Prince William: ‘Not one celebrity’ wanted to work with Heads Together

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Back in 2016/17, Duchess Kate, Prince Harry and Prince William were really trying to do the most to launch Heads Together and make it seem like a big new thing. For the record, I still believe Heads Together is basically just a charity conglomerate, an umbrella organization which allegedly funnels money to already-existing charities. Heads Together is supposed to be the banner organization, and the banner is “mental health.” There’s been subtle criticism from some quarters outside and inside the palaces that William, Harry and Kate need to stop banging on endlessly about their feelings and just get to work. As I’ve said, I believe they all care about these issues, but the execution and messaging often leaves something to be desired.

Anyway, Prince William has been in Davos this week to do forums on the environment and… mental health. He was the centerpiece of a panel discussion (which involved New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern) on mental health and mental illness. And William spilled some tea about how celebrities didn’t even want to get involved with Heads Together.

The stigma surrounding mental health issues was enough to make stars turn down a campaign started by Prince William, Kate Middleton and Prince Harry. During a panel on the subject at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday, William shared that working with veterans, disadvantaged children and other groups of people led to realize that many problems fell under the umbrella of mental well-being.
Together with his brother and wife, he launched the Heads Together initiative to focus on mental health three years ago – but even the royal trio had trouble getting famous faces to join their cause.

“What was interesting when we set up the campaign, not one celebrity wanted to join us,” William, 36, said. “Not one person wanted to be involved in the mental health campaign Heads Together. The royal dad of three added that they went out to “a lot of people” and “nobody” was interested.

Heads Together still moved forward, and Prince William has noticed that many more people are willing to speak about the issues now.

“That was three years ago, and that was a big deal,” he shared. “Obviously, once we started getting the ball rolling and once we started showing people a lot more of what we’re going to do, people realized that Catherine, Harry and I put our necks on the line here. That actually maybe it was okay, we could join. Then some very brave people came forward from celebrities and from normal people who decided this was really important and they bravely took on the task of speaking about mental health.”

[From People]

A few things… he actually did get one celebrity on the hook for Heads Together. In 2017, Lady Gaga did a video with William, where she tried to bring some charisma and he seemed rather flat. This video was actually not well-received when it debuted – it was seen as way too informal, and William was seen as way too “chummy” with a pop star like Gaga.

Maybe it was the script? But yeah, he did get one celebrity interested, it’s weird that he doesn’t remember Gaga taking time out of her day to help him. As for the other celebrities who possibly said no… I have a theory. My theory is that William – especially William – does not have the best reputation in the British acting community because he fails to show up for the BAFTA dinner at Kensington Palace every year (and he’s the president of BAFTA!!!), and he’s only attended the BAFTAs a handful of times. He doesn’t give a sh-t and it shows and so of course celebrities are like “who needs this, it’s going to be a pain in the ass.” I mean, Kate doesn’t even show up for her patronages’ big galas and celebrities have to take up the slack for the royal patrons! Anyway, that’s just my theory – it’s less about British celebrities wanting to avoid an association with a mental health charity and more like British celebrities being understandably and reasonably reticent about working with William and Kate in particular.

Another theory: maybe celebrities don’t want to get involved because William is so eager to take personal credit for starting the conversation about mental health?

Photos courtesy of Getty.

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88 Responses to “Prince William: ‘Not one celebrity’ wanted to work with Heads Together”

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  1. Fabulous says:

    Saw the headline and immediatly thought – maybe its because of you Billy! Loads of British celebs have spoken about mental illness over the years.

    • bluhare says:

      He did an interview with Lady Gaga as part of the roll out.

      • BigGirl says:

        Gaga has done tons for mental health. if you see her video after Matthew, this is her thing. The problem isn’t the celebrities, it’s William and co.

      • LahdidahBaby says:

        How self-serving and ungracious of him to say “Not one celebrity” after the time Lady Gaga gave to his project. Self-pitying whiner.

    • goofpuff says:

      Yeah I agree. They don’t want to work with William is the chief reason. Why do all the work (since he does barely any for the charity) and have him try to take all the credit? And definitely his crappy leadership of BAFTA is not helping.

