Belfast Telegraph

The Fall star Gillian Anderson on her struggles and how fame on X-Files made her freak out

By Staff Reporter

Gillian Anderson has described how she suffered daily panic attacks at the height of her fame on The X Files.

The actress, who stars as DSI Stella Gibson in The Fall, set in Northern Ireland, overcame a troubled childhood - including therapy at 14 - to become a well-known face on TV.

Now she has teamed up with best friend Jennifer Nadel to write what they say is a "manual for life".

We: A Manifesto For Women Everywhere is described as a practical guide to getting to know yourself, and learning to cope in a world that sometimes seems overwhelming, even if you are successful.

The women say their own experiences show no one is immune to stress.

In an interview with the Mail on Sunday, Anderson (48) said she suffered serious stress when she first found fame as FBI special agent Dana Scully in the hit sci-fi series.

Meanwhile, Nadel (54) suffered a breakdown - "a glorious, full-blown burnout"- when she was home affairs editor at ITN.

Anderson said that she had "a lot of stuff to deal with" in her childhood.

She went off the rails, became a punk, dyed her hair, experimented with drugs and was voted "girl most likely to be arrested" by her classmates.

She was actually later arrested and charged with trespassing on the night of her graduation for trying to break into her school. Anderson was 24 when she was cast in The X-Files.

She said having therapy as a 14-year-old helped her cope with fame, but she still felt overwhelmed at times.

"There were occasions during that series when I wasn't sure whether I could go on," she said.

"I started having panic attacks on a daily basis while we were shooting, around the time Piper (her daughter, now aged 22) was born.

"It was a mixture of not having dealt with childhood problems, the work being intensive, living in the spotlight and the expectation on me, as well as not knowing how to get balance or properly take care of myself."

Referring to the pressures of motherhood, she added: "I remember getting restless and feeling this pressure that I should be doing something else.

"But when I was doing something else, I felt this pressure that I should be with my child. It's that constant tug of war… and I don't think I'm alone with that."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph