The Reason Ireland Baldwin Stopped Talking to Her Parents — Best Life

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The Reason Ireland Baldwin Stopped Talking to Her Parents — Best Life

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Growing up in the limelight can be hard for any child. Ireland Baldwin knows that all too well—and recently opened up about the struggles she’s experienced as the daughter of A-list actors Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger.

The 26-year-old model has been in the headlines before, thanks to her parents’ contentious divorce and an infamous voicemail message left for her by her father when she was just 11 years old. But following a recent appearance on Red Table Talk, during which she revealed that she didn’t speak to her parents for about a year, she’s once again making waves. Read on to find out what health issue she says was behind the estrangement—and how she’s using her harrowing experience to help others.

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Ireland Balwdin at Premiere of YouTube Original's "Justin Bieber: Seasons" in 2020
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Speaking with singer, actor, and Red Table Talk co-host Willow Smith, Baldwin found common ground in their mutual experience growing up as the child of celebrities. “My anxiety is so deep and rooted in that,” Baldwin said, referring to her constant struggle to “individualize” from her parents. While both young women said they’ve dealt with mental health issues, including anxiety, from a young age, Baldwin also discussed her battle with body image and eating disorders.

Baldwin has been open on social media about her past struggles with both anorexia and bulimia and how they’ve impacted her life. In an 2018 Instagram story, she shared “I would eat a meal… and have to run to the nearest bathroom or find digestive pills or run until I couldn’t feel my legs right before bed.”

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Los,Angeles,-,Jan,14:,Ireland,Baldwin,At,The,Nbc
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Kim Basinger, who made a guest appearance on Red Table Talk alongside her daughter, went through what she described as a “heavy duty” divorce from Ireland’s father, Alec Baldwin, in 2002. Ireland was just seven years old and began experiencing anxiety around that time, although as she explained on the episode, “I didn’t really want to call it anxiety for a long time.”

Struggles with body image followed, beginning even before she started modeling at age 17, and were heightened as critics constantly compared her looks, figure, and weight with her mother’s. “It ruined my brain,” she said of her modeling experience. “I had already had so many body issues, eating disorders, all that stuff, before I even got into modeling, that at the beginning of my modeling career I was like ‘why am I even doing this?'”

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Ireland Baldwin at Weedmaps Museum of Weed Exclusive Preview Celebration in 2019
Jerritt Clark/Getty Images

On top of the anxiety and eating disorders, Baldwin said she also endured several physically and mentally abusive relationships as a teenager, causing her to retreat into drugs and alcohol. “I just hit a total breaking point,” she told Smith. “I was self-medicating with Xanax, and I was drinking. I had a night where I went way too far with drinking and taking pills because I couldn’t even go to bed.”

Ultimately, all of these issues led her to detach from her loved ones. “I had isolated all of my real friends, isolated my family. I had no control in anything in my life,” she confessed. “I tortured myself with my eating disorders… I didn’t talk to my parents for like a year. I saw them here and there. But I was so ashamed of what I had become and how I was living, and I just became this different person.”

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Ireland Baldwin at Smile Train World Smile Day Pool Party in 2019
Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Smile Train

Having faced and overcome many of her past obstacles, Baldwin is now using her unique position to help others experiencing similar difficulties. In an August 2020 Instagram post, she announced she was six years free of her eating disorders and followed up with the encouraging message “So, you can do it.”

On Red Table Talk, Basinger described her daughter as a “great teacher” and a “healer” for her as she’s navigated her own mental health barriers. The Oscar-winning actress shared her experience with agoraphobia—an anxiety disorder which can manifest as a fear of leaving home—and said Baldwin helped her through it. “She’s brought me out of my shell,” she explained.

As she shared her own experience, Baldwin also gave a few words of advice on how to help people battling anxiety and other mental health problems. “Reach out to people. Check on people. Ask if they’re okay,” she advised. “Because anxiety manifests itself in a lot of ways, and it swirls and turns into depression. People feel trapped, like they don’t have an escape. Be someone’s escape.”

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