Emily Blunt Couldn’t Say Her Own Name as a Child Because of Her Severe Stutter: ‘It Was Just a Part of Who I Was’

Emily Blunt attends the Tory Burch show on September 8, 2019. Swan Gallet/WWD/Shutterstock

Speaking up! Emily Blunt revealed that her severe stutter as a child made it hard to say her own name, but it also influenced her life in a positive way.

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“Once a stutterer, I feel, always a stutterer,” Blunt, 36, told 11-year-old Sammy Blatstein, who also suffers from the speech impediment, in her Marie Claire’s March cover story.

The A Quiet Place actress’ stutter began around the time she was 6 years old and “got progressively more challenging for me” by age 11 or 12.

“It wasn’t the whole part of me; it was just a part of who I was,” she explained. “There were certain people who liked to define me by that. That was tough.”

Emily Blunt Marie Claire
Emily Blunt Marie Claire

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The mother of two admitted that school was hard mainly because she couldn’t do everything she wanted to do in class like read a poem out loud or answer a teacher’s question. She also had an issue when there wasn’t a clear way to switch a difficult word in her vocabulary.

“I could never say my own name if someone said, ‘What’s your name?’ Because you can’t substitute a word out, which is what we tend to do to find a better flow,” the Mary Poppins Returns actress told the magazine. “You substitute another word that’s easier, and you can’t substitute your name. So, I realized quickly as a kid, any pressurized situations were quite hard for me.”

On a positive note, the British actress learned through her stutter that some of her other senses are more heightened.

“I think in some ways, when you go through something like having a stutter, you become a really good listener. You absorb the world in a different way,” the Edge of Tomorrow star said. “You become really conscious of a lot of stuff going around you, so I think I was a really observant kid. I was a really empathetic kid and still feel that’s something I try and lead with.”

She added: “When you go through something like that, you establish a real sense of kindness. And you’ve got to be kind to yourself and you’re going to be kind to other people.”

Stuttering, which runs in Blunt’s family, also jumpstarted her acting career. The Devil Wears Prada actress was first introduced to the industry when a teacher told her he thought she could perform by doing “silly voices” or an accent which gave Blunt “fluency” for the first time.

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“That was a very liberating thing for me as a kid,” she revealed. After doing a “really bad” northern English accent in the play at age 12, Blunt learned that it could be possible to “grow past this.”

Even though she didn’t want to be an actress right after this experience, taking on different voices and accents helped her to grow. Now, Blunt is a big supporter and activist for the American Institute for Stuttering and has hosted its annual benefit in New York for a decade.

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