Famed actress Michelle Pfeiffer has grappled with social anxiety throughout her entire career. “At the beginning, it really terrified me,” the 59-year-old confides. After landing the lead in 1982’s Grease 2 and following it up with a scene-stealing role opposite Al Pacino in Scarface, the success of 1987’s The Witches of Eastwick launched her to the top of the Hollywood A-list while simultaneously exacerbating her condition.
“When the big shift happened for me… it literally happened overnight. It was terrifying,” admits Michelle, who stars in the upcoming Murder on the Orient Express. She found her anxiety rising again while filming the Agatha Christie thriller. “I was slightly anxious about being trapped on the train all day long,” she explains. But she’s found that painting is the perfect escape from the demands of her career. Says Michelle, “I need to have my own private time and space to gather myself.”
Michelle just returned to acting — and previously opened up about why she came back after “disappearing” from Hollywood. “I’m an empty nester now,” Michelle — who is a mom to daughter Claudia, 24, and son John, 23 — said. “I’ve never lost my love for acting. I feel really at home on the movie set. I’m a more balanced person, honestly, when I’m working.”
She added, “But I was pretty careful about where I shot, how long I was away, whether or not it worked out with the kids’ schedule. And I got so picky that I was unhireable. And then I don’t know, time just went on. I disappeared, yeah.”
But even though Michelle has been in the spotlight for decades. she admits she still gets uncomfortable on-set sometimes. “I think that’s because I started working fairly quickly and I wasn’t ready. I didn’t have any formal training. I didn’t come from Juilliard,” she explained. “I was just getting by and learning in front of the world. So I’ve always had this feeling that one day they’re going to find out that I’m really a fraud, that I really don’t know what I’m doing.” We think you know what you’re doing, Michelle — and we’re so glad you’ve returned to the big screen!