Kendra Wilkinson says she suffered from depression so severe that she was hospitalized multiple times and nearly gave up.
The “Girls Next Door” alum said what initially appeared to be a panic attack was a symptom of a worsening mental health crisis.
“I was in a state of panic. I didn’t know what was going on in my head and my body or why I was crying. I had hit rock bottom,” she told People in a profile published Tuesday.
“I was dying of depression,” an emotional Wilkinson told the outlet. “I was hitting the end of my life, and I went into psychosis. I felt like I wasn’t strong enough to live anymore.”
It’s been two decades since Wilkinson moved into the infamous Playboy Mansion, the Holmby Hills home once notorious for its lavish parties, orgies and drug abuse. She was a teenager at the time, and the adult Wilkinson has had to grapple with the trauma and shame she felt surrounding her experience. She said that she struggles looking back on those years and that she’s had to face her “demons,” adding that “Playboy really messed my whole life up.”
After Wilkinson, 38, suffered a panic attack that landed her in an emergency room in September, she returned to the hospital a week later and was prescribed Abilify, a medication commonly used to treat major depressive disorder and other mental health conditions. She then began attending therapy three times a week at UCLA, where she addressed both her painful divorce from former NFL wide receiver Hank Baskett, 41, and her complex trauma stemming from her time at the mansion.
Wilkinson and Baskett’s relationship was chronicled on an E! spin-off series, “Kendra,” in 2009 following her departure from the mansion and then later in “Kendra on Top” on WEtv. In 2014, allegations that Baskett was involved in a sex scandal with a transgender model boosted “Kendra on Top” ratings, with audiences seemingly eager to catch a glimpse of Wilkinson’s marriage unraveling.
Marc Juris, president and general manager of WEtv, told The Times in 2014 that cameras were rolling as the scandal played out in real time. “We were able to catch it pretty much with the emotional rawness as events unfold. Everyone is looking for the truth. And the search for truth is really compelling.” Juris said that Wilkinson agreed to share the ordeal with viewers.
“It was the lowest place I’ve ever been in my life. I felt like I had no future. I couldn’t see in front of my depression,” Wilkinson said. “I was giving up, and I couldn’t find the light. I had no hope.”
Wilkinson added that accepting medication was “the hardest thing to do” because it meant that she had to accept that she had a mental illness, which she was reluctant to do.
In May, the former playboy model spoke with “Entertainment Tonight” about her reality series “Kendra Sells Hollywood,” which focused on Wilkinson’s career in real estate and which ran for two seasons but has not been renewed for a third.
Wilkinson was emotional in the interview, discussing the career transition while navigating life as a single mother and admitting that she often felt alone. “I love being a single mom. I love real estate. But sometimes it just gets to be a lot. A lot of pressure because you know, I’m not a perfect person. I have a past,” she told ET.
The reality star said that she created a life after Playboy and that real estate had saved her. “The devil was taking me down,” she said. “I had nothing left.”
Wilkinson is still working through her issues but says she’s committed to giving herself grace, and she’s proud of herself for seeking treatment.
“I want to let myself be,” she told People. “Depression is something that doesn’t just go away. … What therapy did was that it built this tool system for me. So now … I have the strength and the foundation I need to overcome my depression.”