Tragic Details About Cara Delevingne

Cara Delevingne is a multitalented model, actor, musician, and activist and has been in the public eye since she was a teen. Delevingne was born to an upper-class family, the youngest of three sisters and daughter of a high-society couple, and began modeling when she was just 10 years old. She has since become a household name and a very recognizable face, working in film and TV and appearing in countless fashion campaigns.

The British beauty seems to have an enviable life, complete with a thriving career and a cadre of famous friends, but it hasn't all been glitter and glam. In fact, Delevingne's early life was wrought with difficulty, drug abuse, and depression, demons the model still battles to this day. But Cara Delevingne is a force of nature, and she has not let tragedy take her all the way down. Read on to find out just what the model-turned-actor has endured and what scared her into finally taking control of her health and her life.

Cara Delevingne's mom struggled with substance issues

To outsiders, it may look as though Cara Delevingne led a very charmed life as a child. Despite her upbringing in London's posh Belgravia neighborhood, complete with fancy parties and famous family friends (Joan Collins is her godmother), all was not as it seemed. Delevingne had a difficult childhood due in part to her mother's substance issues.

Delevingne's mom, Pandora, a socialite with an impressive pedigree (her father was publishing magnate Sir Jocelyn Stevens and her mother was Jane Sheffield, lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret) struggled with an addiction to heroin. "I remember my sister, Poppy, saying something like, 'Mum used to do heroin.' And I was like, 'What the f*** is that? Like heroes and heroines?' I was a tiny child. Like, 'I have no idea what you're talking about,'" Delevingne told Esquire.

Delevingne and her mother have always been extremely close, but the model admitted that her mother's struggle with substances affected her deeply. "You grow up too quickly because you're parenting your parents," she told Vogue. She added, "My mother's an amazingly strong person with a huge heart, and I adore her. But it's not something you get better from, I don't think. ... She's still struggling."

She has battled depression

Cara Delevingne experienced her first bout of depression as a teenager. She had what she has referred to as a breakdown at the age of 16, in part because of the stress of her mother's addiction. "I felt like I had to be good and I had to be strong because my mum wasn't," she told Esquire. That and the pressure to do well in school contributed to Delevingne's depression. "I realized how lucky and privileged I was, but all I wanted to do was die," she said. "I felt so guilty because of that and hated myself because of that, and then it's a cycle."

Delevingne was taken out of school and put on medication to avoid hospitalization. And while she acknowledges that this indeed may have saved her life, she hated how it all made her feel. "[U]ntil I was 18 I was just numb," she told Esquire.

Unfortunately, Delevingne's battle with depression did not end when she entered adulthood. Instead, the "Paper Towns" actor still experienced mental health issues on and off. In 2020, depression resurfaced after her breakup with her girlfriend of two years, actor Ashley Benson, which coincided with COVID-19 lockdowns. "[I]t was a low point," Delevingne told Vogue. "I just had a complete existential crisis. All my sense of belonging, all my validation — my identity, everything — was so wrapped up in work. And when that was gone, I felt like I had no purpose."

She suffers from psoriasis

Known and admired for her It-girl beauty, Cara Delevingne surprisingly suffers from psoriasis, a skin condition that affects 125 million people worldwide. Unsurprisingly, Delevingne has an insightful way of looking at the disorder. During a 2017 interview with GQ, the actor spoke about filming the movie "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets," during which she had a psoriasis outbreak. "[D]uring this film especially my skin was really bad. ... I work in an industry where I care what other people think and I'm nervous all the time," Delevingne explained. "If I don't admit that it's going on, it comes out in my skin ... that was my body's way of releasing bad feelings."

While not the only celeb afflicted with the skin disorder (Kim Kardashian and LeAnn Rimes have spoken about having psoriasis as well), Delevingne has been particularly candid about her experience. In 2013 she tweeted about having psoriasis and the scars it will leave on her body. And in 2022, she made a bold statement at the Met Gala, showing up in gold body paint that covered everything but her psoriasis patches. Fans were loving the look, with many tweeting about their gratitude toward Delevingne for normalizing the condition. "At first I was like, 'Wait a minute, I should cover this up, right?' and then I remembered, though, that it's not good for my skin and a lot of people live with psoriasis," Delevingne told Glamour.

