JoJo is saying get out to the substance abuse issues that plagued her family for years.
The Too Little Too Late singer opened up about her family’s struggle with addiction and her own mental health journey in a new interview with People, revealing she’s been going to therapy and taking antidepressants since she was 18.
The 29-year-old, who was diagnosed with clinical depression, or major depressive disorder, 10 years ago, told the outlet:
“Because there is a history of mental health issues in my family, I didn’t feel any shame seeking help. Those of us who have a predisposition toward depression or a chemical imbalance — sometimes we just need a little help.”
As fans know, JoJo rose to fame at the young age of 13 with her smash hit single Leave (Get Out). Although she was “living [her] dream” as a pop star, she struggled to fight dark emotions behind the scenes as she watched her father struggle with opioid addiction.
Things got worse in 2009 when she wasn’t able to release music due to a dispute over her contract with her record label. To escape from the turmoil, the performer turned to alcohol — and started drinking to the point of blackouts at 18 years old.
“I was feeling overwhelmed and found myself wanting to get out of my mind because I was so scared and so sad.”
Two years later, JoJo remembered realizing that it was time for a change. She said:
“At the end of the day I am a product of a family with substance-abuse issues. When I woke up and didn’t know how I got home, I was like, ‘This is not okay.’”
The starlet was eventually diagnosed with depression, which inspired her to better manage her mental health through therapy, medication, exercise, yoga, and journaling. She explained:
“I looked at what I could control as opposed to what was out of my control. What was out of my control was I never knew what I was going to get from my father, if he was going to OD again; if my record label was going to let me out of my deal, or if I was ever going to legally be able to own my own voice again.”
JoJo reclaimed her voice in 2013 when she reached a settlement with her former label. Unfortunately, the brunette experienced another personal tragedy two years later when her father, Joel Maurice Levesque, died of complications from his addiction at the age of 60.
The signer paid tribute to Joel on her 2016 LP Mad Love, her first album in a decade, and she vowed to not let addiction take her life as it did his.
She told the publication:
“When I was younger, my dad came to pick me up from my mom’s place. He was slurring his words, and I was scared to get in the car with him. He was like, ‘Just you wait. Addiction is like Arnold Schwarzenegger pumping iron in your backyard just waiting for you.’ I remember telling him, ‘I don’t accept that as my fate. I don’t accept that just because this is in my DNA that this has to be my future.’ I’ll never forget that.”
These days, JoJo’s in a much better place. She doesn’t abstain from drinking, but now has a “different” relationship with alcohol, explaining:
“I don’t drink to escape.”
She’s also keeping her mental health in check, and even used her mental health journey as an influence on her new album, Good to Know, out Friday. Going forward, the star won’t let the opinions of others influence her self-worth. She said:
“I’m really excited for [turning] 30, because I hear it gets better. My 20s were just about seeking approval. Now if I approve of myself, that’s all I need. That confidence really reverberates. It’s very powerful.”
Love it! Stay in charge, gurl!
[Image via Adriana M. Barraza/WENN]