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Elliot Page talks depression and anxiety before coming out as transgender

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Elliot Page has spoken out about the ‘intense’ depression and anxiety he battled before coming out as transgender, admitting that he constantly wanted to ‘flee’ from his body and would have ‘severe panic attacks’ when he was asked to wear dresses to public events.

Elliot, 35, who came out as a transgender man in December 2020 – 13 years after shooting to global stardom in the hit movie Juno – opened up to Esquire about the ‘never-ending sensation of anxiety and nervousness’ that he felt before his transition, while also detailing the ‘incessant hatred and cruelty’ that he’s had to face since coming out. 

Elliot was propelled into the spotlight after starring as pregnant teen Juno MacGuff in the 2007 flick, which also featured Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, and Jason Bateman.

However, the star has now admitted that acting in the movie and being forced to dress a certain way while promoting it ‘almost killed’ him, stating that he faced numerous moments of ‘wanting to not be here’ because of it.

He admitted that he suffered from ‘intense’ depression and anxiety, and would ‘struggle with food’ – losing so much weight that he ‘collapsed multiple times.’ 

Elliot Page spoke out about the ‘intense’ depression and anxiety he felt before coming out as transgender, admitting he had ‘severe panic attacks’ over wearing dresses to public events

Elliot, 35, came out as a transgender man in December 2020 - 13 years after shooting to global stardom in the hit movie Juno

Elliot, 35, came out as a transgender man in December 2020 – 13 years after shooting to global stardom in the hit movie Juno

Now, he has opened up about the 'never-ending sensation of anxiety and nervousness' that he felt before his transition, while chatting with Esquire for a new interview

Now, he has opened up about the ‘never-ending sensation of anxiety and nervousness’ that he felt before his transition, while chatting with Esquire for a new interview

‘When Juno was at the height of its popularity, during awards-season time, I was closeted, dressed in heels and the whole look – I wasn’t OK, and I didn’t know how to talk about that with anyone,’ he told the outlet. 

‘I wish people would understand that that s**t literally did almost kill me. In my early to mid-20s, I didn’t know how to tell people how unwell I was. I would berate myself for it.

‘I was living the life and my dreams were coming true, and all that was happening. I struggled with food, intense depression, anxiety, and severe panic attacks.

‘Can I relate to the suicide problem among trans people? Yeah, I can relate deeply. And not only to the very conscious, direct act of doing it but also certain times when I lost so much weight or when I was having such severe panic attacks and collapsed multiple times – all these things that very easily could, and statistically do, lead to death. 

‘There were moments of wanting to not be here… I would look out the window of my apartment and think, “With everything going on right now and how incredible it all is, this is how I feel? And I’m 22?” It was like, I don’t know if I could do it.’

Elliot recalled one specific incident, when he was told by production company Fox Searchlight that he had to wear a dress to the Los Angeles premiere of Juno, despite him asking to sport a suit instead.

The movie star added that various people have since apologized to him for forcing him to wear something girly, stating that they ‘didn’t know’ he was transgender at the time – but he said they shouldn’t have dictated the clothes he wore, regardless of his sexuality, and called it ‘extremely f**ked up’ and ‘gross.’

The movie – which won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and earned three other nominations, including Best Actress for Elliot – launched a major career for Elliot, and he went on to land roles in big flicks and TV shows like The Umbrella Academy, Inception, Flatliners, and X-Men.

He recalled being told by Fox Searchlight that he had to wear a dress to the Los Angeles premiere of the movie (pictured), which he called 'extremely f**ked up' and 'gross'

He recalled being told by Fox Searchlight that he had to wear a dress to the Los Angeles premiere of the movie (pictured), which he called ‘extremely f**ked up’ and ‘gross’

The star admitted that starring in the flick as pregnant teen Juno MacGuff and being forced to dress a certain way 'almost killed' him. He is pictured in the movie

The star admitted that starring in the flick as pregnant teen Juno MacGuff and being forced to dress a certain way ‘almost killed’ him. He is pictured in the movie

He admitted that he 'struggled with food' and lost so much weight that he 'collapsed multiple times.' He is pictured in 2008 before his transition

Elliot (pictured in 2022 after his transition) said, '[There were] certain times when I lost so much weight or when I was having such severe panic attacks and collapsed multiple times'

He admitted that he ‘struggled with food’ and lost so much weight that he ‘collapsed multiple times.’ He is pictured left in 2008 before his transition and right in 2022 after the transition

Elliot (pictured in 2007, before his transition) said his anxiety got so severe that there were times he couldn't even leave his house without 'turning around' minutes later

Elliot (pictured in 2007, before his transition) said his anxiety got so severe that there were times he couldn’t even leave his house without ‘turning around’ minutes later

However, Elliot said that during the height of his fame, his anxiety got so severe that there were times he couldn’t even leave his house, explaining that he’d go out and ‘turn around’ minutes later.

