Lena Headey on her battle with depression: ‘I haven’t had a spell in a long time’


Game of Thrones Season 5 is 17 days away. Can you feel it? I’m nervous as a cat! Who will die? Are the dragons going to fly free? Will Tyrion meet Dany? Will Ayra survive and thrive? And through it all, Cersei remains as bitchy as ever. It’s going to be interesting to see how she functions without her (spoiler) father. But one thing is for sure: everybody seems to love Lena Headey. She seems like a lot of fun, and she seems to befriend all of the new cast members. Lena is not the queen of bitchery like Cersei, it seems, although I have to admit that I don’t really know that much about Lena in real life. So I was happy to read her cover profile for More Magazine. Some highlights:

Her divorce from ex-husband Peter Loughran: “It’s tough. There’s a lot of hurt and sadness and disappointment. Grief. Massive grief. It’s a mourning process, and yet nobody’s died.”

Her battle with depression: “I haven’t had a spell in a long time. I think some people’s brains are just wired that way if you’re a thinker. People who never get anxious always amaze me. The world could be breaking up and they’re saying, ‘Everything’s fine!’ Getting older and having kids, you learn how to become less serious about it all.”

Her current mystery baby-daddy: “I like to keep my personal life private.”

She loves tattoos: “I always want more. It’s a terrible thing. I’ll be outside a tattoo shop and hear the needle and think, ‘I could just get a little one that nobody would see …’ ”

Peter Dinklage on Lena: “A lesser actress would play a wicked woman. But Lena approaches it as a mother lion—maybe because she’s a mother herself. Cersei will do anything to protect her own.”

Her future: “Nothing is concrete. Right now I’m having a very great moment, but it’s a moment, and I always think, okay, worst-case scenario: Could I survive in my car? Would this be okay? My friends call it disaster thinking. I like to think of it as realism.”

[From More Magazine via Us Weekly]

I like that Dinklage in quoted in the article – it feels like he doesn’t really do that much press around GoT (he receives a lot of press though), so it’s nice he thinks so highly of Lena. I also didn’t know she battles depression. I sort of agree with this statement, although I think her wording is odd: “I think some people’s brains are just wired that way if you’re a thinker.” Depression and manic-depression is in the wiring, I feel, and I believe the “if you’re a thinker” is a reference to the idea that with that kind of wiring, it feels like your brain just won’t shut down. But Lena sort of makes it sound like depression is related to intelligence, which… eh.

As for the mystery baby-daddy… who is it?! I still believe it’s Pedro Pascal.


Photos courtesy of David Slijper/MORE Magazine.

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53 Responses to “Lena Headey on her battle with depression: ‘I haven’t had a spell in a long time’”

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  1. Shaboo says:

    Depression is linked to intelligence, there have been quite a few studies on this. If you’re not much of a thinker you’re hardly going to have an existential crisis etc etc

    That doesn’t mean you have to be intelligent to be depressed

    • Esmom says:

      Actually I took her “thinker” comment to mean “overthinker,” which may also be connected to intelligence, who knows. But I think those who tend to over think or think deeply about things are generally more sensitive and therefore more prone to depression. I’ve battled it pretty much my whole life and now I see it in my young teen son. He has a hard time just being carefree sometimes while most of his friends are more obliviously happy go lucky, if that makes sense.

      • JM says:

        I took it as overthinking too. I’ve struggled with depression almost my whole life. I will take a thought, pull it apart and put it back together 10 different ways and still not be sure of the right decision. Medications turn me into a zombie so I choose to be “crazy” over “numb” but it doesn’t make it any easier.

      • Norman Bates' Mother says:

        As a person, who is struggling with depression, I also took it as overthinking, Esmom. These thoughts don’t have to be super clever or a sign of a higher intelligence at all. It’s that people, who are like that have to think through every possible scenario about every single, even the most unimportant situation, before this situation happens and it can ruin their or rather – our lives in many ways. Someone invites me to somewhere – my mind automatically flashes every possible outcome, usually the bad ones first and as a result – I prefer to stay home. I might start dating someone I like – I also start to think about how I can say stupid things and ruin everything, how flawed my body is, how I might get hurt, how my parents are too conservative to accept me living with someone before marriage or even about things like shaving or having acne and I bail – I’m 26 and always single because of that overthinking. Is that particulary smart way to do – not really, but it’s pretty much impossible to overcome.

      • lucy2 says:

        That’s how I read it too, as “overthinking”.
        Whatever the case, I’m glad she’s willing to talk about it.

      • That’s how I read it, too, unless there’s more to the quote than excerpted here. I had the sense she was talking about brooding about things, not being smarter than others.

      • RocketMerry says:

        @Norman Bates’ mother, I’m like that too, except that most times I don’t even get to the actual “date” part; I keep thinking of all the stupid things I’ll say or do and just skip it all, ’cause “what’s the point?”.
        It feels like admitting defeat before even going to battle, but when I’m down all I care about is avoiding even the possibility of getting hurt.
        It does feel better to know that others have these kind of feelings as well, and I do like Lena more for talking publicy about her depression.

