Kim Basinger suffered from agoraphobia and had to relearn how to drive

Kim Basinger appeared with her daughter, Ireland Baldwin, on Red Table Talks with Jada Pinkett Smith, Adrienne Banfield-Norris and Willow Smith. Kim discussed her agoraphobia. I didn’t know Kim had agoraphobia. For those who don’t know, agoraphobia “is an anxiety disorder that causes intense fear of becoming overwhelmed or unable to escape or get help.” Everyday tasks we take for granted become overwhelming, like driving. Eventually, Kim had gotten so far away from the life she once lived, she had to relearn how to drive, among other things, to renter the world. Kim said that in the beginning of her struggle, she had not been diagnosed so she had all the symptoms but no idea what was going on, which sounds terrifying.

Kim Basinger is sharing details about her battle with agoraphobia.

The actress, 68, says in a PEOPLE-exclusive first look at her and daughter Ireland Baldwin’s episode of Red Table Talk, out Wednesday, that it was “really horrible” to battle the condition “as fiercely as I did during those years and not know what it was.”

“I wouldn’t leave the house. I would no longer go to dinner,” Basinger says.
“You fear an actual or anticipated situation, such as using public transportation, being in open or enclosed spaces, standing in line, or being in a crowd,” they add.

For Basinger, her experience with agoraphobia was “like something just completely shuts down within you and you have to relearn everything.”

“I had to relearn to drive, and for many years I would not go through the tunnels at Malibu,” the actress explains. “Everything used to make me nervous, like the glass [sliding] to open the door, or, ‘Where do I step to open the door?’ Everything became a big job to figure out how to do it.”

“You live with a dry mouth all the time, you’re very shaky, you’re just so exhausted all the time,” she shares.

[From People]

“Everything used to make me nervous, like the glass [sliding] to open the door, or, ‘Where do I step to open the door?’ Everything became a big job to figure out how to do it.” She was living in her own personal prison. Remember all those years the press speculated why Kim wasn’t making films or what had happened to her career? None of them were kind and now we find out she was dealing with that kind of anxiety. And was she having to do Red Carpets and industry events while grappling with these kinds of fears? I’m sure some studio handler was chewing her out for not ‘smiling more’ as she tried to navigate. Once again, it just goes to show that we never know the battles people are fighting behind closed doors.

This will sound like a joke but it’s not, driving in LA is horrific on its own. I couldn’t imagine having to relearn it with agoraphobia. Those tunnels in Malibu are long and dark and could give a person without anxiety pause. If Kim has been able to reteach herself how to maneuver those, she has done a lot of work. Good for her.

Photo credit: Instagram and Avalon Red

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16 Responses to “Kim Basinger suffered from agoraphobia and had to relearn how to drive”

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  1. Eve says:

    (Thumbnail picture):

    Thought it was Jennifer Grey!!!

  2. Linda says:

    I haven’t liked her since she made some ignorant and disparaging comments about Canada and Canadians. She’s not the brightest bulb in the chandelier.

  3. Julia K says:

    Why are Kim and Ireland being placed front and center right now after years of silence? Is it to deflect interest in Alex’s legal woes?

    • original_kellybean says:

      I doubt Kim would agree to that. I don’t think she and Alec get along too well.

    • Cherry says:

      Alex? You mean Alec, Ireland’s dad? What exactly do you mean by ‘Kim and Ireland being placed front and center’? Just because they appear in this one talkshow? And ‘to deflect interest in Alex’s legal woes’…? Both Kim and her daughter have long since distanced themselves from Alec, haven’t they? Ireland does not even use his last name, I believe. So how would it make sense that they could be ‘used’ to distract from him?

      • Barrett says:

        Kim and Ireland DID NOT say very nice things ab Alec. I thing Alec and Ireland love each other but it is not an easy, I understand you relationship. Says he cant understand, discuss the anxiety.

        And Alec must be distracted w his crazy wife. I am not being sarcastic here Hilaria really has mental illness, narcissism- posing in her bra hugging babies for formal photos. Taking daily photos of outfits in hall mirror for attention as your husband has been involved in murdering a woman in a worker safety incident.

  4. Janice says:

    Wow, I feel for her. Takes guts to admit this, I’ve had some severe anxiety issues and there is a lot of shame around it when it impacts how you show up in life and for your kids. I always loved her acting in glad to see her out and about. Tired of seeing Alec and his brood everywhere

  5. MRowe says:

    I have anxiety/panic disorder and agoraphobia is one of my issues. I have overcome most of my phobias (for now, but they come back!), except for flying and driving in tunnels. Bridges are iffy. Anyway, I get it and feel for Kim. I manage my issues with medication, daily exercise (particularly heavy cardio) and abstaining from alcohol (turns out “hang-xiety” is a REAL thing). Also, Kim has talked about this before. Didn’t she do a documentary about it?

  6. CJW says:

    I have suffered from this for years, I quit driving over 5 years ago, because every time I got behind the wheel an overwhelming sense of fear that something horrible would happen would take over and I would just sit in my car shaking uncontrollably. The pandemic both helped and hindered my experience, it helped because I was able to control my out of the house experiences better, going for private walks etc, hindered because I got so comfortable being alone and isolated, I became comfortable with my feeling instead of addressing them. I am slowly emerging again but it is very hard, and luckily, I have a tremendous support group.

    • Jess says:

      I’m so sorry, CJW, that you’ve had to deal with this. It sounds really difficult and while i have generalized anxiety I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult this condition is. Kudos to you and Kim for all your strength in dealing with this debilitating condition!

  7. Jo says:

    A friend just told me that she had a panic attack once in a tram and since then she can only ride her bike in her town (where luckily this seems to be the main means of transport). She can’t take the plane, ride a car or a train. It’s hellish, she said as you feel trapped in a sedentary life for fear of being trapped in a vehicle.

  8. Kathy Diane kack says:

    I think this was very brave of her. I admire her courage.

  9. Bre says:

    I’ve had bouts of agoraphobia when my anxiety disorder isn’t managed well and it’s terrible. Medication and therapy are great but, for me, I HAD to push through (work through) my fears because I had to go to work and make a living. If I had been rich like Kim when I was dealing with agoraphobia it would have taken longer to overcome it. That whole Hierarchy of needs come in to play a bit.

  10. Ricci says:

    I have it as well. I remember noticing it when I was in grade 4, sports day .I’m 52 in June I still have it, it ruined my life