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She’s one of the most celebrated stars in Australian TV history, but in a new interview, Rebecca Gibney has revealed being in the spotlight hasn’t always been easy, wreaking havoc on her mental health. Thankfully, there’s one thing that’s kept her grounded and happy – her husband of 17 years, producer Richard Bell.

“He’s my rock, he’s my everything,” she tells Yahoo7 Be. “We are quite lucky because we work together a lot so we are on the road a lot, and quite often we’ll find ourselves in beautiful hotels or amazing places for dinner so it’s easy to keep the romance alive.”

In addition to regular date nights, Gibney says the secret to a long, happy and successful marriage is respect. “You must respect each other, it’s having complete and utter respect above all else and obviously love and being willing to compromise which is what we’ve always done.”

Bell has been a continuing source of comfort for the Wanted star, who revealed that in the early stages of her career, she suffered crippling depression and anxiety.

“I used to just run away or hide [from my problems] instead of facing the cause of the panic attacks, and it was ultimately a self-loathing that I developed from quite a young age,” she explained. “I didn’t love myself, in fact I hated myself, I was crumbling on the inside.”

The actress confessed that all the self-hate, anxiety and negativity even led to a “nervous breakdown and emotional collapse” in her early 30s.

These days, however, things have changed for the better – something which she credits to her spirituality. “I’m lucky to have a very strong face, I have a very strong spiritual side, and because I also believe something other than this, and I think as long as you believe in stuff like that it helps.”

She’s also got some poignant advice for others suffering from depression and anxiety. “I think there’s an immense amount of pressure on people, that they are growing up with these unrealistic expectations, and my advice to anyone is to love yourself first before anybody else, learn to love and accept who you are and cherish and really celebrate that.”

If you are troubled by this article, experiencing a personal crisis or thinking about suicide, you can call Lifeline 131 114 or beyondblue 1300 224 636 or visit lifeline.org.au or beyondblue.org.au.

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