“I think everybody has a big secret and that’s mine,” Schumer told The Hollywood Reporter of her experience with the mental condition, which her character Beth also suffers from in her new semi-autobiographical dramedy on Hulu, Life & Beth. “I’m proud that my big secret only hurts me but it’s been what I’ve carried so much shame about for so long.”
As it does for her fictionalized counterpart, Schumer’s hair-pulling disorder began during a troubling time in her adolescence, when her parents split up and her father declared bankruptcy and was diagnosed with MS, per People. In real life, as in the show, Schumer pulled out so much of her hair that she ended up wearing a wig to school.
“And everybody knew,” she told THR.
“And it’s not that I used to have this problem and now I don’t,” added Schumer. “It’s still something that I struggle with.” Compounding her anxiety is the fact that there is a genetic component to the disorder, which makes her worried for her young son, Gene. “Every time he touches his head I’m having a heart attack.”
She says she put her experience into the show to at least lift the burden of secrecy. “I really don’t want to have a big secret anymore,” she said. “And I thought putting it in there would be good for me to alleviate some of my shame and maybe, hopefully, help others alleviate some of theirs, too.”
Amy Schumer is far from alone. Olivia Munn revealed in 2012 that she also suffers from trichotillomania, which manifests as a habit of pulling out her eyelashes.