LeAnn Rimes

LeAnn Rimes Opens Up About Her Depression and Anxiety: ‘Taking Away the Shame Is So Important’

Leann Rimes

Nearly eight years since she underwent 30 days in a mental health facility to face her depression and anxiety, LeAnn Rimes is opening about her lifelong struggle with the disorders — and how she finally found peace.

“At first I didn’t want to face my pain, because I thought I would get lost in it,” Rimes, 37, tells PEOPLE as part of PEOPLE’s Let’s Talk About It mental health initiative. “But I didn’t. People are so ashamed to talk about it and ask for help. But taking away the shame is so important.”

As a child superstar (she had two Grammys by the age of 14), LeAnn Rimes had plenty of fame and success. But behind the scenes, the singer was already struggling.

“There was so much emptiness and sadness amidst joy,” says the star, who is wed to actor Eddie Cibrian, 46. “And I had to be LeAnn Rimes, the entity, not LeAnn Rimes, the person. I was very fragmented.”

As she got older, dealing with her parent’s acrimonious divorce and then a lawsuit with her father, Wilbur, only intensified Rimes’ private pain. Then, after a “painful” divorce from Dean Sheremet in 2010, amidst her exceedingly public affair with Cibrian, it reached a breaking point.

“There was something in the press every week that was just so fabricated,” says Rimes, of being attacked following news of her relationship with Cibrian. “Obviously there are mistakes that I take great responsibility for. But my whole life I had cared what everyone thought of me. So the public shaming was a deep thing that I took on.”

Read the full story on PEOPLE.com.

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