Kendra Wilkinson Opens Up About Severe Mental Health Challenges

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Kendra Wilkinson, the former reality star known for her role in “Girls Next Door,” recently revealed the depth of her mental health struggles in an exclusive interview with PEOPLE. Wilkinson, who shot to fame two decades ago, shared her harrowing experience of hitting rock bottom, battling depression, and facing psychosis. This marks her first interview since being hospitalized due to a panic attack in September.

The 38-year-old star disclosed that her mental health crisis was compounded by her time in the Playboy mansion, where she first gained fame. Wilkinson expressed the difficulty of revisiting her twenties, emphasizing the need to confront past demons. She attributed much of her current trauma to the controversial Playboy world and her painful 2019 divorce from former NFL player Hank Baskett.

Wilkinson’s struggles escalated to the point where she felt like she was dying of depression. In the weeks leading up to her hospitalization, she experienced sleep deprivation, loss of appetite, and overwhelming feelings of isolation. Despite being a single mother of two, she felt a sense of loneliness, having distanced herself from friends and family.

The former playmate, who has previously spoken about her teenage experiences in a psychiatric facility, admitted to reaching out for help during her lowest point. Her ex-husband, Hank Baskett, played a crucial role in supporting her through this challenging period.

Following her hospitalization, Wilkinson engaged in outpatient therapy three times a week at UCLA. She was prescribed antipsychotic medication, Abilify, to help manage her mental health. Wilkinson candidly expressed how her Playboy past had a profound impact on her life, stating, “Playboy really messed my whole life up.”

Wilkinson’s journey also involves navigating the aftermath of her divorce and the challenges of co-parenting with Baskett. Reflecting on the impact of her marriage being in the public eye, she acknowledged that they never truly got to know each other amid the cameras.

The reality star’s struggles extend beyond her personal life, as her attempt to establish a career in real estate faced setbacks, with her show “Kendra Sells Hollywood” not being renewed after two seasons. Despite these challenges, Wilkinson is determined to rebuild her life and reshape her image.

In the interview, Wilkinson admitted to feeling regret and self-loathing for choices she made at a young age. Her experiences in the Playboy mansion led her to question her self-worth, and she grappled with the sexualization she endured. Now, as a mother, Wilkinson is committed to providing a different upbringing for her children and breaking the cycle of self-destructive patterns.

Wilkinson’s openness about her mental health journey aims to destigmatize depression. She acknowledges that depression is a lifelong companion but stresses the importance of therapy in building tools to navigate its challenges. With a renewed sense of self and a commitment to her children, Wilkinson is gradually emerging from the shadows of her past.

As she faces the complexities of dating and contemplates the possibility of marriage in the future, Wilkinson is focused on her career and creating a positive environment for her children. Her story is not just one of survival but of resilience, self-discovery, and the ongoing battle with mental health.

Have you ever faced a challenging time in your life that led to self-discovery and resilience?