      • mc135 says:

        So true, it looks bad when the the suppose leader of BAFTA , celebrity central, can’t find celebrity to be part of his project.That tell you he had no connection with them and never built one only show up for the annual photo app.

    • PrincessK says:

      But maybe he was looking for a celebrity willing to come out and talk about her or his own personal battle with mental illness….that would not be easy.

      • Olive says:

        @PrincessK even that is nothing new – stephen fry’s been talking about his mental health issues for ages, and younger celebs are even more forthcoming – zayn malik has talked about his own struggles, lily allen as well. this isn’t an issue with celebs.

    • Ronaldinhio says:

      Also some of it is very shady. One of the largest partners won’t pay therapist’s for their work with children. Instead they use students and keep the profits.
      If they want to provide robust mental health services they need to be deliver by trained and experience mental health practitioners
      You’d think they’d have some due diligence in place

  2. PhillyGal says:

    He bores me to death.

  3. leela says:

    just like goop who invented yoga, billy was the first to talk about mental health . .

    • Esmerelda says:

      Clearly we’re lucky to live in such an age of brave pioneers like goop and king bill
      /sarcasm

  4. Megan says:

    What celebrity wants to show up when all the press will be about Kate’s dress and shoes?

  5. Jumpingthesnark says:

    What a weird thing to say! I mean, Dude, you and your brother and your wife, you ARE the celebrities……. I realize “the firm” wouldn’t describe it that way, but their roles are just that……

  6. Millennial says:

    Well after these comments, I’m sure loads of celebrities will line up to work with him!

    And what’s with him expecting celebrities to just come out and discuss their mental health because he asked them to? It’s not like he’s asking them to bare their deepest issues or anything… oh, wait.

  7. Loretta says:

    He’s so dull and petulant

  8. Monicack says:

    It was something he observed in real time. I see no need to give image obsessed celebs a pass.

    • Pandy says:

      And he’s right in some respects. There is still a lot of stigma around disclosing.

      • Betsy says:

        Yes, but no one has to disclose anything they don’t want to. No one is entitled to that information about someone else.

      • Monicack says:

        He didn’t ask for disclosure. He asked for advocacy and enhanced visibility because of their celebrity status.

      • Natalie S says:

        @Monicak. But isn’t enhanced visibility the point of having a royal patron? William is supposed to be one famous enough to increase visibility. People are supposed to be relating to him. And the royals are more image obsessed than anyone else.

        And William has only recently become a full time royal. Asking people who have had to work to build their careers to involve themselves with something when the main guy is still figuring out his own path is a stretch.

  9. Becks1 says:

    Sigh.

    So people on here have said that HT has been a positive organization in their line of work, so I’m willing to defer to that. But I also understand the criticism that it is taking focus away from specific charities. It almost feels like they didn’t want to be patrons of a bunch of different organizations so just created one big organization.

    But….this comment from William….I feel like celebrities have been at the forefront of talking about mental health in general, and specifically depression, bipolar disorder, etc. I don’t think that the reason they couldn’t get a celebrity was bc the celebs were all “too scared” to get involved with a mental health charity.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      Many celebs have and continue to speak out about mental health – Stephen Fry being one of them. I suspect that they didn’t want to work with HT as its an umbrella organisation that covers MH in generalist terms – many of these celebs speak about specific conditions such as depression, anxiety, bi-polar etc.. Conditions that are personal as many of them have/are suffering from these issues.

      And yeah, I think celebs are reticent to allow themselves to be used by the Cambridge’s esp given their work shy image.

    • Chrome says:

      Maybe it’s because William and Kate have faffed about for years doing nothing and anyone with a profile doesn’t want to associate with their shallowness? Just a wild guess. Does anyone recall the big PR rollout of Kate editing an edition of HuffPo? In reality it was a 20-minute photo op and then she was off to the shops and papped with an armful of bags. What a waste of dragging journos to ‘work’ in KP for a few hours, all for a silly tit to feel important.

