Ryan Reynolds on sharing anxiety struggles: ‘When you realize you’re not alone, it unburdens you’

Ryan Reynolds insists there's no ulterior motive behind his wise-cracking character Michael Bryce being in therapy in the new sequel The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard. Specifically, the actor says the movie isn't answering cultural criticism from the likes of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who griped recently that he doesn’t “need James Bond or Jason Bourne to have an anxiety disorder.”

“I don’t think it’s important for action heroes. That’s not real life. That would be kind of silly to imbue or infuse that, unless it made sense to” the action star tells Yahoo Entertainment. (Watch video with Reynolds and co-star Salma Hayek above.)

The sharp-witted Deadpool actor does, however, want to continue destigmatizing public discussions about mental health “in real life,” as he recently expressed in an honest and highly publicized Instagram post in which he opened up about his own struggles with his “lifelong pal,” anxiety. “To all those like me who overschedule, overthink, overwork, over-worry and over-everything, please know you’re not alone,” he wrote in recognition of May’s Mental Health Awareness Month.

Reynolds elaborated on those thoughts during our interview.

“I think it’s important to have conversations about our inner worlds,” he said, “not in a way that feels like you’re a galactic black hole of ‘me, me, me, me, me.’ I just mean it’s important to share each other’s experiences because when you feel like you’re not alone in something you’re going through, when you realize you’re not alone, it unburdens you in a way that’s almost indescribable."

The 44-year-old actor, who has three daughters with actress-wife Blake Lively, points to familial relationships as another reason why he’s open about his own struggles.

“I wish my dad, who passed away years ago, I wish he was a guy that talked about what’s going on inside. Because I feel like I’d [known] him better,” he explained. “So having kids now, I want to make sure a lot of that is destigmatized and I want to make sure that I’m modeling for my own children what it’s like to feel anxiety or confused or sad or angry, that there’s space for all these things. And these are things that weren’t necessarily modeled to me, so it’s an opportunity for me. I see that as an opportunity to pass that on in a different way.”

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is now playing. Watch the trailer:

-Video produced by Jen Kucsak and edited by John Santo

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