Elliot called coming out to the world and finally getting to be his true self 'indescribable,' adding that he 'never imagined' he'd feel this way. He is pictured in 2021, after his transition

Elliot called coming out to the world and finally getting to be his true self ‘indescribable,’ adding that he ‘never imagined’ he’d feel this way. He is pictured in 2021, after his transition

He explained that it felt like he ‘couldn’t function,’ and that it even effected his work, since he ‘couldn’t read’ or ‘get through a script’ without panicking.

But he called coming out to the world and finally getting to be his true self ‘indescribable,’ adding that he ‘never imagined’ he’d feel this way.

‘I know I look different to others, but to me I’m just starting to look like myself. It’s indescribable,’ he gushed.

‘The greatest joy is just being able to feel present, literally, just to be present. To go out in a group of new people and be able to engage in a way where I didn’t feel this constant sensation to flee from my body, this never-ending sensation of anxiety and nervousness and wanting out.

‘I thought it was impossible how I’m able to feel now … I could not picture myself as a woman aging. 

‘Obviously. It was just like, what is my future? There’s not a future. That’s kind of what it felt like. I would say, verbatim: I’ve never been a girl. I’ll never be a woman.’

However, the award winning actor admitted that he is still faced with ‘incessant hatred and cruelty’ regularly online and in person.

However, the award winning actor (pictured in January) admitted that he is still faced with 'incessant hatred and cruelty' on a regular basis

However, the award winning actor (pictured in January) admitted that he is still faced with ‘incessant hatred and cruelty’ on a regular basis

He remembered one time when a 'really big dude' started screaming at him and calling him a 'f****t' while he was trying to cross the street. He is pictured in December 2020

He remembered one time when a ‘really big dude’ started screaming at him and calling him a ‘f****t’ while he was trying to cross the street. He is pictured in December 2020

He said transphobia is ‘so extreme,’ as he remembered one time when a ‘really big dude’ started screaming at him and calling him a ‘f****t’ while he was trying to cross the street.

Out of fear that the man would retaliate, Elliot said he didn’t respond and ‘stood completely still, staring straight ahead’ as the man yelled, ‘You f****t! Don’t look at me! You f****t, f****t!’

The man told him, ‘I’m gonna kill you, you f**king f****t! I’m gonna kill you, you f**king f****t! I’m gonna gay-bash you. This is why I need a gun.’ He eventually ran into a convenience store for safety. 

As a kid, Elliot – who grew up in Nova Scotia – was bullied by his classmates, which he said had a long lasting effect on his mental health.

He admitted that getting ‘teased, made fun of, and called names on a daily basis’ often got in his head, especially since he was ‘already feeling so much shame.’

He added that the bullies left ‘a while bunch of s**t’ that he had to ‘dig through and unlearn’ in his adult life.

As a kid, Elliot - who grew up in Nova Scotia - was bullied by his classmates, which he said had a long lasting effect on his mental health. He is pictured as a child

As a kid, Elliot – who grew up in Nova Scotia – was bullied by his classmates, which he said had a long lasting effect on his mental health. He is pictured as a child

Elliot (pictured as a kid) admitted that getting 'teased, made fun of, and called names on a daily basis' often got in his head, especially since he was 'already feeling so much shame'

He added that the bullies left 'a while bunch of s**t' that he had to 'dig through and unlearn' in his adult life. He is pictured as a kid

Elliot (pictured as a kid) admitted that getting ‘teased, made fun of, and called names on a daily basis’ often got in his head, especially since he was ‘already feeling so much shame’ 

When he came out to his parents, he said his mother, Martha – who was a minister’s daughter – took a while to come around, explaining that she ‘definitely didn’t want him to be queer.’

It wasn’t until he was in his 20s that she truly accepted him, which he called a ‘challenge,’ but now, their relationship is stronger than ever. 

‘I love her so much, and I totally understand, and forgive. I have a mother who loves me, and not everybody has that,’ he added.

Now, the Juno star is excited for his future, but he hasn’t forgiven everyone who hurt him in his past.

‘There are a couple people I don’t forgive,’ he admitted. ‘I don’t know what this thing is about always having to forgive. 

‘I don’t wish them harm, but I shouldn’t feel obligated or forced to forgive them.  Maybe at some point, but there are a couple people I don’t [forgive], and I don’t feel bad about it. And there are other people who, absolutely, of course.’ 

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