We do a monthly feature here on WYG, which many of you know and love (okay, at least we know and love it . . .) that highlights celebrities talking about grief. A couple weeks ago I was thinking we may have skipped December, and when I went back I realized we skipped THREE MONTHS. Three!!! What can I say? Whoops? Sorry to those of you who were counting down the days until our next celebrity “speaking up about grief” post, and you’re welcome that it is finally here.
For those who had no idea this series existed, welcome! Let me give you a little throw back to our very first speaking up about grief post to let you know why we think celebs talking about grief is worth talking about:
I am going to clue you guys in on a little secret: here at WYG we talk about grief and loss. A lot. In the rest of our society? Not so much . . .
Ok, this is not exactly a secret. Death and grief are topics that simply make a lot of people uncomfortable. When I say a lot of people, I mean almost everyone. So we don’t talk about it. Which is just a mean, vicious cycle, because by not talking about it we all become collectively more uncomfortable. You lose someone and you feel isolated, alone, and crazy. You feel like people don’t want you to talk about it, like people want you to get over it, like no one else gets it. Lies lies lies! In real life thousands of people are right there with you, all keeping their big mouths shut because they’re worried about making other people uncomfortable.
Then someone speaks up — someone who people know, who has an audience, who people listen to. They speak up and acknowledge grief. Why? Who knows. Where do they find the courage? No idea. But they do. And it is amazing. Their voice carries. They send the message that grief is normal. It sucks, but it happens. They send the message that suffering in silence and ignoring grief isn’t making us better.
So let’s get going.
Grieving is bad enough, but grieving in the spotlight . . . that I just cannot even imagine. Lea Michele went on Ellen before the holidays and opened up about her grief, what is working for her, and words of wisdom from her mom.
Leave it to Oprah to open up just about anyone to talk about grief and loss. Usually it is on camera, but in this case it was in her magazine. In 2000 she did an incredible interview with Camille Cosby, Bill Cosby’s wife, that looks deeply at the murder of their son and the complicated emotions that followed. This is an incredibly candid interview and worth a read, from beginning to end. If you don’t have time for the whole article, the discussion on the loss of her son starts on page four. Check it out.
Either you know exactly who Luke Bryan is, or you don’t. Don’t feel bad if you are in the latter category, because I was too. But Luke Bryan is a mega-country music star who has been through the devastating and unexpected losses of both his brother and sister. He opens up in this interview, talking about his desire to share his experience so others know they are not alone.
You can check out Luke Bryant’s song about loss, referenced in the interview, here:
Though Ryan Adams has been pretty upfront about his struggles with drug use and sobriety, he has only made brief mention here and there about the impact of grief on his work. But in 2011, after losing the grandmother who raised him, Adams discussed his album “Ashes & Fire” being greatly influenced by the loss of his grandmother. Long before that Adams was writing songs that point to illness and loss, and not in a pretty, Hollywood way. This song is actually off a much earlier album, but certainly speaks to the pain of loss.
Okay, Omarosa is not a celebrity I can say I have known and loved over the years (who has, really?), but one can’t help but appreciate her openness and honesty about the loss of her fiance, Michael Clarke Duncan, and how she is coping.
Want more celebs talking grief? Leave a comment to tell us about your favorite celebrities dealing with grief, and talking about it. And check out all our old posts, with everyone from Chelsea Handler, Joan Didion, Michelle Williams, Carol Burnett, Marie Osmond, Jennifer Hudson, Kelsey Grammer, Stephen Colbert, Katie Couric, and more . . .