Sandra Bullock has opened up about the ‘extreme anxiety’ and PTSD she suffered after hiding in a closet during a 2014 home invasion — revealing it grew so severe that she thought she was ‘gonna die’ if she didn’t seek help.
Bullock, 57, appeared on a new episode of Red Table Talk today, where she told hosts Willow Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Adrienne Banfield-Norris about the horrific experience and its aftermath.
The actress explained that the break-in came after a series of high-stress events, including Louis suffering from a grand mal seizure and Bullock being bitten by a poisonous spider.
The stress took a toll, with Bullock admitting she would ‘start sobbing’ out of nowhere — and she realized that she needed to seek professional help, which led her to try Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.
Traumatic: Sandra Bullock has opened up about the ‘extreme anxiety’ and PTSD she suffered after hiding in a closet during a 2014 home invasion
‘My house was broken into while I was in it,’ she said on the show. ‘I’m in the closet going, “This doesn’t end well.” I’m in the closet, [which is] not gonna help’
Mental health: The incident – compounded by several other stressful incidents before it – took its toll on the star
‘My house was broken into while I was in it,’ she said on the show. ‘I’m in the closet going, “This doesn’t end well.” I’m in the closet, [which is] not gonna help.’
According to court documents, Bullock became fearful at around 1 a.m. on June 8, 2014, after hearing loud banging inside the house. When she got up to lock the door to her bedroom, the starlet saw Joshua Corbett ‘right there in the hallway wearing dark clothing.’
She didn’t know it at the time, but the man had lurked outside her gates for several days, writing in a spiral notebook about his obsession with the Oscar-winning actress. He had jumped her fence and rang her doorbell for 10 to 15 minutes before entering her home through a sunroom door.
She proceeded to the slam the door shut and lock it before calling police to report the intruder. TMZ reported that when the police arrived, Corbett began screaming, ‘Sandy, I’m sorry. Please don’t press charges.’
On Red Table Talk, Bullock shared the stroke of luck that her son Louis, whom she adopted in 2010 when he was 3½ months old, wasn’t home that night.
‘It was the one night that Louis wasn’t with me. It was the one night that our nanny goes, “Let me just take him to my apartment which is up the street because you’re going to be out late,”‘ she recalled.
Bullock shared the stroke of luck that her son Louis, whom she adopted in 2010 when he was 3½ months old, wasn’t home that night
‘Had he been home, I would’ve run to the closet — which is now my official closet but that was his bedroom – and it would have changed our destiny forever,’ she said
‘Had he been home, I would’ve run to the closet — which is now my official closet but that was his bedroom — and it would have changed our destiny forever.
‘So why was he not home on that one night? And the violation of that. I wasn’t the same after that. I was unraveling.
‘I haven’t been alone since the day it happened,’ she admitted.
The incident — compounded by several other stressful incidents before it — took its toll on the star.
‘I was looking at my body, it was going to break. It was not responding well to what was happening,’ she said.
‘The timeline was crazy. Louis had had a grand mal seizure. He had a really high fever, I thought he had died,’ she recalled.
‘Two days later I had pulled my hair tight, went to the Academy Awards, pulled it too tight, a day later I was bit by a poisonous spider. My hair starts falling out. I have Alopecia spots everywhere. I’m like, what the hell.
‘The break-in happens, and I literally had to take inventory going, “If I don’t pull it together, I’m gonna die.”
The break-in happened after a series of terrible events, including Louis having a grand mal seizure and Bullock being bit by a poisonous spider
She realized her body ‘was going to break’ and sought professional help in the form of EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) therapy
‘Something’s going to happen to my body that I can’t control and I can control almost everything,’ she went on.
She said she would be at her home in New Orleans, reading Architectural Digest, and would be full of anxiety — with a friend pointing out how she’d unwittingly let out a ragged sigh with each page she turned.
‘I have anxiety that I’m sitting in the place I want to be in, doing exactly what I wanted to be doing and I had extreme anxiety,’ she said. ‘I went, that stuff needs to stop.
‘I didn’t realize what PTSD was,’ she went on. ‘I would look left out of a car, not right, and I would start sobbing.
‘I thought to myself, I’m a single parent and this child is going to absorb nothing but fear and trauma and shame from me, in the most pivotal time of his life. I was like, I don’t want to drop that load of baggage on my beautiful child.
‘I sought counsel and I will seek it again and I’ve learned to ask for help. I’m not good at asking for help, it’s not how I was raised.’
She utalized EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) therapy, which mixes exposure therapy with guided eye movements in order to process traumatic memories.
‘I didn’t realize what PTSD was,’ she said. ‘I would look left out of a car, not right, and I would start sobbing’
Joshua Corbett was later convicted of the crime; he killed himself in 2018
When he was arrested, police found Corbett with a two-page letter professing his love for Bullock that was apparently written the day before, about 20 hours before his arrest
Prince Harry recently credited EMDR with helping him and took viewers inside a session during an episode of The Me You Can’t See.
‘I was so scared to do it,’ Bullock said. ‘They use it for trauma and PTSD. It can be tapping, I had the paddles.
‘It is literally the therapist going, “Start where you first find yourself in the house,” and I was like, “I was in the closet and I heard him banging on the door,” and then he says, “Hold that feeling.”
‘And then he started vibrating the paddles and the paddles were inconsistent, so, in your mindset when your eyes are closed, I was going back and forth mentally to wherever the paddle was vibrating. So, what that is doing is rewiring your synapses.
‘When I got out of it, I realized I have surrounded myself, often, with unsafe people and situations and put myself there — I have no one else to blame but myself. because that was the most familiar feeling I had,’ she said.
‘So in that EMDR journey I had to take ownership of everything that I brought into my world because it felt comfortable and realize that it no longer had a place.’
Bullock also said that her kids — including Louis, now 11, and eight-year-old Laila — were a major reason she is doing better.
Bullock also said that her kids – includiong Louis, now 11, and eight-year-old Laila – were a major reason she is doing better
‘It was my children who showed me that unless I pull it together right now, I’m not gonna be around to have the moments that I want to have,’ she said.
Meanwhile, Corbett, the man who invaded her home, was arrested and convicted for the incident.
When he was arrested, police found Corbett with a two-page letter professing his love for Bullock that was apparently written the day before, about 20 hours before his arrest.
The letter makes clear Corbett has been watching Bullock, commenting on her comings-and-goings.
‘You could have had me today however you chose other people over me,’ the letter opens. ‘I’ll be around as you know.’
The letter was signed, ‘Always and forever, Love, your husband.’
In 2017, he was released from the mental health facility where he was staying, and Bullock was granted a permanent restraining order.
In May of 2018, he killed himself after a five-hour standoff with police officers.
‘The system failed him,’ Bullock said.