Cara Delevingne has struggled with dark thoughts and self-harm

As a teenager with depression, Cara Delevingne admits she lacked the mechanisms to cope with her overwhelming feelings. Sadly, this led the model to self-harm, and she has been very candid about this. In her interview with Esquire, she described her suicide ideation and how she attempted to quell her emotional distress by causing herself physical pain. "I would run off to the woods and smoke a pack of cigarettes and then I would smash my head so hard into a tree because I just wanted to knock myself out," she revealed.

Delevingne's experience is indicative of how self-harm can differ from how it is portrayed on TV and film. "I never cut, but I'd scratch myself to the point of bleeding. I just wanted to dematerialize and have someone sweep me away," the model explained to Vogue.

As Delevingne became more successful, she began to throw herself into her work as a means of escape. While being a workaholic is more socially acceptable than other self-destructive behaviors, it was not necessarily a healthy move for Delevingne. "If I stop, I go crazy. I lose my mind. I just kind of break down a little bit," she told Esquire.

She also suffers from dyspraxia

Although you'd never be able to tell while watching her strut down the runway, Cara Delevingne has a disorder called dyspraxia. Dyspraxia affects coordination, motor skills, and even cognitive ability, according to Healthline. As a child, Delevingne had a lot of excess energy, which ultimately led to her diagnosis. She tried playing drums to channel her energy as well as many different therapies including cognitive behavioral therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), art therapy, and music therapy, but Delevingne says the dyspraxia diagnosis was the tipping point for some of her other struggles. "This was the beginning of mental health issues and inadvertent self-harm," she recalled to Vogue.

Because dyspraxia affects the way thought coordinates with movement, it can make certain tasks seem especially challenging. Delevingne had a difficult time writing and taking tests while in school and ultimately dropped out to pursue her career in modeling. Like other performers with dyspraxia, such as Daniel Radcliffe and Florence Welch, Delevingne is high-functioning and ultra-talented.

Cara Delevingne's erratic behavior had fans and friends worried

In 2022, Cara Delevingne had some odd moments that puzzled fans and concerned those close to her. In September of that year, paparazzi spotted and photographed her at the Van Nuys airport, barefoot and two hours late for a flight on Jay-Z's private plane. The model boarded the aircraft then got off the plane 45 minutes later, and was seen smoking cigarettes on the tarmac, looking disheveled and jittery, dropping her phone multiple times.

According to Page Six, Delevingne's older sister Poppy and "Suicide Squad" co-star and pal Margot Robbie were seen leaving the model's house soon after, looking teary-eyed, leading fans to wonder about Delevingne's well-being.

The following week, Delevingne shocked fans and the fashion world alike by skipping out on the launch of her own fashion collection's debut at New York Fashion Week. CARA LOVES KARL was the model's capsule collection, a collaboration with the legendary designer Karl Lagerfeld. But instead of appearing at the event, Delevingne simply posted about it on Instagram.

Cara Delevingne has struggled to stay sober

It turned out the airport incident and the fashion week no-show were as alarming for Cara Delevingne herself as they were to those close to her. "You know, sometimes you need a reality check, so in a way those pictures were something to be grateful for," she explained to Vogue of the photos of these incidents.

Delevingne, having recently turned 30, said she'd started partying hard as a teenager, using substances and alcohol as a form of escapism. "There's an element of feeling invincible when I'm on drugs," she told Vogue. "I put myself in danger in those moments because I don't care about my life." But soon after turning 30, she'd decided she'd had enough. With her support system of family and friends, including best pals Selena Gomez, Margot Robbie, and musician girlfriend Leah Mason (who performs under the name Minke), Delevingne has begun living a life of sobriety. After a stint in rehab, the model said that a 12-step program, daily yoga and meditation, and therapy were helping to keep her in a good place.

Still, she acknowledged the difficulty that may lie ahead. "People want my story to be this after-school special where I just say, 'Oh look, I was an addict, and now I'm sober and that's it.' And it's not as simple as that. It doesn't happen overnight," she told Vogue. But we're pulling for her as are her legions of loyal fans and devoted friends.