Billie Eilish, 17, still sees her pediatrician & she’s afraid of what’s under her bed

Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, and Bobby Cannavale might not be gangsters in real life, but they're bosses in their movie set!

I feel like I just got a contact high from Billie Eilish’s Rolling Stone cover story, and the weird part is that Billie is completely clean and sober. It’s just that she lives in her own little world and that world is a bubble her parents built to protect her. She’s fragile yet tough, she struggles but triumphs, and finds success without even trying. She’s completely herself, yet she’s still figuring sh-t out. I don’t know how to explain it. I like Billie because she’s the kind of person I would have admired when I was young: marching to the beat of her own drummer, sort of performatively weird but authentically weird too. Billie is only 17 and she’s already got gobs of money and success and her parents still do A LOT for her. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

She’s so Gen Z: “I’m never gonna be 27 — that’s too old.” She’s also probably the only pop star who still sees a pediatrician. (“It’s weird,” says her mom. “There’s a waiting room full of four-year-olds, and then there’s Billie Eilish.”)

Her fears: Eilish has always been afraid of things: the ocean and deep water; dark places like her closet or the garage at night. To this day, she stills jumps the last few feet into bed in case there’s a monster underneath waiting to grab her. But ever since her career took off, her nightmares have gotten way more intense. “I actually had to stop watching horror movies, because everything started flipping me out,” she says. “I saw creatures outside my windows. I had sleep paralysis. I’m done with the fake sh-t — real life is way too scary.

On fame: “I’ve loved attention my whole life, but I don’t think anyone knows what fame actually is. Because if I did want to be famous — it wasn’t this kind.”

Her childhood: Eilish was a sensitive kid with severe separation anxiety. She slept in her parents’ bed until she was 10; her dad says until she was 12, one of them was with her literally around the clock. Maggie and Patrick were “mostly unemployed” actors (his words) who put their careers on hold to home-school the kids. They had no formal curriculum: Instead, they let Eilish and Finneas explore whatever interested them that day or week — art classes; museums; science programs at Cal Tech. “Our whole stance was, general knowledge is all,” Patrick says. “You need to know why the sky is blue, but you don’t need to memorize a bunch of esoterica you’ll never use.” (Eilish passed her high school equivalency exam and graduated at 15.)

Her label tried to get her to work with songwriters & big producers: “I hated it so much. It was always these 50-year-old men who’d written these ‘big hit songs!’ and then they’re horrible at it. I’m like, ‘You did this a hundred years ago. Ugh.’ No one listened to me, because I was 14 and a girl. And we made ‘Ocean Eyes’ without anyone involved — so why are we doing this?”

On depression & body image: “I haven’t been depressed in a minute, which is great. Seventeen has probably been the best year of my life. I’ve liked 17. Sometimes I see girls at my shows with scars on their arms, and it breaks my heart. I don’t have scars anymore because it was so long ago. But I’ve said to a couple of them, ‘Just be nice to yourself.’ Because I know. I was there.”

[From Rolling Stone]

She sounds like A LOT, right? And her parents are either saints or geniuses or… something else. No, they clearly adore their kids and they’re trying to figure out the best way to still “parent” Billie, who clearly still needs that kind of parental involvement. But at times, it does feel like her parents are acting as her full-time assistants. That will probably change as she gets older though, but for now, that’s what makes her feel safe, which I can understand. The home-schooling thing though… I feel like that made Billie very dependent on her parents at a young age. I don’t know. But she’s A LOT.

Photo and cover courtesy of Rolling Stone.

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68 Responses to “Billie Eilish, 17, still sees her pediatrician & she’s afraid of what’s under her bed”

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  1. Eliza says:

    So i just found out nowadays you’re with your pediatrician, in my neck of the woods, until you’re 21. I switched at 15, but even my GP said I was the youngest she’s taken. When I take my daughter for well visits it’s always weird to see my 1 year old, waiting next to a high school/ college student.

