Kim Basinger explains her agoraphobia: ‘Something just completely shuts down within you’

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Kim Basinger and daughter Ireland Baldwin are getting real about their experiences with anxiety. 

Ireland and Basinger appeared on Wednesday’s episode of “Red Table Talk,” where they both discussed their struggles with anxiety in Basinger’s first public interview in years.

Basinger began by talking about her experience suffering from agoraphobia.

Agoraphobia is a “type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed,” according to the Mayo clinic.

“I wouldn’t leave the house,” she explained. “I would no longer go to dinner. I could not even have people for dinner. We tried that.”

Ireland Baldwin, Kim Basinger, Red Table Talk
(Jordan Fisher and Huy Doan via Red Table Talk/Facebook Watch)


“It’s like something just completely shuts down within you, and you have to relearn everything,” Basinger said, noting that she spent six months in a treatment facility at the time. “I had to relearn to drive. And for many years I would not go through the tunnels in Malibu. Everything used to make me nervous.”

The “L.A. Confidential” actress suffered from anxiety starting at a young age as she watched her mother mentally struggle during her childhood.

Watching Ireland struggle with anxiety hurt Basinger “more than anything.”

“We went through a very heavy duty, very out loud, when you’re in the public divorce. And she had to go through that very rough time.”

Ireland is the daughter of Alec Baldwin and Basinger. The couple got married in 1993 and divorced by 2000. Ireland was born in 1995, and was a toddler during the heat of a public custody battle.

Basinger and Ireland discussed Baldwin’s inability to sympathize with the model’s experience with anxiety.

“Alec is a funny one. You know, we’re all fine. We get along, whatever. But he’s a challenge. We’ve had our challenges and I don’t think Alec was emotionally or mentally available for that kind of talk,” Basinger explained. “Alec, you know, operates in a very different way in his life.”

Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger during 63rd Annual Academy Awards at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, United States.


Ireland further explained that she believes Baldwin learned to suppress his anxiety at a young age.

“He deals with anxiety greatly,” Ireland said. “But he’s someone who grew up in a family that would suppress that as well or tell him he’s weak for feeling that way. There’s things I would go to my father for, but if I ever even tried to have this conversation in any way with him I don’t think he would really be able to absorb any of it or understand any of it. He can’t really sympathize as much with it.”

“But it’s not his fault,” she continued. “And he’s gotten better, way better about it. I think he really suppressed his anxiety up until pretty recently. He’s really been dealing with things that kind of have been thrown at him. He’s been forced to finally deal with these things.”

Ireland also touched on her own experience with anxiety in a separate interview with Willow Smith.

“I think I’ve had it my whole life, since I was a kid. I just don’t think I was comfortable calling it what it was,” Ireland told Willow. “I just felt so ashamed of it. And I didn’t understand what was happening to me.”

Kim Basinger and Ireland Baldwin are seen at Los Angeles International Airport on Dec. 10, 2012.
(GVK/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

Ireland noted that her anxiety first began when her parents were getting divorced.

“I can remember playing with friends. I’m at play dates, I’m in school. I’m staying at friends’ houses. I’m like hidden from the realities of it all, but when you get older and you have access to the internet, when you have friends in school – older kids – coming up to you and asking you, ‘Oh well is this true?’ It starts to manifest.”


In adulthood, Ireland has struggled with eating disorders, alcoholism and substance abuse as she deals with anxiety. 

“I had a night where I went way too far with drinking and taking pills cause I couldn’t even go to bed at night. I was so afraid of this relationship and when I went to this drug and alcohol treatment center, I learned that I didn’t have an addiction to a substance but I have an addiction to wanting to fix people. That’s my addiction.”

Kim Basinger and Ireland Baldwin on July 26, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.
(starzfly/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

During this time, Ireland claimed she didn’t talk to her parents for a year. Eventually. Ireland’s cousin, Alaia Baldwin, came to Los Angeles because she noticed something was up.

“She saved my life,” Ireland said. “I think I would have committed suicide or I would have been dead. I was so close. Like, I was so close I could feel it getting to that point. And she saved my life. She pulled me out of it.”