Kelly Ripa Gets Candid About Social Anxiety and Depression Struggles in New Book (Exclusive)

The daytime talk show host discusses the ways her anxiety has followed her through most of her life, at times bordering on depression.

On the outside, talk show host Kelly Ripa may be known for her bubbly television personality and years spent in front of crowds and cameras. Now, though, in her new book, she opens up about the anxiety that lies beneath. 

"I have a severe case of social anxiety disorder, and I tend to say awkward or inappropriate things when under duress," Ripa admits in her new book, Live Wire. "People think that because I’m an extrovert on television I am one in real life. Surprise. That’s why they call it acting."

Ripa is candid in discussing the ways her anxiety has followed her through most of her adult life, at times even bordering on depression.

The 51-year-old actress co-hosted Live With Regis and Kelly with the late Regis Philbin from 2001 to 2011, later co-hosting Live with Michael Strahan and now with Ryan Seacrest. Though she now says that she and Philbin had "a very professional working relationship," Ripa is also open about how hard it was to be a woman in media in the early aughts. 

“At that time,” she writes of her early days on Live, “a pre–#metoo #timesup time, a pre-women belong in the room where decisions are being made time, I. Was. Miserable.” 

In the same section, Ripa recounts a conversation she had with a therapist, telling the clinician, "I have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning. I almost always wake up crying at the thought of having to go to work. I feel like I’m in physical pain. My hair hurts. I have no energy at all. I’m very easily distracted. When I’m playing with my kids, I feel like I’ve forgotten to do something at work, and when I’m at work, I feel like I’ve forgotten to do something for my kids. I cry in the shower. I cry myself to sleep. I cry backstage. I sometimes want to cry in the middle of the show. Sometimes I feel like I can’t breathe." 

Ripa writes about her struggles with a lighthearted self-awareness, saying "I question whether or not any of my high-functioning social anxiety disorder, my low-functioning borderline personality disorder, my wanton reckless agoraphobia, my unchecked ego-maniacal grandiosity, my narcissism that has not progressed to malignancy, or my probable undiagnosed ADHD* has affected my kids, but they seem to be doing great." Below the asterisk, Ripa adds a footnote: "All psychological disorders above are self-diagnosed." 

Ripa recently spoke to ET about the book's revelations, explaining that boundary-setting has proved extremely helpful in mitigating further mental health issues, self-diagnosed or not. 

"We are trained to say, 'Oh, I'm so sorry, let me see what we can do, let me figure a way to work that out," Ripa told ET's Rachel Smith. "I am going to twist myself into a pretzel to make things uncomfortable for me so that you can get the desired outcome. Once you learn the power of 'No, that doesn't work for me,' it takes all negotiation off the table... the person has to either acquiesce or move along and that has been a great benefit to me." 

In her book, Ripa also writes about the ways that therapy has helped her reach for more answers, adding that she's been seeing a therapist for over a decade. 

"I had spent ten years focusing on my marriage, work life, childhood, and all the things that I wanted to fix about myself," she writes, though elaborating that she and her husband, Mark Consuelos, continue to go back and forth on the topic of couples therapy. Nevertheless, her marriage remains strong. 

"I think of this book really as a love letter to Mark," Ripa told ET. "That’s why I dedicated the book to him, because he really has walked through most of my adult life with me. He really is such a great husband, he's a great father, he's a great guy, he's a great friend. That's the greatest thing he is, a great friend. That's the thing, if you have him as a friend, you've hit the jackpot."

Live Wire is out now.