    As for the rest, you can’t fault a parent for trying to support their kid. But part of parenting is helping them gain independence. Maybe she isn’t emotional/ mentally ready for it, but I hope she’s able to stand on her own two feet securely as she becomes an adult.

    • Ainsley7 says:

      I wasn’t quite as bad as Billie when I was a young, but I definitely relate to her. Unless there is a lot being left out about why she is the way she is, she won’t gain that independence unless something changes. Her parents clearly love her and want what is best for her. However, they seem to be reinforcing her anxiety. By letting her sleep in their bed for 10 years, for example, they were sending the message that her fears about separation/monsters were based in reality when they obviously weren’t. It’s difficult to know what to do as a parent because you want to help your kid, but sometimes that help does more harm than good. If the only thing wrong is serious anxiety then they should really be looking into a cognitive behavioral therapist and try something like exposure therapy. It’s hard work, but it’s better than being afraid all the time.

    • Liz says:

      Our pediatrician’s office sees kids until they are 21 or as long as they need college housing forms. It makes a certain amount of sense – they are the ones with all the immunization records that the schools want – if they switch to a GP when they turn 18, you still need to go back to the pediatrician for most of their medical records anyway. The pediatrician’s offices will refer out as needed. Mine saw their pediatric orthopedist for a long time, but was referred out to an adult sports medicine specialist as soon as she stopped growing.

      Mine is 15 and only shares a bed with me (with a lot of complaining) when we are in a hotel room with only one bed. She’s a serious athlete with a heavy travel schedule – there are days that by the time we get to the hotel, there are no rooms with two beds left (despite our having reserved one). I may hate it more than she does – she’s a restless sleeper and I don’t like getting kicked.

      Teenagers in general are emotional and can be A LOT to handle. It’s just part of the drill with wildly raging hormones. Then add a public spotlight and it just gets worse. Home schooling doesn’t help at all – teenagers need regular interaction with other kids their own age and with adults in authority who are not their parents.

    • Aven Sharp says:

      Unless you have parented a child with clinical anxiety and self-harm tendencies, I would perhaps be less opinionated about how her parents are raising her. Childhood mental illness is no joke and trying to teach your child to toughen up only makes things worse. 17 is still a child, and I am glad her parents aren’t pushing her out of the nest yet. When she is ready to fly, she will let them know.

      • Allie says:

        What happens when she turns 18? Will she be an adult all of a sudden? 17-year olds are not children anymore, they are adolescents.

      • Rosie says:

        Agree, Aven Sharp! I read the article. 15 yrs ago I would have been like “right on!” with Allies’ comment until I had my own children. Both have developmental problems. One suffers from severe anxiety and depression and unfortunately we have already had a brush with self-harm. You have to make your peace at some point that your kid will need long-term supervision and guidance. What you want or used to believe was “best” for children become laughably irrelevant. The only thing that makes it worse is the judgmental comments from other parents, so people: please, PLEASE be kind to other parents. You don’t know what it’s like until you’ve been there. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Billie clearly needs extra support due to her fragile psychological state.

      • Noni says:

        ++++1 Thank you. It is difficult and heartbreaking, and this kind of uninformed ‘toughen up your snowflake child and quit being a snow plough parent’ judgement makes it worse.

      • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

        Yes to both Aven Sharp and Rosie!

      • Mami says:

        I’m not sure i find the characterization of the prior comments fair. Much recent research and clinical practice suggests cbt and monitored exposure therapy depending on the kid and stage of anxiety. Dealing with this now myself, with a kid exhibiting avoidance. Not all children with anxiety should or will need life long care; most need life long skills for managing it.

  2. Cidy says:

    Still in the parents bed at 12!? I’m trying to kick a 2 year old out right now.

    Also you can see your pediatrician until you’re 21. When I worked at a local pediatricians office and we saw people who were like 18-19.

