, because as we’ve learned from this past year, it’s really natural that we’re going to have days where we’re not, and we know that those days are coming too. So do your best to enjoy the ones where you feel like, “Okay, I’m actually on top of the water today.”

If you could go back to a stage during this year and be a friend to yourself, when would it have been and what would you say to yourself?

That’s a really lovely question. God, I think in the beginning and I wouldn’t have said anything, I just would’ve held my hands and let myself cry. I think that there was this pressure, because you have to understand I’ve been a working actress for some time now. I haven’t spent this much time at home since I was 16 years old. So there’s just a lot of things that I hadn’t done in 20 years. That I didn’t know how to do and there’s that process of just learning something for the first time and learning how not to be embarrassed by what you don’t know. I would’ve reassured myself that, “Don’t worry, come January 1st, you are going to make a Paleo quiche from scratch without looking at a recipe. You’re going to figure this out.” And so then on those days when I just felt hopeless at everything, maybe I wouldn’t have been so hard on myself.

That’s so interesting because when you define your identity so much by what you do as a job when that is removed you realise things that you never realised about yourself before

And you realise how unhealthy it is to define yourself by your job! I know I felt that way I’m sure a lot of us felt that way – that’s my understanding of myself becoming more personal this year. It became so much less about what was going on outside. It became so much less about what was going on in my career and so much more about what was going on in my home.

You can rent the movie premiere of Locked Down at home from 11th March

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