      Kaiser is dead right in HT being little more than an umbrella organisation for serious mental health charities and claiming some kind of hierarchy over them. The Royal Foundation aka, Billy, Kate and Harry can say they have been doing lot but it’s really the charities that are doing the hard yards. The biggest insult of all to those charities is that the RF/HT creamed off the biggest donors to donate to them exclusively, leaving the charities out of the loop. Nor did all the charities receive funding from HT/RF. Not at all. Worse, Bill, Kate and Harry decided to use a whole bunch of money on apps which was a real bait-and-switch played on the public who thought their donations were going to the charities mentioned under the HT umbrella.

      Oh, and let’s remember that WKH only ever intended to dedicate themselves to HT until the London Marathon when the public thought it was an ongoing initiative. And apart from mumbling a couple of slogans, what did they do anyway? A big fat nothing. Useless.

      Anyone with a public profile would be better off avoiding the ‘royals’ and working directly with the charity they wish to help. Anyone wishing to donate to a charity should do it directly, and steer well clear of the Royal Foundation.

  10. Dueberrygal says:

    I don’t see what is wrong in William saying Heads Together struggled in the beginning to attract big names. Most charities that are starting out often do. Sentebale was close to bankruptcy in its early years & it had to be bailed out by Charles.

    Most charities usually have teething problems in the beginning and Heads Together is no different. The important thing is that they overcame that obstacle & many more people are now connected with the organization.

    Personally I think it’s refreshing that people talk honestly about the challenges & obstacles they face when running a charity because you don’t often hear this.

    • Jessica says:

      I agree with this. I think many celebs are image obsessed enough to be very reticent to ‘go there’ on mental health. Mariah Carey (one of my favs) only did a People cover revealing her bipolar disorder because former members of her entourage (Stella) were blackmailing her with it, so she took matters into her own hands. We still don’t know what exactly Britney’s issues are, though people speculate. It’s very private and very stigmatized still, which is why even other members of the BRF weren’t keen on their initiative or their openness in talking publicly about their own struggles.

    • Chrisjam says:

      Sentebale had a lot of problems from misplaced funds & accusations of orphans being abandoned. Unfortunately many new charities often face problems.

    • Junejuli says:

      Anyone who has ever worked in the charity sector will know that it takes time for new organizations to grow, and there are certain subjects that are deemed controversial or highly sensitive so they don’t attract as much support or funding & donors. Mental health is a highly sensitive subject & some celebrities understandably might not have wanted to be attached to it in the beginning. Now that HT has grown, big names have been more willing to attach their names to it.

    • Leyton says:

      I think the difference is, no ones publicly bitched about it or made it seem like someone else fault that they couldn’t get off the ground. As you said with Sentebale, they had their troubles in the beginning but Harry kept with it and they’ve been doing great work and getting more publicity. Think about the Hamilton play which raised funds and the recent event The Sussex did.

      Harry never once complained people weren’t support it more. He just did the work to make it better.

      It’s hard but William needs to learn that slapping his title onto something doesn’t make it a success- you have to work for that.

      • Melmella says:

        I don’t have a problem with William talking about the challenges faced. He was at a forum discussing mental health so it’s right that he should talk honestly about the issues faced, it’s better than pretending that everything went smoothly. He also spoke about how they overcame that challenge & now many celebrities are now associated with it.

    • Beach Dreams says:

      The problem is that he seems to have a habit of casting blame on others when things don’t go his way. Just a few months ago he was complaining about the failure of a cyberbullying initiative he supported.

  11. Piper says:

    Odd story. Because if anyone needs to discuss mental health openly, it’s celebrities lol. Maybe they didn’t believe in what they were doing until they saw it in motion or the royals discussed the topic themselves to then lend a hand. Who knows.

    • Valiantly Varnished says:

      Mental health is an issue a lot of people face whether they are famous or not. And celebs have been speaking out about it for literally years. It seems the issue is perhaps William and Head Together itself.

  12. Tia says:

    It was never entirely clear what was going on with this charity (i.e. what new initiatives there were, how it worked etc.) and bearing in mind the ‘faces’ of it were and are notoriously work shy (except possibly Harry and it was clear his focus was elsewhere), A list celebrities probably thought they could do more good with far more control elsewhere rather than being told what to do by the palace plus taking the blame when things went wrong).