  3. Diana says:

    I could not be friends with a person like this. You nailed it Kaiser, she is A LOT. High maintenance people- especially emotionally high maintenance people make me run for the hills.

  4. Kealeen says:

    I cried when I aged out of seeing my pediatrician; he was by far the best doctor I’ve ever had, and correctly diagnosed and effectively treated so many medical issues I had growing up, including depression and anxiety. Often times with a pediatrician, it’s not just the direct care, it’s also the incredibly informed referrals they give to specialists when necessary.

    P.S. Most 17 year-olds are “A LOT.”

    • TQB says:

      If you think about it, if you’ve seen the same pediatrician since childhood, that’s potentially 21 years of continuous care. That person KNOWS you, your life, s/he has seen you change and can observe so much. To replicate that with a new doctor would take another 21 years, and even then, they don’t know what your parents were like, what your upbringing did to or for you. I love my doctor now (she’s actually an NP) and feel like she knows me pretty well, but i’ve only been seeing her for 7 years. And that’s the longest medical relationship i’ve had since my pediatrician, who I saw for 18.

      Also, co-sign the 17 year olds.

  5. ReginaGeorge says:

    My daughter can technically see her pediatric specialist (she has an auto immune disease) until she’s 21. Even though at around 18 they start preparing them for transitions. Which is good because she trusts her and has been seeing her since she was like 10 and she’s very good with her. I find it funny though because if she wants to see a Gyn without my knowledge and completely on her own, she totally can.

  6. ichsi says:

    Oh my god I never realised she’s only 17… her songs came up on Spotify and I enjoyed them, but I didn’t know she was a child, thought she was 22 or something. Man I’m getting old.

    • Fleur says:

      I also didn’t realize how young she was when I heard “bad guy” on pandora. Then I looked up an interview with her on youtube and realized she’s a total child, which means I have zero interest in her music. I don’t want to listen to music of a kid singing in the voice of an adult. I’d rather listen to lana del ray whose work has complexity, experience, intelligence and emotional maturity that surpasses whatever billie and her brother come up with . I’m very disturbed by how the music industry is pushing this kid into the media spotlight, rolling stone cover included. She’s a kid and is making work that people older than her (Lana. Lords, Fiona apple among others) have already made, and made better. Call me a grouch but I have watched too many starlets ripped apart by the entertainment industry, and if you watch an interview with billie it’s very clear that she has anxiety issues to begin with, lacks emotional maturity and is still very much a child. I can’t support her presence in pop culture.

      • Algernon says:

        Lorde was 16 when Royals became a hit. Fiona Apple was 17 when she wrote her first album, and it was released when she was 19.

        It’s cool if Billie’s music doesn’t appeal to you but a lot of great music gets written by teenagers.

      • TQB says:

        Yeah, I’m not going to call you a grouch so much as completely confused. Those people are older than her NOW, but not when they started.

      • Godwina says:

        And then there’s Kate Bush, who put out The Kick Inside as a late teen. She STILL had more depth then than most of us have at 40…

        (And she wrote her own songs.)

        There are Mary Shelleys among us. I have no clue who this Billie person is and don’t know her music, but I’d check her out before I threw her down. I think your concerns about teens being exploited by the music industry stand, though! Hopefully her helicopter parents keep a close watch on that as well.

  7. Risa says:

    I guess I was kind of lucky that the doctor who delivered me was a family doctor and saw me until I was 26 years old (I moved and he wasn’t close enough anymore). I am pretty sure he is still my moms doctor now. Really great and caring guy.

  8. minx says:

    My daughter is in college and still sees the pediatrician when she’s home and sick or needs a vaccine or whatever.

  9. Mab's A'Mabbin says:

    “She’s fragile yet tough, she struggles but triumphs, and finds success without even trying. She’s completely herself, yet she’s still figuring sh-t out.”

    She’s an Alanis Morissette song.

    • (TheOG)@Jan90067 says:

      LOL OMG.. that’s IT!! I couldn’t put my finger on that nagging thought that it reminded me of a song!!

