By most standards, earning celebrity status is an enviable achievement. But stardom has a dark side, and it's more complex than we imagined.
Frankie Grande speaks to fame's subliminal drawbacks in this clip from Sunday's new E! True Hollywood Story, which discusses the dangers of existing in the public eye and raises questions about whether those who do can become addicted to the lifestyle.
"I think that fame has the power to completely destroy you mentally," warns Frankie, going so far as to say that stardom, coupled with a compulsory need to maintain it, "is powerful enough to ruin someone's life forever."
Medical experts like Dr. Drew Pinsky agree that the spotlight is addictive, arguing it has potential to spawn dependencies just as traditional substances might. How is that possible? Noting the cyclical relationship between popularity and fixation, Pinksy says the primary "correlation" between fame and addiction is trauma.
"Trauma is the inciting spark for most addictions," he explains, and that seems to ring true in Grande's case.
After his inaugural stint on Big Brother back in 2014, "I was so recognized," the social media star and TV personality remembers. "I honestly thought I was handling it great. I thought I had it all under control." But the attention wasn't all positive and quickly took a toll on his mental health.
"I was being bullied for the first time," Ariana Grande's brother tells the THS camera, adding that the pressure to "fill shoes that were even too big for me" didn't help his anxiety. Consequently, "I really did try very, very hard to drown my sorrows in the traditional sense of the world," he continues, recalling his struggle with alcoholism, insomnia and prescription drugs.
Hear more about Frankie's experience in the clip above.
Watch a brand new episode of E! True Hollywood Story Sunday at 10 p.m., only on E!