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Ryan Reynolds Opens Up About Struggling With Anxiety, Making Him Somehow Even More Likable

Despite being one of our generation’s greatest comedic actors, having been People’s Sexiest Man Alive and starring in the second highest-grossing R-Rated movie of all time (and he’s coming for you in two weeks, uh… Jesus), Ryan Reynolds is pretty much a normal guy. Listen to how Leslie Uggams described him to The New York Times for their profile of Reynolds.

“Offstage, he’s not bigger than life,” Ms. Uggams said. “He’s not like the Rock. When the Rock walks in the room, I’m sure it’s like, ‘Oh, my God, the Rock.’ But that’s not Ryan. He’s not Mr. Hollywood.”

Reynolds himself said that fans were disappointed to find out he was “this incredibly boring version of a guy who looked like their hero,” and not the character he played in National Lampoon’s Van Wilder.

He attributed some of this to anxiety, which he opened up to the Times about. He traces it back to his father, whom Reynolds became stressed trying to please to avoid his father becoming angry and yelling.

“I became this young skin-covered micro manager,” he said. “When you stress out kids, there’s a weird paradox that happens because they’re suddenly taking on things that aren’t theirs to take on.”

Managing his anxiety is also part of what makes Reynolds such an amazing actor. Playing a character, especially one as over-the-top as Deadpool, lets him compartmentalize and relax.

Before our interview wrapped, I asked him how he deals with anxiety, what with all the promotional interviews and inevitable talk-show appearances ahead. First off, he said, he’s doing a lot of the interviews in character as Deadpool. Also, he uses the meditation app Headspace. And finally, the second he walks onstage, he knows that the anxiety will lift, and then the blessed relief descends.

“When the curtain opens, I turn on this knucklehead, and he kind of takes over and goes away again once I walk off set,” he said.

“That’s that great self-defense mechanism,” he continued. “I figure if you’re going to jump off a cliff, you might as well fly.”

I have to say it’s lucky for us, Reynolds is so entertaining as Deadpool I could watch him play the character all day. And most celebrity interviews are insanely boring. Seriously, it gets difficult watching Conan or Seth Meyers try to make these people seem interesting while they’re telling their one entertaining story for the eighth time that week.

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