    Also, I bet lower tier celebs would have been delighted. He means the A listers weren’t interested.

  13. Lily says:

    Loads of British celebrities and public figures speak out on mental health and represent other mental health charities. Heads Together was supported by Lady Gaga as well as a Number of British celebrities like Rio Ferdinand, Professor Green, Stacey Dooley, who all did events with the royals. Frankly it’s getting annoying to see William blame others for why Heads Together didn’t work out. The campaign was launched by them as the best thing ever, a genius idea solely by Kate, to help completely remove the stigma around mental health….except all they kept repeating was “Talk to someone” “the stigma is wrong” again and again. And let’s not even mention the multiple times Kate kept saying because of her amazing childhood, her mental health was always stable. But to be fair, what did we expect? William Harry and Kate are not experts so it was never going to be great because it was clear from the get go that neither of them cared enough to put all their efforts into it or to do the correct research(although Harry has been involved in projects surrounding the mental health of veterans). This is more than the occasional visit to a school. But they had to do something because of the workshy articles as well as the horrible trip to IndiaBhutan, the Verbier ski trip and probably thought mental health was a good sector to be involved in to cement their position as the modern royals but it’s often forgotten older members of the royal family have been involved in a number of mental health causes. My issue is if WilliamKateHarry really want to help then they should leave umbrella organisations behind and support smaller charities by becoming a Royal Patron.

    • Chrome says:

      Yep. You sum it up perfectly. Problem is, the ‘younger royals’ don’t want to do the bread-and-butter work of supporting small charities. They simply want to have a few big events to attach their names to. That gets them greater PR splashes with less work. None of them are interested in doing more than the absolute minimum, despite the rhetoric.

  14. girl_ninja says:

    But he IS a celebrity.

  15. Mego says:

    My first thought exactly – it’s not mental health William, it’s you.

  16. Flying fish says:

    Oh please, William.

  17. Lowrider says:

    Waaah, the celebrities didn’t support me! Waaaah, the social media leaders didn’t support me…🤧😭

    Good to know he courts celebs support. Since he has an “actressy” Hollywood sister in law he can work with her on courting celebs for his charities…

    I wonder why Harry never struggled to receive celeb support for Sentabale an IG?🤔

    • Nicole85 says:

      Sentabale did struggle initially. Also HT is part Harry’s.

    • Pearlime says:

      It was probably easier for Invictus where the community around the armed forces is much stronger and tighter and there is less stigma to it. With the special Olympics there also is a similar established event.

  18. Cerys says:

    I imagine few celebrities were willing to come forward because they knew they would be left to do all the work while William, Kate and Harry took all the credit.

  19. Citresse says:

    Why does it have to be Hollywood celebrities? Bell Let’s Talk in Canada had former Olympians. With Harry’s involvement with Invictus it shouldn’t be difficult to find sport celebrities willing to be involved with Heads Together.

  20. Pearlime says:

    I take it that does mean that nobody wanted to work with Harry on this either?

  21. Mindy_dopple says:

    This is another clue on why he has an issue with Meagan. He’s envious of her connections to a world that he’s crying doesn’t like him.

    • Chrissy says:

      Bingo! That and the fact that she has supported charities her whole life without wanting a pat on the back for it, unlike whiny, entitled William. I always get the impression that he only gets involved in charities because he’s told to not because he genuinely wants to contribute and make a difference to people’s lives. His heart really is not in it and it shows.

    • PrincessK says:

      Very true famous people would be more interested in working and supporting H&M rather than W&K, who seem rather dull and boring in comparison.

  22. Lila says:

    This is a quote from a mental health organization in England. They are responding to Prince William and celebrities not pitching in.
    “Although talking about #mentalhealth is so important, for many it can be very difficult to voice their experience with it. Thank you Prince William for speaking so candidly about mental health. It helps others to feel that its okay to talk about it 🗣️🧠”

  23. Marigold says:

    As I understood it, he was specifically saying no celebrities from the UK wanted to talk about it and then went on to speak about the culture there of “bucking up” instead of seeking help.