      • lana86 says:

        I agree, and I want to add smth: it seems sometimes that it’s so much better to be this “happy go lucky” person, but it’s not exactly so. While senseitivity and overthinking makes you less “carefree”, it also produces a useful habit of self analysis and trying to understand the way things are. Which will serve you well in the future. On the contrary, the people who have always relied on their natural optimism sometimes find it hard, as adults, to examine their own minds, since this habit is foreign to them.

      • LAK says:

        I’m going to butt in to defend the sunny, happy go lucky mindset. Just because we are sunny people doesn’t mean we don’t think about things or aren’t deep thinkers. Or even depressed. It’s a fallacy to assume that.

  2. Elisabeth says:

    I hope it’s Pedro

    • Pixi says:

      I don’t know how it could NOT be Pedro’s. What a gorgeous child that’s going to be.

    • GlimmerBunny says:

      + 1. They are so hot together. But why wouldn’t he acknowledge it? He really doesn’t seem like that kind of guy…

      • Elisabeth says:

        they could just be private people. i understand it.

      • Falula says:

        Yeah, the only reason I would lean toward “not Pedro’s” is because he is pretty active on Instagram and posts pictures with nieces/nephews and other friends’ kids so it seems unlikely he could hide his own child in the midst of that. I would (out of left field) guess that it’s not his baby but they are dating now.

    • Lilix40 says:

      He basically confirmed it on his Instagram a while ago.

      • ell says:


      • Virgilia Coriolanus says:

        WHAAAT? This is what I get for not stalking his twitter page like I was going to…..

      • Lilix40 says:

        It was maybe one or two weeks ago, I am not sure. He posted a Gustav Klimt-inspired drawing of a heavily pregnant woman with the following caption: I will miss you too. If I am not mistaken, Lena’s pregnancy had been unveiled a couple of days before. It might be nothing, but I found it too much of a coincidence.

      • GlimmerBunny says:

        What, I must have missed that (I follow him on insta). But that sounds really sad? Does he mean Lena and that they’re not together anymore or did something happen to the baby? 🙁

      • Falula says:

        WHOA! I follow him and saw that picture and still didn’t put it together.

  3. Mzizkrizten says:

    Just as alcoholism is never cured, a depressive will always be ‘Recovering’ imo. It’s in the wiring. Pills may help, Therapy etc but one just learns (hopefully) to cope with it and manage it and there will be good periods and there will be bad.

    • Esmom says:


    • Henry's Mum says:

      First time commenting here, I’m adding my own “+1” vote for your insightful comment.

      Great article on Lena Headey too, it just makes her seem even more amazing!

    • Tulip says:

      I think that’s a reasonable expectation. I would hope that people who have not struggled with depression all their life would know that their situation might be different. That they could expect a depression to lift. Everyone should discuss it with their doctor if it’s an issue.

    • Brittney B says:


      I appreciate genuine happiness SO MUCH because it’s so rare, but I still can’t avoid the nagging thought: “depression will return.” I’m on a great pharmaceutical cocktail right now, but eventually it will need to be tweaked, and I’m terrified of that. Depression strikes when it wants to strike, and I’m happy to hear Lena isn’t dealing with it right now. She gets to enjoy this career high and a new baby without the doubts creeping in.

      (It’s also great that postpartum depression hasn’t affected her, seemingly. My depression is a big part of my decision to never have biological kids.)

  4. AuroraO says:

    I don’t think she tried to relate depression to intelligence. When she said “if you’re a thinker” she reminded me of me. I’m always thinking about something- always worrying. I never have a moment of where I’m not overthinking or overanalyzing something. I think that’s what she meant. We anxious people we are always worrying about anything.

    • eva says:

      Yes, this is how I took it, I too am an anxious person and am always trying to stop myself from over thinking situations or worrying about things that could or are going to happen in the future, some nights I can’t get to sleep as my brain just wont shut down.

      • AuroraO says:

        Exactly the same for me! It takes me an hour to fall asleep. I can’t relax, not even when I’m dead tired.

      • TheOnlyDee says:

        Me too. My doctor told me if it goes on for more than a half an hour, to get up and read or take a walk, something without a screen, and try to go to bed again. Also, if you have a visible alarm clock, cover it and put your phone screen down so you can’t see the time. This is because seeing the time and thinking about having only six/five/four more hours until your alarm goes off can cause even more anxiety. Those are just some things that have helped me. I also take melatonin as a last resort sometimes. I have had times where it felt like I was wired on caffeine and coke and could not shut off my brain and could not relax at all, so I decided to look into every natural method to fall asleep!