  10. Kristen says:

    I really like her. I hope she has an easy go of it, because that childhood sounds like the kind that might cause an adult child to go far in the other direction when they get some freedom, experiment a lot, etc., which could end badly.

  11. Erinn says:

    “Eilish has always been afraid of things: the ocean and deep water; dark places like her closet or the garage at night. To this day, she stills jumps the last few feet into bed in case there’s a monster underneath waiting to grab her.”

    LOL. I’ve been there. I’m 29, and if I watch something creepy enough I’ll hop into bed. Same with taking the dog out at night – I’ll book it up the porch steps. But I also have a dog who ditched me when she heard a noise in the shed one night (more than likely a squirrel) but that b-tch had bolted for the door before I even had a chance to react ahaha. She’s a 43lb chicken. My own imagination is my worst enemy.

    • TQB says:

      Dude my garage IS scary at night!!

      My kid recently decided he’s scared of the ocean. HELLO, we live in New england and people keep getting bitten by sharks. These aren’t fears, they are the natural human instincts that have kept people alive for all these years. You don’t get to be the dominant species by traipsing around my garage at night.

      • Erinn says:

        YES. I live in Nova Scotia – and my husband is somewhat freaked out by open water haha. But he’ll still happily go to the beach and get his feet wet – he just needs to feel like he’s in shore far enough that a shark won’t be able to get to him without beaching its self. Sharks don’t really freak me out. Lakes bother me more because I can’t see – and when they’re murky and a fish bumps you, it’s a gross, instinctual horrified feeling.

        I agree though – these are at least helpful enough fears that have kept the species going. I maintain that my ADD would have been SUPER useful because I’m always distracted by any kind of motion – I’ll spot a deer on the shoulder of the road well before my husband ever does – which would be great if I was being stalked by a predator.

        But ultimately – I’m wayyyyy more afraid of a human being lurking around in a dark place than I am of any animal. I read/watch/listen to WAY too many true crime things to not be a little spooked.

      • Godwina says:

        Don’t tell hubs that sharks can attack in 2-3 feet of water! 😛

  12. T.Fanty says:

    She sounds like a teenager – a bit of a melodramatic one, but she sounds like a lot of my students. I hope she is able to grow past this and won’t be too indulged because she is famous. I always think about that George Clooney quote about fame freezing you at the age it finds you. This is fine as a phase, but it’ll get really old once she hits her twenties.

  13. Valiantly Varnished says:

    Im a huge Billie fan. I tried to get tickets to her show here in Chicago in June and they were sold out. I was so bummed. Billie actually sounds like a typical Pisces teenage girl to me. Super sensitive, prone to depression and anxiety but also incredibly keyed in to her own feelings and other people’s as well. And frankly I’m GLAD her parents are still so involved. This amount of fame at such a young age can destroy people. We have seen that time and again. And most of those people’s parents handed their kids off to manager and handlers. Her brother is her writing partner and tours with her. Her Mom tours with her. I think it’s brilliant and I think it will hopefully insulate Billie a bit from sycophants and parasites

  14. Penn says:

    Who is this?? Am I supposed to know this name?

    • Monicack says:

      In the time it took you to leave this comment you could have googled her.

    • Valiantly Varnished says:

      Wow. Such an edgy and original comment…

    • megs283 says:

      Penn, I was thinking the same thing, and then I listened to some of her songs. They’re captivating.

    • A.Key says:

      I’ve never heard of her either. I clicked on the article hoping to find out who this person is.
      She sounds annoying as hell and actually I can’t be bothered to find out who she is.
      Seriously, the internet has enabled too many undeserving people to become famous.

      • Ginnygingin says:

        @A.key you really can’t say she’s undeserving when you haven’t even listened to her work.

