What is Kim Basinger's Experience With Social Anxiety?

Kim Basinger is a well known shy actor.
Kim Basinger is a famous actor who has lived with anxiety. Getty / Hulton Archive.

Kim Basinger is a well-known actress who has struggled with anxiety throughout her life and career.

Early Years

Kimila Ann (Kim) Basinger was born on December 8, 1953, in Athens, Georgia. She was the third of five children and born to parents who were both in the entertainment industry (her father was an introvert who played jazz and her mother was a flamboyant water ballet performer). Kim studied ballet from the age of 3 and was a cheerleader in high school.

Acting Career

At age 16, Kim won the Athens, Georgia Junior Miss Pageant and went on to the National competition in New York. After great success at modeling (Kim was offered a contract with the Ford Modeling Agency and at age 20 was considered a top model), Kim decided to move to Los Angeles in 1976 to pursue a career in acting. In New York, she had taken acting classes and performed and sang onstage, so she was well-prepared for this career transition.

Several television shows and movies later (including "9 1/2 Weeks" in 1986 and "Batman" in 1989), Kim Basinger was a household name. In 1997, she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for "LA Confidential." Kim appeared in the film "Fifty Shades Darker" in 2017.

Personal Life

Kim attended the University of Georgia for less than a year. She married and divorced Ron Snyder (1980 to 1989) and Alec Baldwin (1993 to 2002); she and Alec have a daughter together (Ireland Eliesse) who was born in 1995.

Kim has since been tied to actor Mitchell Stone. She is also an animal lover and strict vegetarian. 

Experience with Social Anxiety

Kim was so withdrawn as a child that her parents had her tested for autism and other psychiatric disorders; however, the tests did not reveal any issues. Growing up, her worst fear was reading aloud in class, to the point that teachers believed she was having a nervous breakdown.

When Kim took the podium to accept her Oscar in 1997 for "LA Confidential," she couldn't find the words to speak, even though she had practiced for days.

Kim has spoken publicly about her struggles with panic disorder, agoraphobia, and social anxiety, appearing in the HBO film, "Panic: A film about coping." Kim received psychological therapy for her anxiety but still remains shy and susceptible to panic and agoraphobia.

Quotes From Kim Basinger:

  • "We've been through a lot, my daughter and I, but she has given so many gifts to shy old me and helped me overcome my fears."
  • "My hands were shaking. I was sweating so profusely, I could not move. I made it to my car and remember getting the keys in the ignition, cranking the car up, taking the back roads to my home and parking. I didn't leave the house for six months."
  • "When I came to Hollywood, I could wear a bikini, but I was in misery because people were looking at me. So I wore baggy clothes and watched other girls get the big parts and awards. I used to go home and play piano and scream at night to let out my frustrations. And this led to my agoraphobia."
  • "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 says. "I stayed in my house and literally cried every day."
  • "My hand still shakes when I sign autographs. I still go and sit in the movies like everyone else and look up there and go "God! Movie stars! Wow!" And I'm in this business. I walk out there just fascinated and I always want to stay like that. I'm just a little kid going to these movies and I don't ever want to change."

A Word From Verywell

Kim Basinger's story can be considered inspirational to those who live with social anxiety disorder. Although she has struggled with anxiety, she continued to pursue her chosen path in the public spotlight. This story highlights how therapy can be helpful to those living with anxiety disorders.

Don't set your dreams aside because of your anxiety; find a way through your fears so that you can experience success just as Kim did.

Sources:

Bane N. Life of drama for Basinger. 

Internet Movie Database. Kim Basinger Biography.

Rose C. A conversation with Kim Basinger. 

Youtube. Panic Attacks: Kim Basinger, Earl Campbell.

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