      • Curious Cole says:

        My brain is a constant thinker too and I’m currently battling a nasty bout of insomnia. No prescription or amount of melatonin knocks me out, but I take hollow comfort in knowing I’m not suffering alone. We should get together for a massive un-sleepover party.

    • Esmom says:

      Yes, I said something similar above before I saw your comment. Count me in as being your kind of thinker, too!

  5. Babadook says:

    Plot twist: babydaddy is Peter Dinklage! :O

    • Pixi says:

      Even further Plot Twist – it’s Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s and they write it into the show as another one of Jamie and Cersei’s children.

  6. amanda says:

    I can agree with Kaiser that the wording implies depression links to intelligence, but I don’t think that is the case.

    However, maybe ‘thinking people’ means people who see the world and think about it in a specific way are more likely to be anxious and depressed.

    I struggle with depression and also have not had a bad spell in awhile, but I do know that I can’t stop myself once I start think about the deep, darker stuff in life and it’s a hole that is hard to stay out of once it enters my thoughts.

    So a ‘thinker’ in terms of somebody who thinks about people as a whole, human suffering, inevitability of death or ‘the end’, the way our culture is, raising children in this sort of world, feeling lost or helpless, is who she might be talking about…at least that’s the stuff that really gets me down the rabbit hole…but I think some people are able to not think about that stuff or in such a way that it would cause them anxiety or to be depressed, maybe that’s what she means…

    • Henry's Mum says:

      That’s what I took it to mean too, for sure. Good luck in your journey, I hope it’s a long while (if ever) between spells.

    • Esmom says:

      Amanda, I think you’re right. Those are the same things that send me down the rabbit hole, although I think I’ve finally built up a decent toolbox to cope with it better than I used to. One of my best friends is exactly the same way, we laugh sometimes about how it seems like we share a brain. Definitely a certain type of person. Wishing more sunny days ahead for you.

  7. Lucy says:

    Great article! It never ceases to impress me how different she looks from her character. They’re both beautiful, obviously, but a punk-rock-ish, raven-haired woman and a blonde, stone-cold queen? They’re pretty much in opposite sides of the spectrum!!!

  8. ell says:

    with thinker imo she meant over thinking, someone’s who’s anxious. and she has a point. I’m happy she got over the divorce though, it was probably quite tough as her ex was giving her a hard time.

    as for her baby, i wouldn’t be surprised if there’s no father at all, just either a sperm donour or a random hook up, which is totally fine she doesn’t need to explain it. i don’t think she’s with pedro btw, they might be fwb, but I doubt they’d be so secretive if it was an actual normal relationship, since the rumours have been going on for so long. like, it’s normal to be coy about new relationships, but if you’ve been together 1+ year it’s just weird.

  9. NeoCleo says:

    I truly appreciate that people who have public exposure are coming forward and talking about their depression. It is such a lonely disease–which is what makes it so deadly.

  10. Eve says:

    As someone who suffers from MDD and severe anxiety, I can relate.

    • chocolate cake says:

      mdd like maladaptative daydreaming? cause then i love you more cause i feel less alone. Oh the love you more part is cause i generally find your comments funny.

      • Eve says:

        Sorry…the other, less interesting one (although I daydream a lot). And I love you, too…you know. I mean “chocolate cake”?


      • boomboominmyroom says:

        no way, so it has a name??? I thought that I was the only one. great, another disorder to collect:P I also have social phobia and GAD.

  11. Olenna says:

    April 12. That’s all I’ve got (…besides wishing Lena the best!).

  12. Madpoe says:

    Her battle with depression: “I haven’t had a spell in a long time. I think some people’s brains are just wired that way if you’re a thinker. People who never get anxious always amaze me. The world could be breaking up and they’re saying, ‘Everything’s fine!’ Getting older and having kids, you learn how to become less serious about it all.”

    ++ Thank-you Lena for saying this out loud! As someone who suffers depression and anxiety myself, i’m so tired of feeling ashamed to exist.

    • Eve says:

      We should NEVER be ashamed. It’s not like we chose to have it.

    • Curious Cole says:

      @Madpoe I spent years feeling compelled to justify my very existence. We each have a distinctive gift to offer others, and there is no one in the world like you. Never apologize for being alive. I hope you can soon move from existing to living. Believe in yourself and hang on!

  13. LeAnn Stinks says:

    Is it me or does Lena looks a bit like Naomi Watts with dark hair?

  14. HoustonGrl says:

    I suffered from depression in my early 20s (I’m now 30). I can relate to what she means about being in good phase or good place. It was a really long struggle for me, much of it having to do with self-acceptance. I don’t attribute my depression to over-thinking, for me it was more connected to life events. Obviously it’s personal for everyone and there are many triggers and coping mechanisms (some good, some bad). Regardless, it’s great she’s so open about it! I’m sure it helps other people.

  15. Timbuktu says:

    Am I the only one who feels that she looks JUST like Naomi Watts in these photos?