Chelsea Handler’s midlife crisis: “How tied to fame am I?”


Chelsea Handler credits President Donald Trump with triggering her “big catharsis” this past year, she explained to Salon’s D. Watkins on “Salon Talks.” Handler’s new memoir “Life Will Be the Death of Me,” her sixth book, available now, offers both hilarious and vulnerable reflections on her Trump-activated midlife crisis.

“Donald Trump is nothing in my world. He's a blip on all of our radars, and giving him this amount of attention isn't working and I don't need to do that with my day. It was about me getting healthy,” Handler explained.

Following Trump’s inauguration, the comedian embarked on a year-long commitment to therapy. She asked herself, “What am I doing? I'm in my 40s. What is my identity? How tied to fame am I? Is this the most important thing? Is this the only thing I'm gonna be known for is having a television show?”

Handler details in the book how a year of tuning in awoke the underlying traumas in her life, including losing her older brother Chet tragically during childhood. “I don't want everybody to go through life the way that I did from nine to 40, completely blocking out any sort of trauma,” Handler said.

“I didn't wanna address it, I didn't wanna talk about it. That's not the way you should go through life, so I think I finally had something that I could share that I thought would be important.”

Handler admits “I'm not fully fixed or complete,” but her “deepest injury is now putting itself back together.” And it’s not just her past that Handler is working on. With a Netflix documentary in the works that addresses privilege and race, she admits that after writing this book she feels “a sense of responsibility” to address the larger questions on identity.

Watch the episode above to learn more about how Handler is getting through her Trump-induced midlife crisis and why she wants to buy D. Watkins a plane.


Photography by Jill Greenberg. Watch Jill's TedxTalk on the Female Lens and the problem with only seeing the world from a man's perspective. And find out more about Jill's initiative Alreadymade., a mission to hire more female photographers and content creators.


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