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Actress Keira Knightley opens up about mental health breakdown and struggle with rising fame

Keira Knightley has opened about about her mental health struggle. Credit: PA

Keira Knightley has opened up about her struggle with mental health - admitting she reached rock bottom as her fame skyrocketed.

The actress revealed she experienced a breakdown at 22, took a year off to recover in 2009 and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress.

The 33-year-old told the Hollywood Reporter that her struggle with mental health compounded with the rise in her fame, particularly off the back of films such as Love Actually (2003), Bend It Like Beckham (2002) and Pirates of the Caribbean (2003).

Knightley, who began her acting career as a young teenager, said she disliked growing paparazzi attention and their desire to see her "break down".

She struggled with people focussing on the "negative", saying: "I literally felt like I was worthless."

Knightley starred in Oscar-winning Atonement alongside James McAvoy. Credit: PA

Knightley pinpointed her breaking point as coming after the release of Oscar-winning movie Atonement (2007) and The Duchess (2008).

She said that she hadn't left her house "for three months" ahead of the BAFTAs, where she was nominated for her performance in Atonement alongside James McAvoy.

She even needed to undergo hypnotherapy in order to attend the event.

"That's when I felt I was sinking... my crash came just after that," Knightley said.

A year-long sabbatical followed in 2009, which only ended with her starring in the 2010 film Last Night.

"I did have a mental breakdown at 22, so I did take a year off there and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder because of all of that stuff. I went deep into therapy and all of that..." she said.

Knightley added that on returning to acting her mental health had improved, saying: "I felt better — I felt really good — and suddenly didn't care [about the views of others]."