John Goodman Opens Up About Suffering “Nervous Breakdown”


71-year-old John Goodman recently opened up about career struggles he has waded through, which subsequently saw him suffer from a nervous breakdown. Goodman appeared on the June 3 episode of the SmartLess podcast to get candid about the toll his mental health took.

Having kicked off his career in 1975, Goodman would become the recipient of a Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and Primetime Emmy Award. In addition to his extensive work with the Coen brothers, Goodman was most recently known for playing the family patriarch in Roseanne and The Conners. But for all his successes, Goodman did not always enjoy stability—and that severely impacted him.


John Goodman opens up about the nervous breakdown he suffered from career struggles

There was a point in his career that John Goodman suffered a nervous breakdown / Galaxy/ STAR MAX Copyright 2018 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

One factor Goodman noted was that his sense of motivation today is far less than what it was when he was younger. “It’s much different now,” he mused. “I feel like I’m still learning. The last couple of years have been goofy for me because I’ve been trying to be good — and it doesn’t work that way.”


RELATED: John Goodman Looks Unrecognizable Showing Off 200-Lb. Weight Loss

“You know, like planning things way too much,” Goodman added. “I overcompensated by working way too hard. I’ve just kind of come out of that in the last year or so. And there’s so much to learn.”

Sometimes, the only way to declutter the mess of worries and emotions banging around in heart and head is to let them out. Messily.

When Goodman did learn, it was the hard way

SEA OF LOVE, 1989. ©Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

“It was bad with everything. It just purged out of me when I went to the therapist one day,” recalled Goodman. “And then for the rest of the day it was horrible. Nothing worked.” In response to all the stress he was under, his body did the only thing it could think of, which amounted to “practically having a nervous breakdown.”

There’s a time and place for everything, and from his own experiences, Goodman advises waiting and getting into the right, calm headspace to best address whatever problem is afoot. He explained, “You’ve got to be relaxed when you do stuff. And open and listen.”

In the past, Goodman contended with addiction and the battle for sobriety was one of his most significant struggles to find inner peace.

The troubles of his career left Goodman feeling overwhelmed to the point he could no longer contain the emotions / ImageCollect

“I had a problem with it and… I drank for a while and towards the end of that, the lines would not come,” recalled Goodman, who believes in being transparent about his own hardships as a way of helping others and himself. “And it was like a snowball. It just built up a lack of confidence that I could even learn lines. And I was punishing myself more than anything else and even using my energy wrong and it’s just a matter of being relaxed with it, and knowing [the lines] are going to come, have patience. It’s my personality disorder that I want everything right now. I gotta have it now, now! Mr Now! I mean, you can’t do that [on stage]. It’s a process.”

While The Conners will be airing its final season, Goodman has enjoyed work on the big screen; his most recent film credit is 2023’s Monarch: Legacy of Monsters.

Ultimately, he had to look inward and address other personal issues / ImageCollect

RELATED: John Goodman’s Trainer Shares Bizarre Way He Encouraged The Actor To Lose Weight

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