  15. Lightpurple says:

    I couldn’t identify one of her songs if doing so would win me a million dollars but I took my 14 year old niece to see her in concert a month ago for her birthday. I was greatly impressed with her performance. Although the audience was 90% teenage girls, this was not the performance of an unprofessional teenager or a kiddie show. She has real talent.

    • Valiantly Varnished says:

      I’m a 39 year old woman who adores her music. She is INSANELY talented and her music is far beyond her years.

      • Algernon says:

        I was shocked to learn she was a teenager! I heard her music and assumed she would have a story like Jewel, knocking around playing clubs for years, before getting a break. Between her and Lorde, I wonder how many musicians from earlier eras would have broken through earlier if they could just upload their music to the cloud in ten seconds from their bedrooms.

      • Hey says:

        I completely agree. She really is an artist, she has such an amount of talent and charisma – and such a great music, of course!

  16. Case says:

    I think it has to be good that her parents are so protective of her in this instance. Hollywood is an awful place for children who hit it big. If she has adults looking out for her, maybe she’ll be less likely to go off the deep end.

    I saw my pediatrician until some time during college and transitioned to my GP.

  17. Brunswickstoval says:

    My kids adore her. She makes beautiful music and I’d rather my girls watch and follow her than a Kardashian. She’s relatable and doesn’t pretend to have her shit together. I mean who does at 17? And I like that she likes to wear baggy clothes so no one can comment on her weight. It’s refreshing.

  18. ShazBot says:

    Yikes, I didn’t know she was 17. Maybe I’m too old and prude, but she’s a teen singing about liking it rough, and Rolling Stone is talking about how she’s so childlike? Can we not?

    • Meeee says:

      Britney and Christina did the same thing years ago…that’s nothing new. Billie has said in interviews that her songs are about characters, completely different from herself.

    • TQB says:

      As terrifying as it may be for parents, 17 year olds are into some intense shit. I look at my kids and wish it weren’t true, but I remember what I was up to at 17. You wouldn’t much like that song either.

  19. Lucy says:

    It’s crazy to think that she’s only 17 (only a year than Lorde was when she became famous, but still). Good to know her parents and brother are around. She’s super talented. I’m rooting for her.

  20. Caseymams says:

    I wish I could still see my pediatrician! He was the best doctor and truly knew me because he treated me since birth. I saw him at my school last year (he was advocating for a patient who happened to be my student!) and I could have died with joy at interacting with him again.

    Also Billie’s music is awesome. I became addicted this summer and I too was shocked to learn her age. But she is unique and talented, not going to knock her for being 17 and feeling and doing 17 year old stuff.

  21. pantanlones en fuego says:

    I’m 45 and I love her music. Thom Yorke (Radiohead, for those who don’t know) supposedly approached her and told her that “she is the only person do anything f*cking interesting right now”.

    • TQB says:

      lol, including himself ;).

    • ClaraBelle says:

      I agree. I’m 72 and was blown away first time I heard her music. She’s a true phenom.

      I sent a link of one of her songs to my 34 yr old daughter, who responded “wtf”. Not sure what she meant by that, but I knew she’d be BIG, deservedly.

    • Godwina says:

      Wow, it amazes me that some musicians know so little about the VAST experimental landscape of music happening right now. I saw, in the space of 3 months, 4 incredible, experimental, creative, astonishing and gorgeous acts in one tiny cafe in a small German city (acts from Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Italy). It’s like they’re not even trying. Move off the big record labels and discover a world!

      Yorke’s comment reminds me of all the US film reviewers who make Year’s Best Films list that are 95% American/UK. I cry equal tears of scorn and pain each time.

  22. HelloSunshine says:

    I’m not personally a fan of her music but I do think she’s talented and have only heard good things about her live performances. She definitely gives me “I’m an edgy teenager” vibes but she’s 17 so I think it’s appropriate lol

  23. Suz says:

    I went to a pediatrician office until I was 17 until some burnt out b—ch who was on shift that day very bitchily told me “You know you’re really too old to be seeing a pediatrician.” She proceeded to huff and puff that I had too much wax in my ears and very painfully scraped it out while dramatically sighing. Nice pediatrician.

