Inside Cara Delevingne’s ‘stressful’ childhood – from mum's heroin addiction to sad reason she dropped out of school | The Sun
HER recent dishevelled pictures have shocked and troubled fans – as well as her nearest and dearest.
Cara Delevingne is better known for her high end modelling campaigns and Hollywood acting roles – usually involving flawless make-up and designer togs.
With a burgeoning acting career, the 30-year-old seemed to have the world at her feet.
But those who know her best understand recent pictures showing the model confused at an airport is not the first time Cara has been in distress.
Cara comes from what she describes as an upper class family, and attended £13,000 a term boarding school Bedales in Hampshire.
But her wealthy upbringing didn't mean she had life served up to her on a silver platter – in fact, she's said her childhood was "pretty sad".
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She previously told Harper's Bazaar: "Everyone has something they go through with their family.
"My life I feel was very stressful, because there was quite a lot of chaos, not being sure if people were okay or not."
Her mother Pandora Delevingne, now 63, battled a heroin addiction and mental health problems while raising her three daughters.
Socialite Pandora was herself raised by publisher Sir Jocelyn Stevens and her lady-in-waiting for Princess Margaret, Jane Sheffield.
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Growing up she mentioned her distress at how her disabled brother Rupert died aged 22.
She wrote in her unpublished memoir Shadows on my Wall: “I don't want to be the poor little rich girl, but actually I was in a lot of pain for a lot my life.”
She married property developer Charles Delevingne in 1983 before having daughters Chloe, Poppy and her youngest Cara – and stepson Alexander.
But Pandora was plagued by her undiagnosed bipolar disorder which at times left her close to death.
Chloe, now 37, told The Sunday Times: “I must have been about 13 when Mum sat me down to tell me she was bipolar. But I was always aware of it.
“And her addiction when she was younger took a toll on her body, so she had a number of physical illnesses to deal with.
"There hasn’t been a single second in our mother’s life when she hasn’t been completely in love with us.
“But there were some quite critical times when we almost had to say goodbye to her and that made me feel very protective over my sisters.”
Pandora herself admitted to Tatler in 2015: “Sometimes they have had to live with me being too ill to mother them, which has been agony for me."
Anguish of mum's addiction
Cara grew up in the family home in Belgravia, going at first to a day school in London’s Sloane Square, followed by Francis Holland School for Girls.
She was later packed off to boarding school in Hampshire.
Cara confessed she too was affected by her mother’s health issues – but bottled her emotions.
Aged eight, she refused to eat for a spell in protest at her mum’s absence – not knowing Pandora was in hospital receiving treatment for mental health issues.
She told Esquire: “I’m very good at repressing emotion and seeming fine. As a kid, I felt like I had to be good and I had to be strong because my mum wasn’t.
I’m very good at repressing emotion and seeming fine. As a kid, I felt like I had to be good and I had to be strong because my mum wasn’t
“So, when it got to being a teenager and all the hormones and the pressure and wanting to do well at school — for my parents, not for me — I had a mental breakdown.”
Speaking to Vogue in 2015, she revealed she used to self-harm as a teenager to cope with her feelings.
Cara said: “All of a sudden I was hit with a massive wave of depression and anxiety and self-hatred, where the feelings were so painful that I would slam my head against a tree to try to knock myself out.
“I never cut, but I’d scratch myself to the point of bleeding. I just wanted to dematerialise and have someone sweep me away.”
Despite her looks earning her an estimated net worth of £24million today, her tomboy style and dyspraxia diagnosis attracted bullies at school.
She said: “If I wore the clothes that I liked, with my short hair, everyone would think that I was a boy. I hated it.
“Even though I looked like a boy and acted like a boy, I wasn’t a boy.”
But Cara says when she realised her mum was a heroin addict aged 16, it pushed her over the edge.
She dropped out of school for six months and was put on medication which numbed her feelings.
She told Esquire: “I was like a sociopath. When something was funny I would go, 'Ha ha!' just because other people laughed, but then I'd stop immediately because I wasn't really very good at faking it.
Numbed by medication
“And I was a pretty horny teenager right up until I got to 16, when I stopped having any sexual feelings for anyone.
“I missed out a lot from 16 to 18.”
The week she ditched her medication, pansexual Cara says she lost her virginity.
She says the revelation helped her vow to never take medication for depression ever again.
She said: “I get depressed still but I would rather learn to figure it out myself rather be dependant on meds, ever."
After leaving school she was “discovered” by family friend Sarah Doukas who signed her to Storm Model Management.
Hailed as the new Kate Moss, Cara rose to superstardom – fronting campaigns for Burberry and Chanel.
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But with fame the model began to doubt herself, telling Esquire: “Especially when I started becoming successful, obviously my ego started to grow, but then my idea of myself went down.
“So I liked the person that other people thought that I was, but the real me I hated so much."
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