Ryan Reynolds Opens up About Dealing With Anxiety

When moviegoers settle into their seats to see Deadpool 2 this summer, they'll hardly see the confident, witty Marvel antihero as anxious — but Ryan Reynolds says he's been dealing with different forms of anxiety his entire life.

"I have anxiety. I've always had anxiety," Reynolds told The New York Times in a profile that published Wednesday. "Both in the lighthearted 'I'm anxious about this' kind of thing, and I've been to the depths of the darker end of the spectrum, which is not fun."

He told the newspaper that his anxiety likely stems from his father, who he says despite introducing him to comedy greats and having enough positive influence over his life to name his firstborn daughter after him, was a "stress dispensary in our house" when he was young. Reynolds says that in order to head off screaming matches between his father and his three brothers, he would try to fix anything that might set his father off.

"I became this young skin-covered micro manager,” he said. “When you stress out kids, there’s a weird paradox that happens because they’re suddenly taking on things that aren’t theirs to take on.”

He said his anxiety affected him so much throughout his 20s that he got into a "real unhinged place," thanks to partying in order to "make myself vanish in some way" and self medicating after waking up in the middle of the night, paralyzed by anxiety.

But as he grew older, he says several of his friends died from overdoses, so he eased up on the partying and worked more steadily in Hollywood until he was cast as the leading man in a few films.

It's ironic that his arguably least successful film, Green Lantern, which was a critically reviled flop, is the film where he met his future wife, Blake Lively. The two opted out of Hollywood life and raise their two children an hour and a half outside of New York City.

"She gets me a lot," Reynolds said of Lively. So much so that he credited Lively with helping overcome his anxiety while working on the first Deadpool.

“Blake helped me through that,” Reynolds told Variety earlier this year, referring to the pressure he felt under the weight of fans' expectations after they went crazy for the film at Comic Con. “I’m lucky to have her around just to keep me sane.”

As for how he deals with that anxiety, what with his multitudes of promotional interviews and talk-show appearances when promoting Deadpool 2 and other projects, he says he uses a meditation app — and does many interviews in character as Deadpool.

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“When the curtain opens, I turn on this knucklehead, and he kind of takes over and goes away again once I walk off set,” he said.

“That’s that great self-defense mechanism,” he continued. “I figure if you’re going to jump off a cliff, you might as well fly.”