Ryan Reynolds Says His Daughters Were a Big Reason Why He Spoke Out About Mental Health (Exclusive)

The actor hopes to be a better role model for this and wife Blake Lively's three daughters.

Ryan Reynolds is trying to be the best role model for his daughters.

The 44-year-old actor recently opened up about his longtime struggles with anxiety, expressing that people don't talk enough about mental health. Reynolds told ET on Saturday that the reason he decided to speak out was because of his three daughters -- James, 6, Inez, 4, and Betty, 1 -- who he shares with wife Blake Lively.

"Part of it is that I have three daughters at home and part of my job as a parent is to model behaviors and model what it's like to be sad and model what it's like to be anxious, or angry. That there's space for all these things," Reynolds told ET's Nischelle Turner, while promoting his new movie, The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard, with Salma Hayek. "The home that I grew in, that wasn't modeled for me really. And that's not to say that my parents were neglectful, but they come from a different generation."

"Part of that is to de-stigmatize things and create a conversation around [mental health]," he added. "I know that when I felt at the absolute bottom it's usually been because I felt like I was alone in something I was feeling. So I think when people talk about it, I don't necessarily dwell on it or lament on it, but I think it's important to talk about it. And when you talk about it, it kind of sets other people free."

Reynolds added that if he spoke out, he hoped it might help others as well. "Other people feel like, 'Oh, he's feeling that and so am I.' And even though we might be in two completely different fields or we might have two completely different lives, it connects us in a way," he noted. "A lot of it is just wanting to model certain things for my own kids and model things for anyone who might need to hear it."

Hayek added to the conversation by expressing that "a lot of the really, extremely smart people suffer from anxiety." "If you're very young or have not achieved a certain amount of success, it might make you feel like there is something wrong with you and it's not," she said. "It's part of having an intellect that's very easily stimulated and it's just about channeling that."

Reynolds admitted that, "It's hard to sometimes turn one's brain off and that's a challenge for some people."

Meanwhile, the two co-star alongside Samuel L. Jackson in The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard. The action flick reunites the lethal odd couple - Jackson's deadly Darius Kincaid and Reynolds' hapless bodyguard Michael Bryce -- for another life-or-death mission, this time with Hayek's international con artist Sonia Kincaid at the center.

"I was a skin-covered punching bag. I can't believe I didn't pass away while shooting this movie," joked Reynolds to ET. "Every scene I'm getting punished, smacked, shot, everything."

"My favorite is when he gets run over by a car," quipped Hayek, with the actor adding, "I was run over by two cars! These guys finished this movie without a scratch. I have one part of my body that wasn't scratched."

The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard is in theaters on June 16, 2021.