Kim Basinger says agoraphobia left her a recluse: ‘I had to learn to drive again'

The actress shared how the anxiety disorder she has suffered from since childhood saw her afraid to leave her home

Actress Kim Basinger has revealed she 'wouldn't leave the house', after her agoraphobia worsened in recent years. WireImage
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Oscar-winning actress Kim Basinger sat down with Jada Pinkett-Smith this week to reveal the agoraphobia which left her housebound for the past few years.

Basinger, 68, appeared on Pinkett-Smith’s award-winning chat show, Red Table Talk, to share her experience of the condition, which she says left her nervous, anxious, and unable to remember how to perform simple tasks.

Kim Basinger, who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in 'LA Confidential', has spoken frankly about the agoraphobia which turned her into a recluse. AFP

“I wouldn’t leave the house. I would no longer go to dinner,” Basinger said. Adding of her experience with the condition, she said that it was “like something just completely shuts down within you and you have to relearn everything.”

Appearing on the show alongside her daughter Ireland, who she shares with ex-husband Alec Baldwin, the LA Confidential actress said she had “a dry mouth all the time” and was “very shaky.”

“You’re just so exhausted all the time,” she said.

What is agoraphobia?

According to the NHS website: “Agoraphobia is a fear of being in situations where escape might be difficult or that help wouldn't be available if things go wrong.”

Revealing that those who suffer from the condition can become afraid of leaving their home or visiting a mall, the website states: "Many people assume agoraphobia is simply a fear of open spaces, but it’s actually a more complex condition. If someone with agoraphobia finds themselves in a stressful situation, they'll usually experience the symptoms of a panic attack.”

‘I had to learn to drive again’

Calling the symptoms of the condition “really horrible”, Basinger revealed that she became nervous of being out in public.

“Everything used to make me nervous, like the glass [sliding] to open the door or ‘Where do I step to open the door?’” she said. “Everything became a big job to figure out how to do it.”

She added: “I had to relearn to drive, and for many years I would not go through the tunnels at Malibu.”

It’s not the first time the star has spoken about the life-changing disorder. In the 2001 HBO documentary Panic, the 8 Mile actress shared insights into how agoraphobia and anxiety have affected her life.

"Fear has been something I’ve lived with my entire life; the fear of being in public places — which led to anxiety or panic attacks,” she said. “I stayed in my house and literally cried every day.”

Here are 5 more stars who have talked about living with agoraphobia…

1. Emma Stone

Actress Emma Stone has discussed the anxiety disorders she suffered as a child and continues to battle. AFP

The Oscar-winning actress has been candid about her struggle with anxiety growing up.

“I had massive anxiety as a child,” she told Glamour. “I was in therapy. From eight to 10, I was borderline agoraphobic. I could not leave my mom's side. I don't really have panic attacks anymore, but I had really bad anxiety.”

2. Brian Wilson

The co-founder of The Beach Boys has suffered from an array of mental health issues, including agoraphobia, which saw him endure bad stage fright and become a recluse for many years.

3. Macaulay Culkin

“I’m a self-diagnosed agoraphobic,” the actor told New York Magazine.

Revealing that becoming famous at such a young age fed into his anxiety, he said: “You get scared of everything out there because they’re all trying to get in here.”

4. Barbra Streisand

The multi-Grammy-winning artist’s issues stemmed from her forgetting the lyrics to one of her songs on stage when she was younger. Internalising the mistake developed into an array of social anxieties, including agoraphobia.

5. Carly Simon

The songwriter has spoken about her battle with the anxiety disorder, which once left her paralysed with fright onstage in front of 10,000 fans.

“I think the whole experience of being in front of people, exposing yourself and your talent, is so unnatural,” she said.

Updated: April 27, 2022, 12:22 PM