    • Jamie says:

      I doubt that’s true, though. I can think of three worldwide-famous British celebs who’ve talked about mental health struggles over the years: Stephen Fry, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Russell Brand. I’m sure if I had more awareness of UK celebrities, I could think of more.

  24. Natalie S says:

    In that picture with Jacinda Ardern, William has such a snotty look on his face. And that’s the picture Kensington Palace chose! So much unearned confidence in that guy.

    • Ader says:

      Yes! The William “face”! He made this same face at Meghan during “scarf gate.” I hate this face so hard.

      God I can’t stand William. Least favorite royal by a mile.

    • brutalethyl says:

      He looks bored and disdainful of Ms. Arden. You can tell he’d rather be anywhere else but there. If he could lose the face he might be able to actually get something accomplished.

      When the guy in charge looks like he couldn’t care less, why would anybody else give a shit?

    • PrincessK says:

      That is a bit unfair, I think he was just reacting to a crucial or disturbing point she raised. Although I do agree William does have a snooty look very often….but he is going to be a King so he can’t be too, ‘down with the people’ can he?

    • Chrome says:

      Oh, that’s the Public School “I am a Prince’ sneering look William assumes when it’s clear he is outclassed. Jacinda Ardern can run rings round that fool of a man. He shouldn’t be at Davos or opening his mouth about anything. He was a drunk at university and barely attended. He’s pretty much failed at everything – no guts, no staying power, no brains. Just cut the ribbons, Billy Boy. Make sure he’s given the play scissors.

      • Tina says:

        I work in the university world now, where I have relatively few overentitled posh boys to deal with (at least among the staff). But god there were a lot of them in the City. The look on his face is giving me flashbacks. (There’s a great video of James Delingpole being schooled on Question Time, it’s very cathartic).

  25. SlightlyAnonny says:

    Sigh. He’s really dumb. My armchair PR tells me that the professional PR of major celebs took one look at this project and told their star, “this is a mess at this point, maybe later.” On top of that, he DID get a star in Gaga which probably led the professsional PR to look at the project again and say, “Yeahh…still not ready yet, maybe later.” And now this coup de grace. No celeb will want to be involved now because it will look like they were bullied and shamed into it. He’s a moron.

  26. Nikki says:

    Helping Jews in Nazi Germany was extraordinarily brave. Talking about mental health issues even 3 years ago didn’t require a huge amount of bravery, c’mon!!

    • Lady D says:

      You are not wrong in your assessment of William, but it takes a lot of guts to seek help for your problems. The stigma is incredible, with little to no support from anyone (although there is a lot of scorn aimed at those who try) To recognize you need it takes guts, to act to help yourself takes even more.

  27. OriginalLala says:

    Just because celebrities didn’t want to get involved with HT doesn’t mean they don’t care about mental health – maybe they could sense it was a half-baked attempt by the Cambridges to get people to stop complaining that they were lazy and didn’t want to touch it with a 10 foot pole. I certainly wouldn’t!

  28. liriel says:

    Or maybe it was more of taboo a few years ago, before the metoo era?

  29. Anon says:

    So I get people in general, and then definitely the rich and famous of course, don’t embrace mental health issues and certainly don’t want to talk about it openly, aside from those few already mentioned.

    But then I find it hard to take William seriously at all when he seems so ill-prepared for his engagements in every aspect. For such an arrogant, vain man (IMHO) he had a freaking hole in his shoe at the Davos meeting and it was photographed. WTF? It just reinforces (again IMHO) his lack of attention to the details, which he has shown over and over and over again in his attitude, speeches, his appearance, and clothing choices, etc.

    • Natalie S says:

      Maybe the celebrities didn’t want to join Heads Together because they know William brags about not preparing for his engagements.

      • Anon says:

        Natalie, agree! Also with his and HT’s seemingly lack of follow through as pointed out below by mc135. He could be saying well HT offers these resources and/or hey HT has this new program available for assistance. But NO, instead he’s using the platform for WHINING that no celebrities will work with him or HT. Talk about what HT has, can and will do for mental health awareness, programming, etc. And then MAYBE just maybe some of these celebrities might come onboard and be interested.

