'You need to be present': John Legend on supporting a partner with PND

Chrissy Tiegen and John Legend.
Chrissy Tiegen and John Legend.  Photo: Getty Images

Singer John Legend has opened up about supporting his wife Chrissy Teigen through postnatal depression - and how proud he is that she shared her story with the world.

Teigen penned a candid and poignant essay for Glamour magazine earlier this month, after being diagnosed with the condition, which can affect up to one in seven new mums.

"My lower back throbbed; my ­shoulders - even my wrists - hurt," she wrote. "I didn't have an appetite. I would go two days without a bite of food, and you know how big of a deal food is for me." 

Of receiving the diagnosis, Teigen recalled, "I remember being so exhausted, but happy to know that we could finally get on the path of getting better."

It was a happiness her husband, and partner of 10 years, also shared.

Speaking to PEOPLE this week, Legend described that it was his job, "to do the best I could to support her," and to understand what Teigan was going through. "I feel like that's the least I could do," he said.

The new dad also issued valuable advice to those currently supporting loved ones through postnatal depression and anxiety.

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"[As a man] you don't know internally what it feels like," he said, recommending that people, "read about it and understand what it is and really just be there to help.

"You need to be present and you need to be compassionate," he said, adding that we're all learning, "and trying to figure it out as we go".

"At least do that and try to figure it out together."

And, as Teigen shared in her raw essay, figuring it out together is exactly what she and Legend are doing.

"John would sleep on the couch with me, sometimes four nights in a row," the 31-year-old wrote of the evenings she didn't even have the energy to make it upstairs to bed.

Along with bringing Teigen her medicine and watching "horrible reality TV" with her, Legend also indulged his wife's sense of humour, despite not being "the goofiest guy".

"When I was having a good day, he would go to Medieval Times with me and put on the crazy period hat!" she wrote. "He sees how much my eyes light up when he does that stuff, and he knows that's what I need."

"He wants me to be happy, silly, and energetic again, but he's not making me feel bad when I'm not in that place."

Now, two months after receiving her diagnosis, Legend is glad his wife has spoken up.

"I think it was powerful for her to let a lot of women know they're not alone, and no matter how much money you have or fame, anybody can feel that," he said.  "And it's hard for anybody no matter how successful you are and how many resources you have."

For more information on supporting loved ones with postnatal depression and anxiety, visit Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA).

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