Gossip Girl’s Taylor Momsen Says She Battled ‘Depression and Substance Abuse’ in 2017 and 2018: ‘I Was at the Brink of Death’

Out from under. Taylor Momsen candidly opened up in a new interview about the personal struggles she dealt with after the deaths of her friends Chris Cornell and Kato Khandwala.

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“I wasn’t in a good place mentally to be public,” the Gossip Girl alum, 27, told Metro of her state of mind after the Soundgarden frontman died by suicide at age 52 in May 2017 while on tour with her band, The Pretty Reckless. “I canceled touring, I went home. I needed to attempt to process what had happened and kind of get my s–t together, and as soon as I started to heal from that a little bit and do that … I got the phone call that Kato had died in a motorcycle accident.”

Gossip Girl’s Taylor Momsen Says She Battled ‘Depression and Substance Abuse’ in 2017 and 2018: ‘I Was at the Brink of Death’
Taylor Momsen. Gregory Pace/BEI/Shutterstock

Momsen called the April 2018 death of her 47-year-old best friend and longtime music producer “the nail in the coffin” for her.

“My life felt like it was over, and I went very down to this utterly dark hole of depression and substance abuse, and I was a mess,” she told the U.K. newspaper. “I was living in this hole of darkness that I was not sure I would ever get out of. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to. I had kind of given up on life. I’d given up on everything at that point. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to make music again. I’d given up as a person. It was very dark.”

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Then, sometime in 2019, the former actress and her rock band regrouped and started working on their fourth studio album, Death by Rock and Roll, which they released earlier this month.

“It was music that saved me,” she told Metro. “I know it sounds really cliché, but it was rock ’n’ roll and music that pulled me out of it, and I eventually got to a place where I could start listening to records again.”

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After modeling as a child, Momsen got her big break by playing Cindy Lou Who in the 2000 movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas starring Jim Carrey. Her biggest role came seven years later when she joined the cast of Gossip Girl as Jenny Humphrey. She left the CW teen drama — and Hollywood altogether — in 2011 to pursue a career in music.

“The thing that made me the happiest is when I finally quit and I could focus on my true passion and the thing I really always wanted to do with my life,” she told Metro, noting that she looks back on Gossip Girl as a “very unique experience” and not an “unpleasurable” one.

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