Christina Aguilera Still Feels 'Guilt' Over Her Time As A Child Star

by Julie Scagell
Tim Roney/David Crotty/Patrick McMullan/Getty

Christina Aguilera talked about taking time to reflect on where she is at today

Having turned 40, singer and mom Christina Aguilera recently opened up about her mental health, her childhood, and growing up in the public eye.

Aguilera, who was discovered on Star Search at just nine years old, spent much of her life in the spotlight. “I have this massive trunk of old diaries that I’ve literally kept from the past 20 years of my life. I was able to catch up on them and do some self-reflecting,” she told Health. “It really forced me to be silent and take a look at myself.”

She then joined The All New Mickey Mouse Club alongside Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears, and that’s where her popularity really took off. She released her debut album at just 19 and won a Grammy for Best New Artist.

She also opened up about how competitive it was for her in the 90s and how she’s never really had a chance to slow down. “In some regard, I wasn’t happy with a lot of things, and it’s scary to face those feelings that, under normal circumstances, you don’t have time to face because everyone is going, going, going,” she added. “That grind is praised, but I think we’re all understanding that having moments to self-reflect and just breathe are crucial.”

“When I’m not working, there’s a heavy amount of guilt that I feel. It’s been embedded in me since I was little — you’re shamed if you don’t want to keep up,” she said. “As a child [entertainer], you’re all pitted against one another, and other children are all about that grind too. It’s a weird space to grow up in.”

She also talked the struggles she’s faced throughout her life, which have forced her to try to slow down and reflect.

“I experienced a lot of trauma in my childhood—I’ve spoken very openly about it. But I think that was just part of my path,” she said. “I’ve definitely had struggles in the past with depression and anxiety—it’s a constant battle to overcome a mind that is anxious, a mind that is always second-guessing.”

Many who grew up in that time in the music industry like Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, and others have been open about the pressures they faced to release music, lose weight, and be “on” all the time, all of which has taken a toll on them as adults.

“You had to rely on journalists and how they reported on you,” she said of not having social media as an outlet to defend herself. “A lot of times, I’d read something and say, ‘Wait, I didn’t say it that way.’ I’d feel betrayed. I was still at an age where I was understanding myself and life. Media, at the time, was also big on pitting women against each other. And there was a bullying mentality going on in the tabloids. It’s tough to look back on.”

The mom-of-two also added that no matter what she’s been through, having time recently to slow down with her kids and family and concentrate on what she wants to do has been a gift.

“No matter what I’ve been through—successes, childhood trauma, hardships—I still have a fighting spirit,” she says. “I never want to stop learning and growing to be the best person I can be.”