Simone Biles is arguably the greatest female gymnast the world has ever seen. In the past year, she’s opened up about her anxiety and her journey coming to terms with being one of the 150-plus women who accused former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor Larry Nassar of sexual abuse. Now, in Priyanka Chopra‘s new YouTube Originals special If I Could Tell You Just One Thing, the Olympian and four-time all around World Gymnastics Champion speaks out about her experience with depression.
Priyanka interviews Simone first in this special that debuted on March 27 (Priyanka also speaks to entertainer Awkwafina and designer Diane von Furstenberg). Simone said that, when it comes to handling the immense amount of pressure put on her, therapy is her main coping mechanism. “Even at the Olympics, people wanted me to win six golds,” she told Priyanka (for the record, she won four gold medals and one bronze at Rio 2016 and made US history by doing so). The pressure to be perfect was and still is a lot to handle, Simone said, but “therapy is everything.”
“I feel like nowadays, if you say you’re going to therapy, nobody questions it anymore,” Simone continued, adding that even though society used to be a lot less accepting of it, therapy “needs to be more normalized.” She told Priyanka, “I’m still going through things in everyday life that I still need to go to therapy for,” explaining that “it all comes back to my childhood and everything that’s happened to me being sexually abused.” Simone said at first she denied having gone through the abuse and “buried it” instead.
“I was very depressed, I never left my room, I was sleeping all the time. I told one of my lawyers, ‘I sleep all the time because it’s the closest thing to death,'” she revealed. After friends of Simone came out with their own allegations against the ex-doctor, she went to her parents and, eventually, the public. “I feel like I’m a stronger woman today, and I feel like telling my story has helped younger girls.” Watch the full inspiring special above; Simone’s interview starts around the four-minute mark.