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What’s not to love about legendary actress Jenifer Lewis? She’s practically starred in every beloved black movie and TV show you can think of and her personality and energy are utterly contagious. Now, the Blackish star is letting fans see a different side of her as she opens up about her very real struggles with both sex addiction and bipolar disorder.

68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals

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Actress Jenifer Lewis is currently on a press tour to promote her upcoming memoir The Mother of Black Hollywood and in an exclusive with PEOPLE magazine she reveals her past issues with sex addition and bipolar disorder. Lewis, never one to hold back or sugarcoat anything, gives a raw account of her life in the new book and interview, which she hopes can shed light on struggles that tend to come with shame.

Here are a few excerpts of the book, as reported by PEOPLE:

[On her sex addiction early in her career]: “Performing on Broadway was a rush,” she writes. “The applause coming over the footlights was like a tsunami in slow motion. The crash after the show, I assure you, is just as intense. Let’s just say that post show I had a sort of habit of sex serving as a night cap. I was Cleopatra, Pam Grier, Marilyn Monroe, and Jezebel rolled into one. For me, nothing could extend the thrill of a standing ovation like great sex with a gorgeous guy.”

[On her struggles with bipolar disorder]: “Had she said, ‘you’re crazy,’ I would have agreed. I had been crazy all my life,” she writes. “When she said, ‘mental illness,’ I thought, ‘b—-, you crazy.’ I associated mental illness with people who couldn’t function, with straitjackets. I certainly knew what a depressive mood was, but this other ‘manic’ part was new. When Rachel explained the details, I gasped. You mean, there is a name for describing why I talk fast and walk fast and rage, create drama, and speed when I drive a car? Compulsive, you say? The doodling, the braiding and unbraiding my hair? The arguing with people and storming off ? Kicking s—, throwing s—? Yeah, okay, I guess all of that describes me.”

10 years ago, when Lewis was 50, she opened up about her sex addition and bipolar disorder struggles when she performed her one-woman show Bipolar, Bath and Beyond. Also around that time, she had a sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey detailing her journey.

Jenifer Lewis’ memoir The Mother of Black Hollywood is currently available for pre-order and hits stores on November 14th.

 

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