    • Vi says:

      Evidently he shares the same lack of attention for the details with his brother,because they both showere up with holes in their shoes.. :)

      • Lady D says:

        They really need to be following Charles example when it comes to dressing for the public. Don’t either of these prince’s have a valet?

    • PrincessK says:

      Oh heavens…the hole in the shoe business again. Harry gets criticised on DM for this too. They are upper class. Their leather shoes are very expensively hand made. They do not throw away the shoes when they get old, they take them back t the maker to get them re soled. This ‘hole’ is not yet deep enough to warrant a repair job. OK?

  30. mc135 says:

    I think this topic was choosing to make them look good. The only thing that they have been saying is “talk about it ” But never a follow up like resources on where to go, organization that provide those services, the availability of those resources. How to ask for help and much more when it come to mental health. It’s seems like his new phrase is” work as an helicopter pilot affected me” but never a follow up on how , what resources he used , how those resource are available to other. it’s just doesn’t have any direction to any of it .

    • jay says:

      Because he doesn’t care. He himself won’t talk about what help he got because he probably didn’t get any. He certainly doesn’t sound like someone who’s ever had a therapist.

    • Chrissy says:

      Exactly, the Royals rarely seem to want to get their hands dirty and following through with their initiatives. They just seem to involve themselves in the PR aspects and leave the hands-on work for the plebs.

      • claire says:

        That sums it up. Except for Princess Anne and the late Diana — both demonstrate(d) a genuine desire to roll up their sleeves and “work” and notably, not just when the cameras were rolling.

      • Nic919 says:

        I would include Sophie in that as well. She doesn’t get half the media attention as the others but she is out there doing engagements and racking up decent numbers.

  31. Greta says:

    My first thought and comment on Twitter when I saw this headline was about his position as a BAFTA president and why on earth he wasn’t able to use this opportunity… my guess: too busy dad-dancing instead of showing up multiple times…. He failed to use his position. And that’s just so incredibly dumb! He and wifey are the worst role models ever.

  32. Vi says:

    Doesn’t Heads Together involve Harry too? Why are we blaming it’s ineffectiveness on Kate,William and their laziness,when Harry is even more work shy and lazy than his brother? Talking about personal bias.

    • Natalie S says:

      Because William gave the quote about celebrities not signing on to Heads Together. William also has some choice quotes about how he thinks and acts when it comes to his royal duties. When Harry complains, he also gets mocked.

  33. Rosie says:

    I’m not sure if it was PrincessK or Nota who said that they should forget these big initiatives and concentrate on doing the job of supporting the British Charity sector as they do their good work. I agree with them. The Royals are not really meant to get that involved in too many of the charities. The odd passion project yes like Save the Children for Princess Anne, but quantity is more important than quality. The HT project could work really well, but HT should have taken instruction from the existing mental health charities to see what help they need. The KP press/PR dept seems out of their depth in this area, they don’t seem to have the vocab to put together meaningful speeches or coach W/K/H. I don’t know if the problem is lack of quality in staff or mgmt from the Cam/Sussexes but the department needs an overhaul. Historically there shouldn’t be a third court/press department. I’d make them work as a branch of BP or CH press office so that there is more supervision and control over the quality of their work.

  34. Charfromdarock says:

    Oh Wils.

    He has the world at his disposal, he could access the best media training, the best speech writers, leadership training etc and he could make such a huge impact. Yet, this is what he presents to the world.

    Bell, a corporation, has shown so much more leadership in breaking the stigma on mental health in Canada and in providing funding at the grass roots from coast to coast to coast.

    I volunteer with a small charity and they donated $25,000 last week for a mental health initiative. That is transformative for us and has such a real impact in people’s lives in a very underserviced community.

  35. Shannon Malcom says:

    I’m gonna be in the minority here, which, except for hating Trump, I usually am lol. But I actually like William (and Harry, and Meg, and Kate, the whole lot). I remember him and Harry walking in Diana’s funeral and their faces just broke my heart. I have no doubt that William has some serious pain buried and this seems like a cathartic passion project for him. I’m all for it.

  36. PrincessK says:

    Good for you! I got a card from H&M after I congratulated them on their engagement and beautiful wedding.