In a bombshell revelation, Arsenal legend and football icon Thierry Henry has bared his soul, revealing a silent battle with depression that haunted him during his illustrious football career.
Despite his unparalleled success, boasting achievements such as a World Cup victory with France, two Premier League titles at Arsenal, and a Champions League triumph with Barcelona, Henry battled inner demons and doubts that remained hidden for years.
Speaking on the Diary of a CEO podcast, the 46-year-old Arsenal legend made the shocking admission, saying, “Throughout my career, I must have been in depression. Did I know it? No. Did I do something about it? Obviously no. But I had adapted in a certain way. I was lying for a very long time because society wasn’t ready to hear what I had to say.”
Henry’s revelation also uncovered a poignant chapter during his coaching stint with MLS club Montreal Impact, where the football icon confronted his mental health struggles, exacerbated by the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. Isolated and unable to see his children due to lockdown restrictions, Henry found himself questioning his actions and grappling with the emotional toll of the situation.
“Everything came at once, especially during the Covid time,” Henry shared. “Covid happened, and I asked ‘Why are you running, what are you doing?’ I was isolated, and not being able to see my kids for a year was tough. I don’t even need to explain that one.”
The former Arsenal star detailed the transformative impact of this challenging period, where he embraced vulnerability, empathy, and the acknowledgment of his emotions. Henry admitted to crying almost every day, describing it as a weird but cathartic release.
Challenging societal expectations around vulnerability, Henry stated, “You have been told since you’re young, whether at home or in your job, ‘don’t be that guy, don’t show you’re vulnerable. If you cry, what are they going to think?’ I was crying but, technically, it was the young Thierry crying. He was crying for everything he didn’t get.”
Furthermore, Henry pointed to his rocky relationship with his father, who was critical of his performances, as a factor contributing to his emotional struggles. Reflecting on his childhood, the football legend acknowledged the lasting impact of constant critiques, stating, “As a little boy, it was always ‘you didn’t do that well.’ So obviously when you hear that more often than not, that’s what’s going to stay.”
Thierry Henry’s courageous admission shines a light on the silent battles many athletes face, emphasizing the urgent need to address mental health in the world of sports.
This shocking revelation adds a powerful dimension to Henry’s legacy, showcasing resilience and the importance of breaking the stigma surrounding mental health.
The 46-year-old scored a club record 228 goals in 377 games for the Gunners and won the World Cup in 1998 and Euro 2000 with France.
Henry who is now coach of France’s Under-21s, also worked on Belgium’s coaching staff and managed Monaco before taking charge at Montreal Impact in late 2019.