  24. Amelie says:

    I stayed with my pediatrician until graduating from college. When I was about to finish high school (2006) my pediatrician’s office said they were letting college students stay on until they graduated. It doesn’t make much sense switching right before you go to college anyways to see a doctor you won’t see much to begin with since you are away most of the year at school. Better to stick with an office that already knows your history! My pediatrician was finding that college students kept calling his office asking for advice so he decided to keep them on. So this is not weird. Though since my pediatrician, I haven’t stuck with a general practitioner and mostly go to urgent care when I’m sick.

    As for Billie, I’m not familiar with her music but I occasionally slept in my parents’ bed around her age if I had a nightmare (this wasn’t super common and I can’t remember around what age exactly I stopped but I did stop sometime before high school). My dad would go and sleep in my bed so I could share the bed with mom. I was a super anxious kid (that hasn’t changed and I’m just as anxious as an adult) and a bit sheltered but I internalized a lot of my anxiety and depression so not a lot of people knew beyond my family. I don’t like change or the unfamiliar and nothing my parents could have done would have changed that. I dunno, I understand Billie because I hated high school and spent a year very depressed. I just didn’t do interviews on a world stage. It just sounds like she needs professional help and to say she “is a LOT” is unkind to an anxious teenager.

    I just read an article about a Kennedy granddaughter who ODed and who was open about her mental health struggles in high school when she wrote a story for her school paper about her mental health battles. To trivialize something like what Billie has endured by saying she “is a lot” does her a disservice. Yes she is an angsty teen but it’s clear there are also mental health struggles there as well.

  25. lucy2 says:

    I just started seeing her name (I’m old and don’t follow much new music), and just listened to some of her songs- I like them. She has a unique sound, and her work is very different than a lot of stuff out there.
    This interview has a me a little worried how she’ll handle intense fame, but I hope she thrives.

  26. M.A.F. says:

    “I’m never gonna be 27 — that’s too old.”

    What an odd and alarming comment to make. Is she expecting to be a part of the 27 club that some musicians find themselves in? I understand she is a teenager and “being edgy” is a teenager POV but that comment shouldn’t be glossed over.

  27. prettypersuasion says:

    The Britney Spears of 2019! Would love to see a critical analysis of their age 17 Rolling Stone covers.

  28. Omelette says:

    I’ll cut anyone who’s still a teenager some slack for being “a lot” because man, aren’t we all at that age in one way or another. But RS shilling the “triumph of the weird” with a cover that’s basically an ad for Chanel makes me roll my eyes out of my sockets.

  29. laura-j says:

    Good reminder that 17 is still just 17 no matter who you are. Still a kid in a lot of ways, and I love that she is still being a kid.

  30. Lea says:

    She seems like a typical teenager. I don’t really like her music nor the attitude but I suppose it’s something new.
    About the pediatrician – where I live people bring their newborns to the pediatrician and unless the child has medical issues they switch to the GP quite soon. You don’t see many children older than 3 in the pediatrician’s waiting room here, because as it is more expensive than seeing a GP it’s considered as posh.

  31. Trashaddict says:

    The love for pediatricians makes me happy. As for the rest of it, I’m going to go throw up now.

  32. Godwina says:

    Kaiser, thanks for introducing me to this artist. I love “weird” pop and this is as good as Kelis. Purchased!

    (This 40-something would totally go to a BE concert, teens be damned.)

  33. Naddie says:

    Very try-hard, but I was a fan of Avril Lavigne and Evanescence when I was 17, so there we go.
    I don’t doubt her issues, but I do think there’s a lot of marketing in the weird girl persona as it seems contrived, like Lana del Rey’s
    “vintage mysterious diva” manner. I heard one song of her and I liked, so maybe we have a good pop singer to distinguish among the Ariannas, Demis, Camillas and Selenas.